Why We Started High Alpha Innovation

by Elliott Parker

Introducing High Alpha Innovation

Over the last five years, High Alpha has pioneered the venture studio model, combining startup building with venture investing. We will soon launch our twentieth company out of the studio, and are on pace to launch a new company every 50 days this year. We are more efficient than ever at launching startups, and while it is fun to take stock of our accomplishments, it is also humbling to recognize how much we still have to learn.

Since the early days of High Alpha, we have experimented with corporate partnerships. Corporations have a deep understanding of their markets and access to customers. At High Alpha, we know how to quickly launch and scale startups. We have learned through first hand experience that combining the speed of a venture studio with the knowledge and scale of a large corporation can lead to amazing results.

That is why we are launching High Alpha Innovation, to help the world’s leading organizations innovate through systematic startup creation.

We are doing this to benefit scaled enterprises, and we are doing this to benefit High Alpha.

For scaled enterprises

When large organizations are efficient and effective at innovating, humanity benefits. Unfortunately, it’s getting harder for scaled enterprises to innovate in meaningful ways. Centralized R&D and M&A are significantly more expensive and less efficient than they once were. Innovation is more distributed, it is harder for large companies to compete, and life cycles of corporations are shrinking as a result.

Many organizations have not changed the way they approach innovation, despite a lack of results. There is too much innovation theater—or even worse, innovation that actually renders organizations more fragile.

To win in a world of distributed innovation and competition, scaled enterprises must somehow retain their ability to execute and coordinate resources while becoming better at learning. Startups are designed to learn, and for this reason, startups will power transformative innovation for a long time to come. Over the next decade, the success of most corporations will be determined by the quality of their engagement with startups.  

Resilience in scaled enterprises, like any complex system, is built by making as many mistakes as possible, for the lowest possible cost per mistake. The venture studio model presents a natural way for scaled enterprises to systematically and efficiently experiment through startups—units designed to learn.

For High Alpha

We have enjoyed tremendous success at High Alpha so far, but important questions remain about the venture studio model. We want to iterate faster, run more experiments, and improve. How might we iterate and improve more quickly? How might we scale the model to launch 100 new startups a year? 200? The answer involves applying our playbook in new contexts, and with new partners.

Fifteen years ago, very few corporations were engaged in corporate venture capital. Now nearly all of them are engaged in outside venture investment, with different degrees of success. We believe we are at the front end of a similar trend with venture studios. Fifteen years from now, most scaled enterprises will either have their own captive venture studio or a program for partnering with external venture studios. We are exceptionally well positioned to help corporations navigate this dynamic frontier. In fact, we believe we can do this better than any other team in the world.

These partnerships we form with scaled enterprises will enable us to launch more startups, create more opportunities for the people they employ, and improve the venture studio model faster than we ever could on our own.

Our promise

High Alpha Innovation is launching with a promise to the organizations we partner with that we can help them achieve tangible innovation through systematic, rapid startup creation. We are open for business, and we are actively seeking partners and individuals who want to join us in our mission. Watch this space; we’ll be making some big announcements over the next year.

– Elliott Parker, CEO High Alpha Innovation

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