Corporate accelerators are a link between corporations and startup companies that provide benefits to both sides. Corporations who participate in business accelerators gain new, exciting innovation, growth within their market, new market opportunities and a rejuvenation of their company culture thanks to the startup collaboration. Startups, in turn, receive resources to drive their company forward, credibility from being associated with a large, well known brand and the invaluable networking and supply chain resources that the corporation brings to the collaboration. The upsides for both startup and corporation are endless if a good strategy is employed for structuring the collaboration program.
A corporation must decide to take advantage of the merits associated with beginning an accelerator initiative and has had the benefit of working with UBI Global on a hackathon or other event to find suitable candidates to collaborate with. UBI Global has an intimate understanding of business startups as well as corporate cultures and goals, and our team excels at matching corporations with suitable startups for successful collaborative efforts. In this informative article, we will discuss the four steps the corporation must outline for the collaboration to be successful.
By defining the program, the corporation creates a framework for the relationship between startup and company. The number one goal in creating the framework is to consider value for both sides. By answering the following questions, the corporation will have a clearer view of the framework to proceed on to the next step:
- What is our intention? Which goal or goals will the collaboration help the corporation meet? Should we open the door to new goals?
- How do we align our goals with the startup’s requirements? The startup, whether it is early, mid or late in the development stage, has a set of goals as well. These goals require resources; what are they?
- What is the financial impact? How much funding will be required and is the corporation gaining an equity stake in the startup? What model of equity will be realized?
- Is our scope narrow or broad? How many ideas do we want to explore – focus on a specific goal or problem or on a broad scope of innovation?
Once the program is defined and a framework is created, the next step is to design the rest of the innovation cycle, from beginning to graduation. A three-month time span should be the goal, as UBI Global has found this period is the most successful for both startup and corporation. Short time spans increase the focus and concentrate the company resources, leading to faster growth and success.
After the time span has been decided, a complete curriculum should be structured following a process that both corporation and startup can work with. This curriculum should be loose enough to allow for creativity yet sufficient enough to satisfy the corporation’s current process and agenda. It is critical to meet the startup’s needs to keep the focus on innovation, however, so the curriculum should keep this as a goal.
Training is the next step in the program design, with considerable time spent focusing on market validation for the product or services being developed during the collaboration. The goal is to train the teams involved in the program what the phases of the program are, i.e. the curriculum and goals.
The now fleshed-out framework is ready for some manpower; it’s time to involve the right people from both inside and outside the company. This will combine the fresh perspective of the startup with the tried-and-true business knowledge possessed by the corporation. Mentoring and education of startups by corporations during the program’s various phases are critical to success.
It is also of vital importance to have executive buy-in for the accelerator collaboration. A CEO’s involvement increases internal support for the program and gets other executives involved, keeping conflicts to a minimum.
Regular assessments of the program’s progress should be scheduled and face-to-face meetings between the different teams should be held on a regular basis for progress reports, any concerns or any successes. While startups thrive in autonomous environments, it’s absolutely necessary to involve the corporation resources and credibility for a successful program graduation.
Toward the end of the successful business accelerator program, an alumni program should be developed to continue the collaboration and create a positive group dynamic.
Effective corporate collaboration with startup companies foster innovation for the corporation while offering support and value to startups. UBI Global has many successful years matching corporate goals and objectives with startup ventures, creating a solid foundation for a successful collaboration program. Our staff is ready to guide you on the first steps toward a successful partnership.