November 12, 2015
Throughout various startup ecosystems across the US there are a lot of examples of startup companies working alongside enterprise corporations. It’s not uncommon by any means, and there’s a lot more to this symbiosis than acquisitions. On one end, you see the enterprise provide access to capital, resources, and mentorship in an effort to further develop on their technologies. At the other end is the startup, chomping at the bit for an opportunity to collaborate with a reputable enterprise and make a name for themselves.
Sure, one can survive without the other – nobody’s saying enterprise and startup collaboration is 100 percent necessary for long term survival. What we are saying is that, when the right startups match with the right enterprises, both are elevated to significantly higher levels of productivity and innovation.
In fact, a lot of enterprises will go out of their way to establish programs and strategies aimed at bringing in the right startups. At Celebrate 2015, Rob Pegoraro hosted a panel that dove headfirst into this world and examined how some of the biggest enterprise names in tech are putting this mentality into practice. Specifically, we heard Don Dodge – Developer Advocate at Google; Paul Swartz – Strategic Partnerships Manager, American Airlines, Steve Seow – Architect Evangelist, Microsoft; and Corrado Tomassoni – Global Director of Startups, Accelerators and VCs at PayPal & Braintree all provide their input.
What are these four corporate entities doing to help out startups? Further, why would they even want to spend their time, money, and energy fueling startup companies that might one day be their direct competition? The answer is simple: there’s too much good that can come from a collaboration of enterprises and startups. To ignore this would be foolish.
“Startups are where the innovation happens. Startups will do things big companies will not. Big companies tend not to take big risks or go after small markets that are emerging. Startups do. That’s one of the reasons we work with startups. A second reason is we acquire a lot of companies. Most of them are startups,” says Dodge.
You also have to factor in that bigger, enterprise companies sometimes don’t have the bandwidth to innovate on already existing technologies their own technologies that have practical applications outside of what they were initially designed for. Seow gave a perfect example about the Kinect technology that Microsoft developed for Xbox: they rolled out a Kinect technology accelerator and opened it up to startups. Why? Simple – they wanted to apply it to new market verticals but couldn’t afford to put their own people on the job.
Further, the startups in the accelerator were able to successfully apply the Kinect technology to industries like healthcare and interior design, thus elevating their own startups to new heights. This is what I’m talking about when I say it’s a symbiotic relationship – they’re able to fuel each other through a cycle of innovation.
There are plenty of other initiatives like Microsoft BizSpark, Google’s Launch Pad, and American Airlines’ dedicated startup articles in American Way Magazine. All of these offerings hold inherent the potential to be life changing for a startup company. I don’t want to spoil the whole video for you, so check out the rest of what was discussed here:
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