There is now another incubator making waves, but unlike so many that claim to be different, Prebacked actually seems to have implemented a novel approach. Rather than teach startups the ropes and help them find companies/customers whose problems they solve, Prebacked solicits problems from companies and sectors and then challenges teams to solve those problems who can then eventually sign enterprise deals with the same companies who submitted the original proposal. This ensures that teams are building a product that there are actually customers for, and cuts out the shopping process many large businesses have to do to find both acquirable solutions and talent.
Currently Prebacked recruits teams from hackathons and presents them with three possible problems to solve. After showcasing their solutions, winning ideas are invited to a 90-day incubation period that includes a letter of intent from a major company. Should everything go according to plan, the nascent startup will then sign a major contract with said company as well as possibly raising a funding round to promote further growth.
At the moment Prebacked is largely focused on the healthcare sector, which we recently discussed here. Healthcare is indeed in desperate need of innovation solutions, but many startups are hesitant given the sector’s shifting landscape, high fine possibilities, cumbersome FDA approval process, and large capital requirements.
Prebacked started in mid-2012 and had their first successful event later that year. Their most recent event included several healthcare executives and VC partners, as well as over 100 participants.
This approach is indeed different, although it seems skewed in favor of the large companies. Unless you as an entrepreneur are looking for the fastest route to an acquihire event, the higher risk of building a company out in the open market is balanced with the increased upside potential. Also, it is scarcely believable that an entrepreneur would have the same passion and drive to build a successful business when solving a problem dictated to them by a multinational. Still, this sounds like a good deal for all parties as long as expectations and drives are matched up.