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5 Ways to Engage Successfully with Start-ups

Posted 6 years ago

Many of our corporate clients are concerned about the disruptive impact that start-up companies will have on their industries, either now or in the future.

More worryingly, however, are the ostriches sticking their heads in the sand, believing that it won’t happen.

The banking sector is one that does recognise the threat and facing up to it. The majors are actively looking for new technologies and incubating start-up companies.

They understand that their future competitiveness will depend on developing unique product and service offerings. They have systems in place to find and assess new opportunities and this is central to corporate strategy.

But how do smaller organisations achieve this? While it might seem daunting, here are five relatively easy ways:

  1. Establish an Innovation Management System (IMS): Set up an internal process to capture internal and external ideas, assess those ideas and then implement the best ones for your business. An IMS is a good way to identify and document how start-ups and their technologies might sharpen your competitive edge.
  2. Express your interest in identifying new opportunities: If start-ups or developers of new technologies don’t know that you are interested, then they will not be approaching you. Make sure you have an easy- to- access portal on your website so technology owners can contact you. Ensure that corporate presentations and other marketing collateral always mention that you are actively seeking the next generation of products and services to add value to your business.
  3. Subscribe to websites that list start-ups and emerging technologies: These platforms make scouting easy, convenient, and inexpensive.
  4. Communicate your interests: This is often a difficult one as many organisations don’t want their competitors to know what they are looking at. Impact Innovation engages with start-up companies and sources new technologies on behalf of our clients, without the technology owners knowing who’s looking until the client is ready.
  5. Partner early: Don’t be afraid to conduct pilot activities with start-up companies, but also recognise your role in the commercialisation process. A start-up gains a lot of credibility saying that a larger enterprise is piloting its technology. Ensure this is reflected in any deal announcements when the pilot is successful.

If you’re a small business, learn more about our technology scouting services here. And if you’re a larger organisation, click here.

– Brian Ruddle, Managing Director

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