from Founding Partner Ben Yoskovitz
Last week I gave a quick talk at ResolveTO about how big companies are disrupting themselves through startup innovation. The goal of the talk was to walk through why companies should engage with startups, and a few methods they’re employing.
I’ve included the presentation below:
There’s a time and place for big companies to work with startups. The challenge is figuring out which problems/opportunities are better off being solved through a startup (and partnership with them) versus doing something in-house. Not every opportunity is best served through the creation of, or investment in, a startup. At the same time, it’s important to have a repeatable, scalable model for identifying the right opportunities and methods for engaging the startup ecosystem.
One thing is very clear when you begin working at the intersection of big companies and startups: each of them wants what the other has. Big companies have all kinds of assets locked up inside of them that are incredibly valuable for startups, including ideas, customers, distribution, experience and capital. Meanwhile, big companies — when trying to innovate more aggressively — look with longing towards the agility and risk-taking of startups. If big companies and startups both have assets locked up inside of them that the other wants, how do we unlock those in a meaningful way?
In the presentation, I’ve identified four ways that corporates are working with startups and a subsequent challenge around each.
All of these approaches for big companies and startups to work together can be valuable, but they can also be scattershot and disorganized. A lot of companies dip a toe in the water with these approaches — and that makes complete sense — but eventually, a more holistic strategy is necessary to maximize the value for everyone.
At Highline BETA we believe in a model called startup co-creation. Startup co-creation is about deeply understanding the problems/opportunities from a corporate’s perspective (and its customers), and then figuring out the right solution to those validated problems/opportunities.
Sometimes the right solution is a startup — either through the identification of an early stage startup for partnering and/or investing, or the creation of a new startup to work deeply with the corporate customer. Startup co-creation provides a disciplined, structured, Lean approach to figuring out the right opportunities to go after and how. We’ll share more on the model, in-depth, soon.