Is your company start-up friendly?

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21 novembre 2017

Collaboration between corporations and startups has become crucial, increasingly innovation coming from initiatives that combine the features of corporate research and the startup world.

The biggest difference between startups and a corporations are at the same time the biggest reason for building bridges; Corporations tend to take more calculated risks and are governed by procedures, startups tend to be small team, with flat hierarchies, they are faster and more willing to overturn business model if necessary to serve market needs better.

Corporations can benefit from collaborating with startups by sourcing novel business models, avoiding lack of creativity and inflexibility. In this way corporate will be better positioned to move ahead in the market against its competitors, facilitating superior performances. Startups can benefit from visibility, network and extra resources to scale the market.

However, to achieve this success, the key is to engage in a win-win partnership that requires a company to be able to scout, negotiate and collaborate with startups. Companies that tend to be startups friendly carry on these things or most of them.


  • Little investment goes a long way. “Pro bono” partnership can be very challenging because the company has to invest time and a small team, for something that may or may not pay off. A good strategy to achieve a good payoff is differentiating. Select and invest a little on max 2/3 startup that you think will make the difference in your business.
  • Accelerator programs. Entrepreneurs said that they found very beneficial accelerator programs because they can have a face-to-face interaction with company executives, included the chance to get mentorship, advice, and connections. So, decide what your area of interest is and participate in accelerator programs to meet and invest in the best startups.
  • Hackathons and competitions. These events are often organized by a large company as a way to capture disruptive innovation. Valuable startups want an occasion to develop their business model, so if your company is searching for a real beneficial partnership have to encourage startups to participate providing effective “prizes” – like cash, potential partnership or distribution arrangement.
  • Be clear. Startups like it when they can quickly figure out if a big company is interested in what they are working. Most of the time big companies are not transparent, not clear about their needs or strategical intentions. This could happen for two reasons: the innovation strategy is not clearly declined, so startups are engaged only is the new trend; or because the big company has difficult to figure out if there is a match.
  • Speed CEO to CEO conversation. Startup CEOs and CEOs of large companies have different approach, but the same goal, scale the market. Startup CEOs appreciate the change to discuss with CEOs company, even for a few minute, to explore the real partnership potential. Companies CEOs could organize even a little “speed dating” format, where different entrepreneurs or partners are invited to take a conversation with the startup. Avoid endless meeting, entrepreneurs are focused, if they feel like involved in a series of meeting with no visible “prize”, they will leave.
  • Person contact for startups. Big companies could be a labyrinth of roles for startups. Establish a clear point of contact, a person, a team, a referent who can communicate with startup engaged.
  • Simplified contracts. A simpler contract is the key to fix a collaboration. Startups said that having to spend too much time understanding and reviewing contracts is often a major deterrent to entering into collaborations with big companies.
  • Give open access to infrastructure, services, and network. The first choice for startups is to find a place where carry out work. Entrepreneurs need to buy any kind of services needed to develop their business. Companies can offer a simple “pay by the drink” – that means free or for a little fee - infrastructure to startups, reducing in this way friction and favoring the collaboration.