Startups originate from an idea that disrupts a enterprise status-quo… they are innovative and (hopefully) solving a real problem that could affect the bottom line for any of their customers. Startups exist for the simple reason that they have found a better way. Large enterprises have traditionally been seen as blobs that gobble startups up, steal startup talent or take them out of the game altogether. Yet startups and enterprises need each other and as RWW cutely phrased it, enterprises have evolved into startup ‘frenemies’. Here’s why:
1. You can’t remain a startup forever. If a startup truly is disruptive in a way that can help enterprises – then eventually they should want to partner. It’s all about changing the world, right? Making it better, faster, easier? So getting an enterprise partnership helps that mission.
2. Reliable Customers. Getting customers and distribution channels is hard work and the space is incredibly competitive. How do you stick out over all the other hundreds of startups who think they have a better answer? An enterprise partnership opens up doors to reliable and real customers. Even if another startup has a better idea, if you are secure in a partnership, you have the ability to integrate features down the road, to develop and grow. The key factor is you already have a foothold in the market.
3. The ability to adapt & grow. Landing an enterprise partnership can result in increased sales (e.g. revenue), distribution (e.g. customers), and new verticals. All of these help develop your product even further. Partnerships can offer a wealth of expertise and support to go that extra step. In other words – you can spend more of your time in development and less time chasing customers.
And let’s not forget that enterprises need startups too. They are in continual competition with their counterparts and need ingenuity and startup innovation to keep ahead of the race. Many enterprise companies see startups as so valuable that a whole bubble of incubators and accelerators have popped up to help foster startups.
At the end of the day, it’s a win win for both – but we’d love to hear your thoughts. Is partnering with an enterprise good for startup companies?