How can big corporations and startups work together?

September 13, 2017

For the past few years, we’ve seen some of the most disruptive startups shape entire industries with their innovative technologies and business models. You find companies like Uber, Airbnb or Tesla, that took entire markets by the storm to quickly implement their businesses and grow at an unsurmountable pace.

This growth and disruptive mindset have definitely shaken things up and for the well-established companies, or the so-called big corporations, it has caused some skepticism and aversion in some cases.

However, while some have chosen to swim against the current and look at these innovative new businesses as the ones to take down, others have brought their organizations closer to innovation and growth, by standing right next to these promising startups.

But the big question is: how can startups and corporates work together?

The main goal here should be to create partnerships where both sides can benefit. Giuseppe Zocco, co-founder of Index Ventures, believes “big companies are lately waking up to the fact that their industries are disrupted by the innovations led by startups. Instead of thinking ‘some incumbents are gonna lose, some startups are gonna win’, startups should be seen as potential partners. Partners to create more value for your company, more value for the consumer, and for the whole industry.”

Corporate companies can and should partner up with startups and there are many ways to make it happen. They can be a customer of the startup’s product, and let that solution improve efficiency within their own organization and deliver a better experience, or they can create a partnership to provide a joint solution to their customers, for example.

But, even though some corporate managers realize the importance and opportunity to work with startups, most of them don’t know where to start.

At Beta-innovation, our innovation team within Beta-i, we have taken the commitment to bring the startup and corporate world together. We have introduced many of the startup methodologies and tools to big companies such as Airbus, Deloitte, Fosun, Fidelidade, Amorim and SIBS.

How? By giving insightful workshops and talks, and by developing together with some of these companies vertical accelerators that are key to bring new ideas to their industries, such as Deloitte Digital Disruptors (Insurance), Protechting by Fidelidade & Fosun (Insurance and Health),  Cork Challenge by Amorim Cork Ventures (Cork solutions), Smart Open Lisboa (Smart cities), SIBSPayForward (Payment solutions) or The Journey (Tourism).

So, in the end, the truth is that most corporates now look at startups not as threats but as opportunities, and we’re keen to keep helping both by bringing them closer.