Istoria Group’s ‘Incubator Hub’ programme delivers successful exit for innovation platform Solverboard


Front-end innovation management platform Solverboard, formed and developed within Bristol-based creative business Istoria Group, has been acquired by AIM-listed Sopheon, the leading international provider of software and services for enterprise innovation management solutions. The acquisition signifies another success for Istoria Group’s ‘Incubator Hub’ programme for promising start-ups.

Solverboard's cloud-native product is aimed at reducing time-to-value, by helping companies dynamically find, align, test and deliver the best innovation and product ideas from their employees and customers. Historically, companies have often struggled with low success rates with their innovation and product development programmes. The biggest obstacle has been at the front end, where there has traditionally been a lack of processes and tools to ensure only the best opportunities move forward. Solverboard brings the innovation and product needs of professionals together in one place so they can focus on addressing front-end innovation challenges with a distinct set of capabilities.

Solverboard was originally created by Co-founders Phil Atherton, Charlie Widdows and the late Tim Marsh. The business grew, experimented and flourished within Istoria Group - a creative collective specialising in design, innovation and strategy through three core companies– events and exhibition specialists Ignition; hospitality and branding designers Phoenix Wharf and digital innovators Tiny Spark. Because of the Group’s core commitment to entrepreneurialism, however, it also has an ‘Incubator Hub’ to house and support start-up businesses with great propositions until ready to become independent – or, in the case of Solverboard, to be acquired by its new AIM-listed owner.

“Istoria Group has been absolutely legendary in its support of Solverboard”
Solverboard Co-Founder Phil Atherton commented.
"Their willingness to back and take a risk with us has been phenomenal. A lot of venture capitalists always talk about taking risks, but actually play very safe, whilst Istoria Group has always stood by what it promises – believing in people with good ideas who can’t go to market by other means. For an SME like Istoria Group to even have such a facility is extraordinary and an absolute testament to the Group’s ingenuity, innovation and creativity as a business.”

"The acquisition of Solverboard is another step in our mission to provide the most comprehensive innovation platform for the world’s best companies,”
said Greg Coticchia, CEO of Sopheon.
"Managing the front end of innovation is an often-overlooked part of the new product development process. Unlike traditional idea management solutions, Solverboard’s powerful capabilities create a culture of continuous learning and improvement for users and ensure that innovation and products solve real-world customer problems. Adding Solverboard’s expertise to Sopheon’s growing portfolio of SaaS-based innovation products strengthens our position as the premier solution for innovation management, from strategies and ideas to execution and delivery.”

The Solverboard team will now work hard to ensure the vision for the platform is delivered, working, as Co-Founder Charlie Widdows says,

"to ensure our plans for Solverboard get delivered, in tandem with Sopheon, a company which shares our vision and values, as well as offering huge experience and expertise around innovation management. We’re all very excited about the next chapter of the business!”

“We’ve always believed in supporting self-starters and helping great ideas become commercial realities”,
Claire Menzies, Chairwoman of Istoria Group commented.
"The tremendous potential of Solverboard was clear to the Istoria Group board from day one. We couldn’t be more proud that the huge amount of work and commitment shown by the platform’s Founders and team has led the business into the hands of such sterling new owners, who will take all that promise and hard work to the next level. It’s what the Incubator Hub is all about!”