What needs to be considered in startup-corporate collaboration?

More and more companies are entering into partnerships with startups, as the need to diversify their innovation “vehicles” increases. In these circumstances, the CEOs of both companies (startups and corporations) share the same strategic goals of growing their respective companies, increasing their competitive position, and, of course, generating revenue.

However, it is often pointed out that two companies of different sizes, cultures, and strengths present various potential pitfalls. In the process of negotiation and discussion, startup CEOs often find themselves talking not to corporate CEOs, but to employees further down the organizational hierarchy of the company. In business and positioning, this makes expectations even more difficult. Not to be missed, it is common to emerge from cultural clashes: agile versus waterfall. Different work ethics and different appetites for risk may, furthermore, get collaboration out of hand.

Although the benefits of collaboration differ for each party, the two are substantial enough to bring the two together and make them work out their differences.

For startups, revenue is often the main incentive, especially if the startup is at the seed stage. Corporations have the ability to invest large sums of money in partnerships. This additional capital can "free" startups from the need to seek outside investment, with the long-term interests of the corporation that can help startups reach a break-even point (BEP) or even earlier profits. Such an approach allows startups to grow in a sustainable manner.

However, you need to underline the important points that need to be considered if you want to carry out a strategic collaboration with a corporation.

1. Start small so that you can grow and develop properly

Considering that corporations are quite bureaucratic, the more funding startups need for their projects, the more stakeholders in the corporation that must be involved. Therefore, for every decision to be made, startups and companies must consider the cost and implementation time. The best method to use here is the pilot structure.

There are two stages in the pilot structure. The first is the piloting phase. In this stage, both parties decide what case to make the project for the first collaboration. The second stage is called the roll-out. Once the piloting phase is over and with the information gained from that phase, both parties can now promote piloting results on a larger scale. This is mandatory to convince more stakeholders, such as directors.

2. Try to find out where your put the resources you have available

Many startups may have promising presentations or official corporate websites that are given special effects, but most will not live up to their promises and vision. Good due diligence is always useful for knowing where a startup with the technology is — and which stage of development, which features are working, and which products — are ready to go into beta testing.

3. Involve people in strategic positions in the corporation in collaborative projects

It takes a big commitment from senior management to support the collaborative project. Without their support, projects rarely get the attention and support resources to make them happen.

4. Make decision faster

As mentioned in point 1, corporations tend to be bureaucratic. Startups, on the other hand, decide quickly and for the short term. The gap between their capacity to make decisions can be frustrating for startup CEOs as well as “annoying” for the company, at first. Ultimately, corporations must learn and reflect on how to be more agile in their decision-making processes, while startups must incorporate more process framework steps into their action plans so that both parties don't “eat” each other and can get what they want to achieve. since the beginning.


In today's fast-paced era, collaboration seems to be the ideal option for developing products with resource efficiency. In Indonesia, one of its applications can be seen clearly through innovative programs such as the Telkomsel Innovation Center (Tinc). Through the corporate incubator and accelerator program from Tinc, Telkomsel seeks to realize the development of a digital innovation ecosystem with piloting maturation supported by professionals and strategic experts in corporate organizations. In the end, this innovation “vehicle” is prepared for none other than the right technology for B2B and B2C commercialization.


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Posted by TINC Admin