Resources for corporate-startup collaboration

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1| When to work with startups, when to do something else

Applying your workout principles to succeed at corporate innovation
Do you go to the gym? Many of us do. And whether it’s to train for a marathon, or to get beach-body ready, we all have a reason for going. The practice itself is part of a bigger objective. But of course, our objectives are not all the same. Which means that our practices need not all be the same.

2| Biggest drivers of success

  1. Strategic alignment: corporate assets to work with, and engaged sponsors (both financial & operational)
  2. Deep due diligence: focus on competent, credible, corporate-ready startups that have validated problems, validated solutions, validated business models and that are ready to scale
  3. Smart pilot structuring: short, structured, experiment-led pilots that use the lean startup methodology of prioritizing and validating the biggest risks

Have a look at slides 13-15 in the deck embedded below for discussion on this point.

3| Type of startups you want to work with

  • Competent
  • Credible
  • Corporate-ready

Have a look at slides 22-26 in this deck for some discussion on this point.

4| What good startups want from you

The key is to create commercially interesting opportunities for growth-stage startups. Once you have done strong diligence, for the most innovative and most appropriate startups, you will need to run your own ‘sales-process’ - ie. to convince them as to why they should work with you.

Here is a good primer on what startups want from their corporate collaborators.

What startups want from their corporate partners
If you are a corporate seeking commercial impact through your collaborationswith startups, you will need to work with startups that are sufficiently matureand ready to be able to deliver value and grow with you at scale. Unfortunately, that counts out early stage startups - those with limitedpro…

Also see this slide:

5| Things to avoid

See this link for 9 lessons learned from designing & executing 100+ corporate-startup engagement programmes.

See this article about what type of startups to avoid.

Corporate-Startup Engagement: taking a pass on the perennial POC posse
Run this experiment: post a generic job on LinkedIn, and watch the multitude applications flow in. The huge majority of applicants will likely be way off point. And it’s a great analogy for ill-conceived startup contests, given the market for startups desperate for a chance with a corporate brand.

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