1440-- named after the year Johannes Gutenberg introduced the printing press to the world-- is only a few weeks in now, inviting entrepreneurial thinkers from as far off as Zimbabwe and as close as Memphis to learn from experts in the publishing industry.
[3:18] “The whole idea of investing in startups and innovation outside of the company itself is pretty new to this company, so we sort of viewed that as the first step. 1440 is the reflection of starting to think about expanding the innovation ecosystem here,” David Roland said.
Roland oversees venture capital for ICG, investing in new technologies for the company-- everything from advances in education literature production to anti-piracy software. Being involved in 1440 gets ICG involved in an earlier stage of startup development than usual-- helping new technologies develop instead of investing in fully-formed ventures.
Through 1440, ICG hopes to give these young companies and ideas access to a global platform to reach diverse markets, something Roland says is generally hard for smaller companies on their own.
[4:10] “We’re talking about using 1440 to bring people who have really innovative ideas and really talented people into an accelerator type place where they can interact with our people and get a lot of industry experience that there’s not a lot of places you can get in the book world,” Roland said.
As Ingram said in a previous post, it’s technologies like these-- new innovations and advances in a rapidly changing industry-- that make up the greatest profit for ICG.
[6:02] “Over that 20 year period, our gross profit grew 50%, but 60% of the total gross profit today comes from things that didn’t exist 20 years ago. Our business today, we do a lot of the same things, but the drivers of it are things that we’ve created over that period of time,” Ingram said.
Because the EC is a Google Tech Hub with connections across the world, the fit seemed natural for ICG when it came time to decide on the partnership.
[6:55] “I know that, for Ingram, they’re looking at a wide range of investment opportunities from companies that are already in existence-- that’re already providing a service or product that compliments what they’re doing,” said Nashville EC CEO Stuart McWhorter. “What 1440 does is addresses the early stage innovative opportunities that they may not see otherwise. So they’re leveraging this platform that we’ve established here at the EC through our network, reaching far and beyond what they may be able to do on their own.”