Innovation and Invention is not new. In fact, since the emergence of the steam engine in the late 18th Century (and even long before that) people, and businesses, have been creating, developing, re-inventing. And in similar blogs, we’ve discussed innovation at length – looking at Developing a Culture for Innovation, or Fuelling Growth through Innovation, or Commercialising Innovative Ideas and so much more. It’s a matter that’s important to us. And it’s clearly a matter that’s driving our economy.
But getting onto the Innovation Highway appears to be the single-biggest item on most corporates agenda. The not-to-be-left-behind threat of being overshadowed and overtaken by exciting startups who are quickly developing their pick of corporate partners, investments and next steps through being agile, and accessible.
So, what does that mean for you, the potential Corporate Partner?
Well, it means that apart from being able to identify and find the right startup or high-growth partner, you are also at risk of becoming 1 of many, as corporate organisations just like you, face the same race to find the new, the innovative, the rare. And growing businesses are starting to realise that.
So, what are you doing to stand out from the rest, and attract the right startup interest as your next corporate venture investment opportunity?
Attracting startup interest as a potential new partner for your corporate venture is no different to attracting the best talent to join your organisation. Except for one thing: How much more you can do for them, in the long-run – over and above the funding opportunity you offer.
They want to Evolve. And they want your Cash.
The Boston Consulting Group recently conducted a powerful study into the fostering of collaboration between corporates and startups. In this report, it was noted that: “The most common top priority is funding: 80% of the startups we surveyed rank it among their top three needs. But it is far from their only need. Startups look to the supporting ecosystem for help with market access (61%), technical expertise (39%), and business expertise and knowledge (26%). Startups are attracted to particular funders by the specific attributes that they bring to the table.” In this same report, it was noted that for many startups and second-stage funding participants, fear of misaligned vision and objectives was a real concern. They want to know that you, as their corporate partner and investor, hold their interests at heart. That you demonstrate integrity and resourcefulness that will see their business grow.
Your funding may be the icing. But how much cake do you offer?
“Corporations are the preferred partners for most potential needs: they are differentiated by their ability to provide market access, technical knowledge, and business expertise, and funding is the icing on the cake“, says this same study. Most participants in the study noted that they actively choose corporations as their preferred partners because they offer them an overall great spectrum of opportunity than single investors, business angels etc offered. So, as a potential partner, just how confident do you feel that you have what it takes to attract a new growing business into your overall growth strategy and provide more than just a signed cheque? Does your corporate counterpart offer more cake than you do? Perhaps it’s time to revamp the recipe and attract the right opportunity for your strategy. After all, would you market a Victoria sponge to a gluten-intolerant market? Probably not – unless you switch things up.
The Power 4: Do you know who you want, and who you’re trying to attract?
Let’s not kid ourselves. You want to see your investment delivering results as quickly as possible. Whether this be a financial return, or a strategic incentive that you’re trying to hit. And when it comes to understanding and attracting the right investment opportunity, it’s critical that you understand how quickly your investment may deliver the reward you have in mind. “Sharpening their understanding of startups’ needs and expectations provides a user’s guide to what startups are seeking from other participants in the ecosystem“, which is why the BCG report broke the startup landscape into four categories of startup, each with its own set of needs: potential quick wins, demand bets, development bets, and technology bets.
So, you may have a clearer idea of what you’re trying to achieve, and the type of high-growth business you’re trying to attract. But getting started is the next step that you need to overcome. That’s where we come in. We have had the pleasure to work with businesses all over the UK who are driven to grow, and are disrupting their markets daily. Investing the right time that is needed to develop a beneficial relationship and partnership with these businesses may require more attention and focus than what you have set aside. It’s simple – you know what you want, and you know what you’d like to achieve. Why not let us work with you to deliver those results. Consider us your incubator and internal operational team to become your corporate venture secret weapon. Let us help you find the right investment. It’s time to talk.