Corporates can boost their capabilities working with startups

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IESE Business School, in collaboration with GELLIFY and ACCIONA, today released a new report on how corporations can boost their capabilities and efficiency collaborating with startup entrepreneurs in a highly volatile market.

Supported by interviews with 92 chief innovation officers and equivalents in Asia, North and South America, and Europe, the report Open Innovation: Improving Your Capability, Deal Flow, Cost and Speed with a Corporate Venturing Ecosystem, sheds light on what companies such as Disney, Samsung and Formula 1 have in mind when choosing between engaging directly with a start-up or through an intermediary? How can the right intercessor be chosen?

With corporations collaborating with startups, companies struggle to beat competitors in hunting and seducing the same top-tier entrepreneurs. And, as the global market volatility intensified it induces further pressure in corporate venturing teams to get better market predictions and new revenue streams ready to run. So, it is important for companies to increasingly complement their efforts with corporate venturing enablers—from private accelerators to research centers, embassies, or even corporations—to facilitate collaborations with start-ups.

But before corporates take a plunge into joining hands with startups either directly or supported by enablers, they need to evaluate their decision based on quantifying significant aspects such as: the start-up’s proximity to the company’s core business (in 26% of the cases), its internal capability to work with entrepreneurs (24%), its access to curated opportunities (17%), the cost of implementation (11%), etc.

On other hand, once a company decides to go with the enabler route, these are the most frequent aspects that companies should evaluate in this decision: its own capabilities to work with entrepreneurs (in 38% of the cases), whether there is an existing ecosystem of curated stakeholders to enhance the corporate–start-up collaboration (15%), its knowledge of the industry or the scouted technology (12%), and its level of existing personal trust and tailored service (10%), to name a few. Well, now the main question is, how does this affect corporates? Since corporations are to a greater extent working with start-ups and offering similar benefits to entrepreneurs—teaming up with enablers can improve their value proposition, thereby aggregating value. Moreover, it can reduce its innovation cost by sharing it with others. It can also increase its deal-flow access and ability to identify opportunities. However, enablers are not just consulting firms: the reality is far richer.

Now, what is there for enablers? Forget “much ado about nothing.” A proven capability is the most frequent aspect considered when choosing between two enablers (in 38% of the cases). One should spend less time packaging enablers’ assets and put more effort toward developing a skilled team with a proven method to serve the corporation.

This study was authored by Josemaria Siota and Mª Julia Prats, in collaboration with Diego Fernández and Telmo Pérez. For more details on the study´s findings, see:

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