Idea management software and services firm Wazoku has announced a new funding round of £1.25m, led by Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Venture Capital Trust (VCT) specialist, Calculus Capital, supported by other shareholders and members of the Wazoku management team.
Wazoku is also continuing its expansion with the acquisition of US open innovation firm InnoCentive’s assets, in doing so creating the world’s most comprehensive and powerful innovation platform and community. Following a partnership earlier in 2020, it quickly became clear that the combination of platform and network had huge value to innovation-focused businesses and was a unique proposition in the market.
“Adding such a remarkable and proven external crowd to our existing platform means that no other organisation in the world has our reach and experience when it comes to open innovation, crowdsourcing and idea management,” said Simon Hill, CEO, Wazoku.
“This is a significant step for Wazoku – further funding and a strategic acquisition mean we are better positioned than ever and have a strong and established US presence. Workplaces are becoming inherently open and collaborative and we can offer the tools, services and collective expertise to help global businesses of all sizes solve problems and create opportunities.”
InnoCentive has grown a global network of almost 500,000 expert problem ‘solvers’ comprising CEOs, PhD students, engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs, retired technologists and business leaders.
This combined brainpower has helped address thousands of the world’s most complex innovation and bid data challenges, for organisations such as AstraZeneca, NASA and Enel. InnoCentive has a 75% success rate in solving challenges and Wazoku customers – which include John Lewis & Partners, Barclays and the Ministry of Defence – now have full access to this service.
Wazoku now provides the world’s biggest innovation community and broadest innovation offering. It allows the crowdsourcing of solutions to any pressing business challenge, all supported by the features and functionality already found in the Wazoku platform, Idea Spotlight.
“Our customers have long demanded a platform that integrates internal idea management with external crowdsourcing,” said Alpheus Bingham, CEO and co-founder of InnoCentive.
“This enables multiple modes of innovation within the same workflow and on the same digital backbone and the combination of Wazoku and InnoCentive capability offers precisely that. No other firm has the experience and capability of crowdsourcing, idea management and open innovation that this combined proposition brings. The possibilities and potential are hugely exciting.”
Wazoku’s latest investment round brings the total amount raised to £7.35m and recognises the increasing demand for innovation in business. Coronavirus saw both an increase in business and a change in the way in which organisations were using Wazoku, with the quarter during lockdown (April-Jun 2020) Wazoku’s best ever from a new business perspective and overall platform activity level.
“The rapid shift to remote working and the need for engaging dispersed networks as well as the on-going need to innovate and solve problems, has seen a significant increase in demand for both our idea management and open innovation services,” said Simon Hill, CEO, Wazoku.
“We will continue to invest in new talent in both Europe and the US, and in product development, but our main focus is on continuing to build awareness of the power of open business models for driving cost-effective and highly impactful business change.”