Interview: Reggie Bradford, Senior Vice President at Oracle’s Startup Cloud Accelerator

Serial entrepreneur Reggie Bradford on why cloud computing is the key to future technological advancements and why he chose Bristol to launch Oracle's first startup cloud accelerator
22nd June 2017

Just a few months ago, Bristol celebrated the launch of a brand new startup cloud accelerator run by world-leading cloud technology company Oracle.

With its hub based in the city’s tech hub Engine Shed, Oracle’s global startup programme is taking cloud startups from across the UK to work with its research and development team over six months, providing access to 420,000 enterprise customers around the world.

“We want to create an ecosystem where our startups, customers and Oracle can co-develop and co-innovate together”

 

In just a few months Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator’s team has made themselves at home in the South West’s tech ecosystem, teaming up with the World’s number 1 university startup incubator SETsquared – even partnering with TechSPARK itself, as well as sponsoring the SPARKies tech and digital awards where one of it’s newest team members, Marina Traversari, made an excellent judge!

Given the involvement the accelerator has had in the South West in such a short space of time, we were keen to hear about what else they’ve been up to and their future plans helping startups in the region. So we caught up with Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator’s Senior Vice President Reggie Bradford (pictured below left) to find out more.

TechSPARK: What is the Oracle startup cloud accelerator? 

Reggie Bradford: It’s not your traditional ‘accelerator’; we really see this as a next-generation acceleration initiative. Of course it has all the support of a traditional program but we put a focus on peer-to-peer interactions across our Oracle resources, especially our research and development (R&D) teams and with business development.

“What’s the point of an accelerator if they can’t get you access to customers and revenue?”

 

At all my startups, finding reference customers and revenue was priority No. 1. What’s the point of an accelerator if they can’t get you access to customers and revenue? We want to provide this for our startups. We’ve already seen successes across the many startups we have been working with over the years. And we’ll apply this to all our programs.

TS: What is your background and why have you set up the accelerator?

RB: I’m an entrepreneur at heart. I’ve built and sold three startups, most recently to Oracle in 2012, and that’s really where my passion lies. But I’ve also held many executive management positions in corporations, too. So I have the unique perspective to have sat on both sides. That’s key to accomplish what we are trying to do with our global startup program.

We want to create an ecosystem where our startups, customers and Oracle can co-develop and co-innovate together—where we can all benefit.

Most startups look up to enterprise companies and want to be them. While so many enterprises today are looking down at startups wanting to be more like them. Finding ground where they can do both is critical.  Now, this isn’t easy for many reasons and I recently spoke at the Startup Grind Europe Conference where we tackled this subject and why re-imagining the startup and enterprise relationship is key to future innovation.

TS: Who should apply and what do they get if they are successful?

RB: We are deliberately leaving this wide so viable startups from many different industries and technologies can apply. Oracle works across every vertical, technology and industry out there so we are uniquely qualified to support.

Building a global community: Becky Sage, Founder of immersive science
education startup Interactive Scientific, chatting about being one of the
first startups to take part in Oracle’s Startup Cloud Accelerator

 

Our startups are getting access to world-class resources – hands-on, peer-to-peer interactions, and access to Oracle’s base of 400,000+ global customers. Like I said earlier, what’s the point of an accelerator if they can’t get you access to customers and revenue? That’s what we are aiming for – alongside the vast global resources and world-class R&D support only Oracle can provide.

TS: What makes a great startup in your opinion?

RB: I think a startup with a big disruptive idea – something that solves a unique problem or accomplishes something in a better more efficient manner – but adds 10X value. And the startup has to have a strong, tenacious and focused founder – one who puts a priority on building out a strong team.

TS: What benefits does cloud technology offer startups?

RB: Cloud has changed everything. Period. Democratised technology and allowed two guys in a garage to be just as competitive as a large corporation. Cloud enabled my startup Vitrue to disrupt the social media marketplace and generate leader status that garnered us customers from the world’s biggest brands and eventually caught the eye of Oracle via acquisition.

“[I] continue to be excited by the energy and innovative thinking coming out of the Bristol and Bath area”

 

Everything will move to cloud. Cloud is the future of business. All business. We’ve seen rapid adoption and that’ll only continue. Cloud allows for innovation and advancements not possible with legacy technology. It’s cloud that’s really fuelling the advancements we are seeing across AI, data aggregation, IoT and more.

TS: The Bristol Oracle startup cloud accelerator is working with SETsquared, why is that?

RB: We approach each region by asking ourselves: What will be best for our startups and the local ecosystem?

A vibrant ecosystem: Reggie talks more about why Oracle chose Bristol
to base its Startup Cloud Accelerator Hub

 

We always want to be a partner within local ecosystems, add value and complement the region in the best way. Partnering with SETsquared allows us to do that – we can deliver our Oracle strengths – while partnering with established organisations that help add to the value of this region. It’s all about relationships and smart, strategic partnerships.

TS: This is a global programme – why have you chosen Bristol as the the only UK location in the first phase?

RB: Bristol is a special place. It’s a vibrant, growing ecosystem that is primed to continue innovation. I was blown away by my first visit here and continue to be excited by the energy and innovative thinking coming out of the Bristol and Bath area.

Combine that with the local Oracle R&D resources and support and it was (and is) a recipe for success. Oracle looks forward to supporting this region’s growth and being a partner that adds value and drives positive growth.

TS: Are there any other ways people in the South West can get involved with Oracle?

RB: We are always open to developing new relationships and exploring new avenues and new ideas. If you are interested in learning more or partnering, just reach out to our local team.

Many thanks to Reggie for taking the time to chat to us about Oracle’s Startup Cloud Accelerator. To find out even more (and apply!) head to the Oracle website or follow them on Twitter for their latest news here: @OracleSCA.