As our Colliders get ready to incorporate their companies and draw the roadmap to spend the initial seed investment, they already seek the backing of corporates to secure their survival. All of our startups are directed to a B2B business model, which means that attracting corporations is key. For this reason, we welcomed Nicolai Schättgen, an expert in connecting the two sides (corporations and startups). His aim as CEO of Match-Maker ventures is to ensure a relevant and successful integration of scaled innovation for both.

“It always takes longer than what you think!”

The truth is that most collaborations startup-corporate do not reach expectations until at least a couple years time if they ever do. This entails a lot of frustration in terms of time and money. As Nicolai pointed out when you think of the major impression of startups against corporates that is “SLOW”. And that’s for a reason: corporations are reactionary. As opposed to startups, the risk of losing a lot with a little change is high. Therefore, it is fundamental to set a realistic two-sided venture, where the offerings from each side stand clear.

The KPIs are fundamental to keep focus on a startup-corporation relationship. As Nicolai lists, there are 4 major KPIs you should progressively implement: progress KPIs, quantitative KPIs, result KPIs and financial KPIs. The first two apply to the initial scenario where the relationship is getting started. Meanwhile, the latter more tangible ones are involved in a further developed phase aimed at creating real business impact.

Last, in Nicolai’s keynote, he highlights 3 major challenges in startup-corporate deals: people, sourcing and commitment.

People Challenge. This entails the long gatekeeping process followed by corporations to select just the right team with the right idea that covers their need. And if your final focus as a startup is being acquired, it is key to keep in mind the multiple agents that will influence such decision, from C-level supporters to networkers or mentors.
Sourcing Challenge. As many startups struggle to survive, being the one that stays alive enough to get noticed is tough. That’s why it is important to know where corporations set their eyes upon and that is basically: (1) product, (2) market, (3) business model and (4) team. These all will help at the same time evaluate traction, USP and scalability.
Commitment Challenge. Moving beyond the proof of concept and sitting a clear and agreed goal to follow by.

Hope Nicolai’s advice was useful for our start-ups to scout the right corporations and set up fruitful relationships. We’re always honoured to welcome such great experts that collaborate in the early-stage development of The Collider startups.