This is the first of two instalments of the Corporate-Startup series, covering the basics of engagement between the two—and how to innovate in a downturn. Stay tuned for the second, which focuses on the frustrations both sides find with working together, with some no-punches-pulled honesty.
As the innovation landscape is rapidly shifting, corporates, startups and VCs alike are rewriting the collaboration playbook to face the challenges ahead. As news of hiring freezes and budget cuts are becoming increasingly frequent, corporate innovation and corporate venture capital (CVC) leaders find themselves needing to build the case to justify the continuation of open innovation, scouting and CVC units. To stay ahead, tech entrepreneurs need to make a note of this and become laser focused on what makes them unique to help them become effective vendors, strategic partners, investees and acquirees.
In October this year, Andrea Kerwat and Bindi Karia hosted our first Corporate-Startup networking event at the Bankside Hotel in London. The goal was to convene founders and CEOs from our startup ecosystem with corporate innovation leaders for an intimate and informal discussion around the state of innovation in a downturn.
The event began with a panel discussion on the state of corporate innovation, followed by a ‘speed-dating’ networking session where corporate innovation leaders were matched up with founders and CEOs from our portfolio.
Here we recap the panel conversation moderated by Bindi. To encourage openness and honesty, the debate observed the Chatham House Rule and thus the contributions summarised below are not attributed to individual speakers.
What remains is a frank and punchy exchange of views from both sides of the table, as the panellists – hailing from both tech startups and corporates – discuss how best to work together and, crucially, how to navigate shifting innovation priorities in a downturn.