Daniel Saunders, chief executive of L Marks, corporate innovation specialists, highlights five observations that start-ups should brace themselves for ahead of partnering with a corporate.

1) Compromise – as a start-up, it will be necessary to adapt in order to collaborate with a corporate successfully. This may require pivoting the product to meet the needs of a corporate. None of this is a bad thing – it will allow for a more differentiated, well-rounded team and service.

2) Dedicate adequate resource – working with corporates (as with any type of client) can be demanding. It often requires travel to HQs outside of main cities and a lot of time spent in meetings – not to mention the actual delivery of the product or service. Make sure there’s enough people dedicated to the partnership from the start-up.

3) Timelines won’t be simple – remember that a project within a corporate organisation has lots of contributing stakeholders and departments, so going live or going to trial might not just be down to the capacity of the start-up and the immediate team surrounding the start-up at a corporate. Timelines might be disrupted by legal, compliance, procurement or PR departments and the business needs to be able to roll with it.

4) Relationship building is key – having a champion within the corporate will be really useful in helping progress. Building strong relationships with key stakeholders from the corporate will help with this. People will always want to work with people they like over those they don’t, it’s human nature.

5) The partnership will yield great results – partnering with the right corporate might be the best thing ever for the business. Getting the support and advocation of a leading brand in an industry speak volumes about the business and can be a valuable source of revenue.


L Marks is an early-stage investor and works with some of the world’s best-known brands, including BMW Group UK, Arsenal FC and EDF Energy to create bespoke partnerships for innovation.

For more information visit https://lmarks.com/


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