Corporate growth in the age of startups.
Understanding when, why, and how corporations can collaborate with startups.
The Spectrum of Startup Engagement
How can corporations use startup collaborations to drive real value?
The short answer is “it’s hard, and it depends”. But there are some key learnings that can help you get started.
This report, based on survey responses, interviews with both startup and corporate stakeholders, and our own experiences working with both corporations and startups, is our attempt to answer:
- What do startup/corporate collaborations actually look like?
- What are startup's perspectives on working with large corporations?
- How can working together drive value for both startups and corporations?
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There is a whole spectrum of approaches to collaboration with startups.
Consider options like procuring early versions of products, distribution partnerships, facilitating customer access, sharing innovation assets, or co-creating products or business models.
Think beyond investments and acquisitions
Ad-hoc partnership models can be relatively lightweight, but will be more limited in what they can accomplish. These models drive the best results when focused on a specific business challenge or outcome.
More formalized process and structures like commercial deal accelerators and new ventures groups can help corporations execute on partnerships at scale, and fully realize the benefits.
Find an engagement strategy that fits
Startups reported that most collaborations were sourced through founders’ pre-existing networks. Founders also shared that their impressions of corporations as partners improved after collaborations.
Corporations can benefit from highlighting stories of successful collaborations, streamlining startups’ experiences wherever possible, and converting past partners to advocates who can help drive future dealflow.
Reputation is critical for partnerships and dealflow.
Offerings that are often easiest for corporations to deploy – like mentorship or co-working space – drove the least value for startups. Surveyed startups shared that access to customers, venture capital investment, procurement, and product feedback were the most valuable resources that corporations provide.
Focus on driving mutual value
Highline Beta is a startup co-creation and venture capital firm.
We partner with enterprises to invest in and build the future of their industries. Combining the experience of enterprises, agility of startups, and methodology of investors, we’re building a new model for corporate growth and venture capital.
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