Sia Partners launches own startup incubator and investment arm

18 July 2017 5 min. read
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As consulting firms continue to bolster their venture capital capacities, Sia Partners announced the launch of its investment fund, Studio, earlier this year. Their first investment saw grooming industry disruptor Big Moustache receive a capital increase of €500,000 from the firm’s incubator arm, as Sia Partners anticipates significant growth in the beauty and cosmetic industry until 2020.

An increasing number of high-profile companies have been exploring the utilisation of accelerators & incubators as a means of creaming the fat from a booming market of industry innovators and disruptors thanks to newly refined technologies, which give them the upper-hand over more established companies. The phenomenon saw as many as 44% of all corporates reportedly using the technique by 2015, and management consulting firms have since followed suit, ramping up their own innovative potential with a growing number of incubators, venture capital arms, and developmental start-up studios.

A start-up studio relies on financial and human capital, allowing start-ups to benefit from a larger market player’s expertise, acquired by working with larger companies and networks, as well as with other start-up ecosystems, including marketing, revenue modelling and logistics. Joining the ranks of the growing number of consultancies seeking to tap into the incubator scene, Sia Partners have announced the launch of its own €3 million investment fund, Studio. The Studio fund, of which Sia Partners is the sole stockholder, will accompany select start-ups over the next three years, through their incubation and acceleration periods, targeting investment tickets of approximately €500,000 for a 25%-45% stake in companies in a range of industries.

First investment: Big Moustache

Big Moustache was announced earlier this year as the first such project to have received a capital funding of €500,000. The e-commerce site for men’s shaving products, where consumers receive all materials for their shaving needs on a monthly basis, also sells a wide range of innovative grooming commodities.

Sia partners - Studio

By bringing Sia Partners’s resources and expertise in commercial and marketing strategy to the table Big Moustache hoped, as those who have become involved since will hope, to be able to expand operations across Europe while multiplying their client-base by as much as five times over the coming years. The deal, which also saw the participation of Day One Entrepreneurs & Partners (formerly L’Accélérateur), previously financers to the start-up, offering further backing. According to research by the consulting firm themselves, e-commerce in the beauty and cosmetic industry expects a significant growth from now until 2020, suggesting the start-up could yield a hefty return on the consulting firm’s investment.

Nicolas Gueugnier, Big Moustache founder, stated that the new incubator offers start-ups like his an opportunity to leverage multi-sector expertise from consultancies like Sia Partners. “Together, we plan to continue this journey as a brand of reference in the French market, with a disruptive model in our communication and distribution. I am also happy to continue working with Day One,” he said.

Meanwhile, Matthieu Courtecuisse, founder and CEO of Sia Partners, said the firm is committed to investing in new talent as multiple industries see new start-ups creating fresh opportunities for venture capital projects. He commented, “For several years, we’ve been involved in a number of different corporate ventures. Sia Partners is a consulting firm with a strong entrepreneurial spirit, and it seems natural for us to continue further in this ecosystem, creating our own investment fund – a start-up in itself. We’d like to invest in companies in which we can bring a significant added value, where we can best use our expertise to help these start-ups grow.”

Consulting incubators

Consultancies have made a priority of incubator and investment arms in recent years, with investment in innovative and disruptive companies offering firms the chance to gain lucrative returns from a myriad of new markets, particularly by backing new technological breakthroughs. In 2015, KPMG launched their Ignition Centre, while in early 2017 Capgemini launched an incubator to match FinTechs with corporate investors. The investment wing of professional services group Gate One raised £60,000 in additional capital for the launch of the Pinga App, which aims to be the Uber of the growing paid-services market.