Bain launches corporate venturing & business building unit Next

01 May 2022 3 min. read
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Citing the fast-changing business landscape, Bain & Company has launched a new practice to support entrepreneurs and organisations with innovation and business building.

Branded as Next, the new corporate venturing and business building unit of the global strategic consultancy brings together more than 200 of its professionals from its 60+ offices worldwide to support founders and executives with innovation and scaling.

Bain & Company says that its assembled team of strategists, designers and engineers have played key roles at start-ups, innovations labs, venture-backed firms and other high-growth environments, with expert know-how in areas such as human-centered design, software engineering, advanced analytics, digital marketing, and user experience among many others.

Bain launches corporate venturing & business building unit Next

Most importantly, says Bain, Next works closely with clients, not for them.

“Deeply understanding your customer is the single most important ingredient to innovation and growth,” said Mikaela Boyd, Americas leader of Next. “At Bain, we go as far as to call ourselves ‘customer obsessed.’ Our work within Next often starts in helping our clients understand the raw needs of customers and potential prospects, and then determining how and where they are best positioned to uniquely address those needs in new and different ways.”

Beyond the initial innovation stage, the new practice aims to support entrepreneurs and industry disruptors across the subsequent phases of product and business building, including creation – iterating the solution to ensure market fit, making critical decisions around building, partnering and buying, and building a team that can deliver.

Then, Next supports with scaling; accelerating customer adoption in new segments and geographies and continuously improving to realise growth.

According to a recent study by McKinsey & Company (which also has a venture building practice, named LEAP), business leaders expect that half of their company’s revenues by 2026 will be derived from new products, services or businesses, with one in five considering new business building their foremost priority.

“The most successful companies are deeply committed to building the future,” said Dunigan O’Keeffe, Bain’s global Strategy practice leader. “They bring together a bold insurgent mission, passionate focus on the customer, and an overall owner mindset for speed and scalability; we call this ‘founder’s mentality’. Over the past several years we have partnered with hundreds of founders at large corporations and within startups to infuse this mentality into their businesses.”

Among the leaders involved with Next are two Asia Pacific company members: Steve McGrath and Michael Egan, respectively APAC heads for Business Building & Corporate Innovation, and Innovation & Design.

Bangkok-based partner Egan was one of those who helped incubate Next itself. He has been with Bain since 2018, following an earlier four-year stint at the firm between Sydney and Los Angeles. An expert in digital transformation and product development, Egan also previously served as the CEO of Spark Networks, where he turned the company around in part by refocusing it on delivering successful UX and products.

Singapore-based McGrath has been with the firm as a partner since the middle of last year. After an early consulting career start at Accenture, Boston Consulting Group, and Capgemini Invent, McGrath has spent the past two and a half decades successfully establishing and exiting a number of start-ups and investing in innovative ventures. Prior to joining Bain, he also served as President for Shell Ventures for North America and China.