The workshop is led by Daniel Ramamoorthy, founder & CEO of Treehouse. To discuss how startups and corporations can complement each other, he is joined by Sven Scheuble (Siemens), Felix Reinshagen (NavVis) and Daniel Strohmayr (Tecterion).
The workshop starts of trying to figure out what ingredients are needed for a healthy startup ecosystem. Certainly it is people, capital, interesting visions as well as a specific network culture - but how can you establish meaningful connections? Participants are asked to write down accelerators and resources to find new potential partners and collaborators. There are many entrepreneurs in the audience, some of them have already collaborated with large companies and share their experience.
How to get started?
Conferences are a good resource to connect with likeminded. These contacts can directly lead to collaborations, but also to other people that might become helpful. Large companies sometimes also have accelerators that can be a starting point.
What are challenges and obstacles for startups collaborating with corporations? Sometimes the vision is not the same. Work practices often differ, bureaucracy is a big burden. Often times, it is not incentivized to bring in innovation at large companies. There's a low reward and a high risk for people to do something differently.
Large companies sometimes have an innovation department that serves as a hub and a bridge builder. The panelists agree that this is helpful. However, as large companies are increasingly interested to cooperate with startups they tend to keep them in the loop forever instead of giving them a clear answer.
What is the value of these kind of partnerships? The value for large companies is the cooperation itself, Sven says. You can bring in new ideas, but it is not about just buying them. He talks about their cooperation with Freewire as an example. Siemens started to work with them before they even had founded the company. The collaboration was just based on a good idea: a mobile charging system for cars, so that cars do not have to go to a station anymore. The company is independent but uses products and resources of Siemens.
Ending the workshop with a good advice to take away: What is the best way to pitch your idea to a corporate company? Instead of trying to just sell what you have, figure out which problems your potential partner company has and explain how your service or product can solve them.