Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIRs) are very experienced in a particular area, and their expertise is valuable to venture capital firms, universities, or other organisations that wish to develop activities in that area, offering insight into the landscape, new trends, networks, and future directions for start-ups.
The EIR role is often designed to fulfil one of two primary functions:
1) To launch new entrepreneurial ventures, often with the backing of the parent organisation. In this case, the EIR often becomes the CEO of the company. EIRs typically work for at least six months on a full-time basis and might transition to the newly-formed company once an investment is made.
Such EIRs are typically product-oriented, market visionaries focused on early stage concepts. They research markets and identify strategic opportunities. The organisation funds and incubates the team through the early stages of product development and team building before launching the business.
2) To help evaluate potential investments where the entrepreneur has a particular expertise. They bring insight into the conditions influencing potential investments in that area. It is also of interest to the EIR in that it allows them to gain an overview of the different projects that are currently running within the organisation and to make a more informed decision when joining a start-up.
EIRs assist entrepreneurs in solidifying business strategies, identifying markets, securing intellectual property, and obtaining funding. The EIR mentors and advises start-ups, particularly those seeking to commercialise technology. In addition, the EIR works with aspiring entrepreneurs to move potential ventures from the idea phase to start-up, and helps inventors structure businesses around technologies.
For organisations looking to commence an EIR programme, Azione offers a proven framework combining the following elements:
EIRs tap into their domain knowledge and network as well as their deal flow and deep understanding of early-stage dynamics. Organisations have access to their vision in specific areas, which they develop and hone with start-ups. They work as a cohesive team adding insights, filling gaps in talent, and helping create business plans.
EIRs’ hands-on experience takes start-ups through a dynamic process from concept to reality while executing flawlessly. Customer perspectives are the number one business consideration, and having an EIR present with management teams builds their ability to listen and act on what customers need.
The programme provides start-ups with critical connections, supportive networks, and collaboration opportunities. These include access to potential investors, partners, sales channels, and employees.
EIRs are the primary coaches, frequently collaborating with entrepreneurs in defining and revising their work plans and monitoring their progress. Their role is to guide the start-ups founders and CEOs, and EIRs are empowered to hold them accountable for achieving results.