For Caspari, Optus Business, Optus, and indeed its parent company, Singtel, investing in start-ups provides a much-needed innovative edge in a market that can be top-heavy with large, often slow-moving enterprises.
Fellow telco, Telstra, is similarly invested in its own start-up activities, including its in-house accelerator, muru-D.
“Being part of the innovation community through Stone & Chalk allows us to look further over the horizon, get involved in, and understand, the pace and change that’s going on in the various different industries,” Caspari said. “So we learn, as an organisation, a lot about the industry through our relationship with Stone & Chalk.”
While part of this investment in start-ups can be attributed to Optus Business’ role in facilitating innovation in the local business community, it is also about the development of technology that Optus Business, and its clients, can benefit from.
“Our place in the market is as a strategic partner to enterprise and government, they think about their telecommunications and technology needs, as they move to a more digitally-oriented world,” Caspari said. "As their partner, they expect that we can bring capabilities, knowledge, organisations, assets, and partnerships to the table.
“As part of that role, in some ways it’s about us introducing great technology, in some ways it will be about us incorporating that technology into a solution that we deliver, and in some cases we might go as far as productising an offering and taking it to market more broadly."
This stance not only benefits Optus Business, it also looks set to be a good thing for start-up hubs and the early stage companies that populate them.
“Working alongside large technology companies such as Optus, has allowed us and our start-ups to reach unprecedented milestones,” Stone & Chalk CEO, Alex Scandurra, said.
“In the past two years, we’ve more than doubled the number of local start-ups that have been able to engage commercially with corporates and helped our start-ups raise over $180 million in capital investment.
“The Enterprise Ireland event is testament to industry collaboration and partnership to accelerate innovative ideas,” he said.