Incubators, accelerators, oh my!

Raleigh gets another with I-Labs at Sageworks, which was announced Wednesday.

And the financial data analytics firm is hoping its investment will lead to new companies as well as more products.

“The driving purpose of the Lab is to create a space, within our company, that encourages creativity, new ideas, and innovation,” says Dominic Leali, who is director of I-Lab.

Non-employees certainly need to apply, too.

“These ideas can come from current employees, as well as people outside of the company. As long as the product or idea gels with our overall goals as a company, we’d consider it for the Lab, regardless of where it came from,” Leali explains.

“Over the years, we’ve often done this as a company on more of an ad-hoc basis– however, given the increasing emphasis within the company on fostering innovation and new ideas, we wanted to create a formal program, where we encourage individuals, both internally and externally, to think about bringing something new to the marketplace.”

Sageworks, which also operates in New York City, already hatched one company. The privately held provider of financial data analytics services sees I-Labs like other firms such as Citrix, which recently launched an internal accelerator with seven teams: See an opportunity, seize it.

The Bell Labs, Intel Model

“The best way to think of the Lab is an incubator within Sageworks, not unlike what Intel used to do a few decades ago, or Bell Labs.,” Leali says. “We currently have groups working from our NYC offices as well as our Raleigh headquarters.

“Everyone working in the Lab will either be current Sageworks employees, or they will be hired as Sageworks employees for the Lab.

“The ventures are fully funded by Sageworks, and these initiatives will be given all of the resources that they need to succeed.”

So while there is no guarantee of up-front cash such as at Citrix, teams are promised jobs and resources.

Spin Me Out

And there is the chance of spinout as a separate enterprise.

“Some of these ventures may stay under the Sageworks umbrella of products. Some may be spun out, with Sageworks retaining a stake,” Leali says. “It’s entirely dependent on whether or not the initiative falls directly into the ‘wheelhouse’ and overall strategy of Sageworks, or if it’s something radically different and new.”

Sageworks also isn’t limiting the number of teams that could be involved.

“There isn’t a capped number of teams at this point. Right now the goal is to get one new product out to market every month, for the next 12 months,” Leali explains. “Right now, we’re not concerned with the end destination of that product — whether it’s a product that is folded into Sageworks current suite of financial analysis products, or something entirely new. All we want to do is get new products and new ideas out to market. If that takes five teams, we’ll stay small. If it means we need more, then we’ll build more.”

Spinout hopefuls also can aim for intelectual property ownership.

“Sageworks would own all of the IP, unless the product or idea was spun off,” Leali says.