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Secrets to a Successful Corporate-Startup Relationship

Secrets to a Successful Corporate-Startup Relationship

Relationships between big corporate giants and startup companies are not new; young nimble companies bring innovation and new ideas, while larger established players have strong customer relationships and know how to properly support them. As innovation and market shifts accelerate, collaboration between naturally aligned companies only becomes more critical as new products need to get to market even faster.

As tech markets have matured, we have seen a true symbiotic relationship develop between startups and the bigger legacy providers. For emerging companies, the benefits of aligning with larger established companies are significant. They gain leverage via exposure to more customers, support resources, funding and increased visibility as advantages by partnering with the right organization. On the other hand, large companies need fresh ideas and new products to remain relevant to their massive customer base.

But where to start? For startups, questions may revolve around how to properly reach large organizations, who to talk to and what company is the right fit. Corporations are working with the reality that five to 10 percent of startups succeed – having the foresight – or formula – to determine where to place bets is no simple feat. But despite these early challenges, these relationships are imperative for growth on both sides.

Recent findings indicate that 67 percent of corporations prefer working with startups at an early stage. This may come as a surprise as it is often assumed that the majority of these relationships begin only when a serious potential partnership of some sort is on the table. While this may be the case on occasion, recently we’ve seen a fundamental shift in the way corporations and startups work together. More frequently these relationships are built over longer time frames, working together in new ways, focusing on early-stage, flexible and open partnerships. With the tech acquisition “spree” of 2017, these factors may be playing a bigger role than ever. In fact, 82 percent of corporations regard interactions with startups as “somewhat important” to “very important,” and 23 percent of corporations expressed that these interactions were “mission critical.”

It is clear that a growing volume of corporations are now seeking informal upstream startup partnerships, where both parties take part in the accompanying risk and reward. At their core, corporations and startups differ greatly and they must both recognize that collaboration is a partnership and must be treated with respect and true follow-through for a successful outcome. The foundation for success is built on a common vision: 45 percent of corporations cite “strategic fit” as the most important factor for success or failure of a given startup relationship.

So what does this mean for startups? How should young companies align themselves with larger corporations? What does the process look like? What should corporations and startups be thinking about as they embark on this collaboration journey?

We will delve into these questions and more at our next B2B IT Forum on October 25, 2017 at the Royal Sonesta in Cambridge, MA. We will be joined by five expert panelists with rich experience in this startup/corporate scene to address these questions and others. Panelists include:

  • Rob Lawrence – SVP Strategy, LogMeIn: Rob’s experience includes former VP of corporate development and strategy at Skillsoft; senior principal at the Parthenon Group.
  • Upesh Patel – VP, Business Development, Aqua Security: Upesh has held VP of business development positions at CrowdStrike, Blue Coat Systems, Perspecsys and Trusteer.
  • Sabine Schilg – VP, Customer Success, Renewals, Cross and Upsell, Carbonite: Prior to joining Carbonite, Sabine spent nearly two decades at IBM driving partnerships, M&A and integrations.
  • Tsahy Shapsa – Co-Founder, VP, Business Development and Alliances, CloudLock/Cisco: Tsahy’s experience includes organizer for Boston Cloud & AWS Meetups, and co-founder, VP market development at Aprigo.
  • Iain Michel – Corporate VP, Corporate Development, PTC: Iain has 16+ years experience as Corporate VP, Corporate Development at PTC.

You can register for the free event here. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be served.  We hope you will join us.

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