Tech giants, traditional corporates, universities, accelerators… you name it. Larger organizations have truly woken up to see the benefits of working with startups. In a multitude of ways, large enterprises are looking to strengthen their foothold in the startup ecosystem – a great way to do that is at Slush.
But wait… Wasn’t Slush a startup event? Yes, it still is.
However, along with 2,336 startups, more than 100 partners joined the effort to make Slush a success in 2016. Ranging from traditional industry corporates to tech giants, our partners are looking for collaboration with startups to boost their innovation, product development, and business – not to mention direct investments and acquisitions of startups. Terms such as corporate venture capital, corporate innovation, corporate lab, and accelerator are frequently heard on the street. However, these are only a few examples of how to organize startup-corporate collaboration.
Startup-driven Corporate Innovation
As the State of European Tech -report from 2016 notes, a new breed of corporate innovation is expected to unfold, and it offers a huge potential for startups to access more capital, customer networks or other vital resources from their corporate partners. This is exactly the reason why it is important to have corporates present at Slush.
At Slush, we always have founders in the “driver’s seat”.
Nonetheless, as every startup is born in a larger ecosystem, there is a need to build a link between the big and the small to overcome obstacles for cooperation.
We’ve seen an increasing willingness from large enterprises to work with startups. How about startups then? Are they equally fond of working with traditional corporates? Can a corporate keep up with the pace of a young startup, when decision-making does not always seem fully rational in a fast-paced environment? These kinds of cultural and structural biases seem to overwhelm some of the corporate-startup pairs on their journey to success.
Get Nitty Gritty with Founders
The PwC Slush Study from 2016 highlights a need for corporate representatives and executives to dive into the startup ecosystem in practice: by visiting startup events, getting to know the community and to open dialogue with startups – simply putting yourself into the startup founders’ shoes. In order to collaborate, you need to understand first. This makes sense, doesn’t it?
I would like to leave you with a few hand-picked tips for corporate representatives looking to reach out to startups at Slush 2017.
- Reach for relevance: By following our startup attendee list or accessing the Slush Matchmaking Tool, you can see which startups are most interesting for you to meet. Shoot a meeting request, if you dare!
- Find the right events: In addition to the main event, we are expecting more than 300 pre- and side events to be organized during Slush week. Network, network, network.
- Trust the footwork: The future unicorns are not going to fall into your lap. At the event, run through interesting startups at the Startup Square and listen to pitches at the Slush 100 Competition to scout for A-class teams.
- Value founders: Some startups are based on a lifelong dream. Don’t go in and say “I want to buy your company”. Look for ways to build something great together.
- Mind the cultural gap: The definition of “work” in a startup and a corporate is very much different. You might want to lose the tie or even the entire suit.
Good luck for startup hunting!
P.S. We are extremely proud to announce our first batch of Partners for Slush 2017. Quite many of them are looking at startups to collaborate with. Startups, stay tuned for more!