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How to Make Your Startup More Corporate-Collaboration-Friendly

Dec 29 , 2016 | By Omar Hassan

Collaboration between startup and corporates can be beneficial for both parties for a number of reasons - for example, corporations can open up doors and provide credibility to a startup, which in turn can provide an elasticity, and out-of-the-box thinking, that corporations cannot afford themselves.

But a startup can’t just knock on a corporation’s front door and expect to be welcomed in. So what can they do to make themselves act more collaboration-friendly?

Ambitions and your selling point

When you are looking for a corporation to partner and collaborate with, aim for one that shares your startup’s ambitions, that is working towards the same goal. If a corporation wants to make the most secure tablet devices in the world, and your startup makes an innovative anti-virus software solution, it makes sense to partner and have their tablets ship with your software pre-installed, thus attaining the shared goal of making tablet users more secure than ever.

As well as showing your startup to be a kindred spirit of sorts, shared goals should make it easier to convince them that they need your product. If you can’t show them that you have a solution to their problem, your chances of collaborating with them plummet. The above example doesn’t plug a hole in the corporation’s product, but it does enhance it and make it more desireable to the consumer, putting you in good stead with the corporation.

A two-way street

Your initial thought when considering collaboration will be how the corporation can help boost your startup to success; however, if you want the collaboration to be successful, you need to bear in mind that it is give and take. Ultimately, they can give more than you can, so you need to focus on how you can always be saving them time and/or money.

Good advice for a startup in any situation is to keep innovating, but is even more so in this instance. In our above example, once the corporate’s tablets have shipped with your software on it...what then? How do you continue to be of value to the corporation? Always have one eye on the future and be ready to explain how you’re going to solve their next problem and/or save them more hard cash.


It isn’t enough to just understand corporates goals and ambitions - you need to understand the way they operate and the way their corporate minds think. Understand their structure, the different ways they have to operate in terms of finance and law, the different priorities they may have, and their obligations. All of this will help you understand why they make the decisions they make, why they say yes or no, and will aid you in your quest to become the kind of startup they decide to collaborate with. Understand that corporations move at a different pace to startups, and decisions you can make quickly will have a more complex journey from question to answer. A decision that can take a few days in a startup can take many weeks in a corporate environment! Always bare that in mind.

Attend more corporate-focused events and immerse yourself in the culture of corporations. Ultimately, the better you understand them, the better you can appeal to them and later work with them.

Learn how to fail

There is a high likelihood of being rejected by corporations on more than one occasion before you find one that sees your value. You have to be ready to learn from the rejections without becoming disheartened. Failure to secure the desired collaboration isn’t as big a failure as wasting your time, or not learning the lessons the rejection teaches: why are they not interested, and what can you change to give your startup a better chance next time? Don’t be afraid to pursue a response from the corporation for fear of forcing rejection: sitting around wasting time while they slowly deliberate (or not) is the real failure.

In conclusion, for you to connect, engage and ultimately collaborate with a Corporate, spend some time considering your exact value proposition to each Corporate you aim to reach out to. Imagine, this is very much like applying for a job - tailor your Resume and your respective value , based on what skills, talents and experience you can bring to the table, and appreciate that you might get a few knock backs before you get your foot in the door.

At Inevert we are helping to bridge the gap between progressive corporates and the innovative startups that want to work with them, register now!!

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