How start-ups can attract a corporate partner?
Are you an enthusiastic start-up with a great idea? Then you might need a corporate partner to validate your idea and set you on the path to fame and riches.
But just how do you find a corporate partner? It’s likely they are out there looking for you as part of a start-up ecosystem.
Start-up ecosystems vary from city to city, but ultimately corporates could be sponsoring a start-up event or attending a pitch night in search of expertise that can help solve a problem for their business.
The WA ecosystem includes awards, start-up hubs and incubators, universities, angel investors, equity investors, organisations and governments.
It’s also an important part of the Australian ecosystem, which luckily for start-ups is ranked highly on a global scale.
According to the StartupBlink Ecosystems Rankings Report, which analyses ecosystems across 1000 cities in 100 countries, Australia was ranked fifth in the world in 2019, up from 11th two years earlier.
Shane Ogilvie, Chief of Strategy and Innovation at aged care services provider Bethanie, has worked with start-ups across several industries including defence, finance and manufacturing.
He says some of the best approaches are through industry events or through personal relationships established at those events.
Fast tracking solutions
One way companies open the door to talent is via crowdsourcing platforms such as Unearthed, which is an online community bringing start-ups and industries together to solve technical problems.
Mining giant BHP ran a competition in April 2019, calling for ideas, solutions or services that could help the mining giant improve its site access processes across its Australian operations to.
It gave start-ups and SMEs exposure to BHP and its leaders, the opportunity to co-develop and trial technology inside BHP and, following a pilot, the potential to win the resources behemoth as a new customer.
Twenty-seven companies submitted solutions, seven took part in a site access visit with Comply Flow voted as offering the best platform solution. The company will now work with BHP to define a pilot scope and commercial contract.
The other 26 will need to keep trying.
Should you take no for an answer?
While it might take a few approaches before you find corporate partner, Ogilvie says whether you take no for an answer or not depends on context.
“If someone approaches me and I'm really not interested in the product, or I can't see how it can solve a problem for me, then I try and be as open and honest as I can about that,” he says.
“If you truly believe that you can change someone’s mind and it’s going move you from start-up to scale up to a scale company, then go for it, but take cues and context from the people you're talking to.”