Choosing the Right Startups for your Commercialization Program

21.05.2018
Adir Zimerman, CEO and Co-Founder at SCREEMO | Reading time: 3 min.
In a previous article, I concluded that commercialization programs are the best platform for cooperations between startups and corporates since it plays to the corporate strengths by giving access to their business units and creates a first mover advantage for the corporate running the program. In this article, I would like to take it to the next level and give you, as a corporate, some practical tips and best practices of how to select the startups to participate in your program. (If you are a startup executive, I would still recommend that you read this article in order to understand the corporate side of this selection process.) Here are 5 things to watch out for when you’re looking for startups to join the program:

Start with an end in mind

Survey the business units inside your organization - map the relevant business units and learn their needs and look for the business units that are open to adopting innovation in parallel to their day to day operations. Your program will probably have a few startups that will serve several different units, so the idea is to map all the business units in the organization that may need an innovative technology, and will be willing to adopt one. Once you have this list ready you can go in search of the relevant startups.

Check for the needs of your corporate networks and partners

Similarly to the point above; map the business units of your partners and network and understand their needs. Look for startups that solve their issues. This will create greater value for the program's startups and help to accelerate their growth beyond your organization’s boundaries. It will turn your organization into a central hub of innovation and strengthen the relationship with the organization’s partners while simultaneously creating an additional group of partner advocates who are incentivized to push and promote your program.  

Be aligned with the corporate goals and philosophy

Resource allocation always comes from the top so be aligned with your organization’s leadership and be sure that the program serves their interests to ensure you have their support. I know it sounds a bit obvious, but today more than ever it's so easy to be carried away and just follows the buzzwords or hype from the startup industry instead of acting according to your organization's needs i.e. looking for a blockchain startup when your organization needs an innovative marketing solution!

Can they sell?

Closing an enterprise sale is long and hard, and it’s twice as hard for an unknown startup with an unvalidated product. For this reason, there are certain traits and skills a founder and the founding team need to possess. Can the founder excite and entice people both within the corporate and within the network of corporate partners to want to become customers? Do they have the passion, sales techniques, and motivational skills to persuade others to buy? Having charisma is invaluable when you are unknown and reputation-less. Having the determination and shameless audacity or (“chutzpah” as we Israeli’s call it) to pitch and sell to anyone who’ll listen during the program is a necessary skill for survival.

Choose a startup that doesn’t really need you

Although it may sound counterintuitive, by choosing a startup and team that will do great without you, you are turning the corporate program into a tool for growth acceleration for the startup. If they already have the right product, team, and target market the corporate is just providing them with a few shortcuts and making it easier for them to carve their path to new customers within the organization or its network.

Conclusion

And with that, I conclude my series on why and how corporates and startups cooperating together can be an amazing means of growth for everyone involved. I’ve covered why corporates and startups win when they cooperate - the startup side and the corporate sidewhat is the best platform for this cooperationhow to choose the right corporate program for your startup and how to choose the right startups to participate in your corporate program. I hope that all the startups out there reading this find the right elephants and dance like no one’s watching and I hope that all the corporates see the true value of injecting innovation via startups into their organizations. Good luck! Please feel free to comment below and share.

Adir Zimerman is a multicultural entrepreneur and a keynote speaker. He is the co-founder and CEO of SCREEMO. By implementing a unique enterprise sales approach Adir grew SCREEMO into a global company operating in North America, Europe and APAC with fortune 500 companies including: Walmart, Coca-Cola, Microsoft and more.

Adir will be  giving a talk on the subject of this article on May 22 in Tel Aviv - you can sign up to attend here.