12 months of creating, amplifying and investing

365… that’s the amount of days it’s been since we officially launched Etc. – the startup incubation hub of BT Group – with the brilliant and inspirational Harmeen Mehta. Standing on stage at BT Group’s annual Digital Live this week, I was reminded of just how far we’ve come – from a small team with an ambition to explore new categories to a family of over 100.

In our first year, our roadmap has been based on building products and services that solve real life challenges in meaningful ways. Working with some of the best names in the game, we’ve focused our energies on three core verticals: healthtech, fintech, and drones – as well as our factory arm where we explore and rapid prototype entirely new ideas. We’re only 12 months in, but already we’ve formed an incredible partnership with Altitude Angel to unlock the skies for drones, started healthtech trials in care settings across the UK including the fantastic medical practice in Warrington and developed a new solution to get patients out of beds quicker and safer. And on the back of this brilliant work, our healthtech offering has been awarded an IoT Breakthrough for its ability to create preventive, rather than reactive health solutions.

To achieve so much in such a short time, we’ve lived by a few key principles. For those that know me, you’ll know how much I believe that great product teams can only exist with an equally great culture, and that’s something Harmeen and I have always been truly aligned on. Bringing in talent from all different career paths, we worked hard to create an environment, culture and team that could thrive and build truly disruptive products. Driven by a startup mentality and a relentless focus on the customer, Etc. has gone from strength to strength.

This year has been the best kind of roller coaster, and a great reminder that collaboration and complete, total honesty should go hand in hand. I’m continually amazed by the talent in the business – in particular the board –  and in their willingness to be completely open to new ideas and approaches, even if they’re not the ‘easy’ option. We’ve had upfront discussions about how we can avoid any awkwardness that comes with bringing a startup into an established business, about how we must walk the talk and how we can use a founder mentality to work better and faster. That’s the beauty of working with real life disruptors and people that have the same values as you – they’re always open to the conversation.

Looking back on how far we’ve come from day one, week one, month one… it’s really quite remarkable. The Etc. story began at an exciting time for BT Group, where the digital team was defining its mission to accelerate transformation, and to have been part of that journey has been a real honour. In that time, we’ve launched a multi-million pound partnership in the drones space, started tackling some of the biggest challenges in healthcare and explored new and uncharted territory with our Factory team. We’ve seen a mammoth increase in our colleague NPS score, some brilliant milestones… and we’re only at the first chapter. By the end of this year we’ll have products live in each of our verticals, so watch this space.

Want to learn more about what we’ve been up to? Drop me a line or find us at