Andrew Carr, who has held a string of executive roles in channel companies, most recently as managing director at Trustmarque, has established his own innovation consultancy business, Paper Over the Crax.
The business aims to connect digital startups with large enterprise and public sector bodies in order to both help the startup to scale and to provide specific solutions required by large corporate entities.
Explaining the rationale for the concept behind his new venture, Carr said that he saw a niche in the market for an intermediary.
"What we have done in the UK is invest heavily in helping those startups create something, but what we haven't done particularly well is connect those innovators with where the cash is - with large corporate or public sector bodies that could benefit from these solutions," Carr said, adding that large corporations often want to innovate but are put off by a fear of failure.
"Having been in the channel and run quite a few channel businesses, innovation is really driven by the vendors with whom you partner, so it's more product innovation rather than genuine innovation which solves and addresses real challenges.
"What we're doing here is not reselling products but how we can resell and connect that startup community with the prize of building scale, which then hopefully helps the UK to build larger digital businesses which we can then export globally."
Carr, who was also previously CEO at Bull Information Systems, said that he thought about starting his own business a number of times over the years, but that he could never identify the right niche, until now.
"It felt like the right time to do it for the market because we've made that big investment as an economy in the startups and we've got large corporates genuinely wanting to innovate but the two things aren't coming together.
"I also identified a niche in the market with the network of contacts I've built over the years in the startup worlds and also in large corporates, SIs and resellers."
"I've run a number of resellers in the past and that was great fun and there's still a place and time for it, but there is a point where you think ‘do I really need the politics that exist within some of these businesses?'
Carr also revealed to CRN that Paper Over the Crax has signed its first partner, Leading Edge Only, whom he worked with in his prior role as COO at Digital Catapult. Leading Edge Only was established in 2014 and identifies startups around the world that address specific challenges.
Carr, who left his role at Trustmarque in April after 16 months in the job, hopes that his new venture will drive some growth and scale into the UK economy, and believes that there is a "real opportunity" to build a channel model for it.
"[Paper Over the Crax] should scale without having to take lots of cost into the business," he said. "Ultimately we'd like to be recognised as a trusted, credible partner but also get to have fun along the way because corporate life can sometimes drain the fun from you."
"In the corporate world people are tasked with innovating, but what it becomes is more business-as-usual service improvement, rather than genuine disruptive innovation. Paper Over the Crax is that lack of innovation. My hope is that when we are successful, we actually do the opposite of the name and won't need to paper over the cracks."
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