Most believe that big corporations and startups are fundamentally opposed – in life-stage, in culture, and in attitude. This isn’t true.
Using platforms such as accelerator programmes, corporations and startups can actually engage in a mutually beneficial relationship that allows both parties to grow. Our friends Kris Barnes from L Marks have provided us detailed insight into the operations and benefits of these accelerator programmes.
One of the biggest questions right now is – how can big corporations cooperate with startups?
Are they just too far apart in stage, culture and attitude? Is it a zero-sum game?
The answer is no, the gap is not too wide.
The gap between these two cultures can be (and is) bridged by providing a platform to bring start ups and corporate businesses together. For example, effective accelerator programmes foster collaboration and engagement between corporate businesses and startups by providing mutually beneficial incentives.
By connecting these two, startups can gain access to valuable corporate connections which enables them to grow as well as validate their business (which is often more important than simply funding). These accelerator programmes give startups access to mentoring, funding and office space which enables them to focus on their products and grow their businesses effectively.
In turn, corporate businesses can tap into the disruptive, innovative world of startups which allow them to solve their real-time problems. This allows businesses to manage the disruption in their industry by these startups and innovate in areas such as customer service and experience, operations, employee engagement, knowledge/insight and access to new markets.
So how do accelerator programmes do this?
Well, L Marks helps corporate companies adapt and allows them to function in a similar way to startups. For instance, previously, we assisted the John Lewis IT department in becoming more agile and innovative by trailing new technology products created by startups – such as Localz. We also aided DPD, who were looking to innovate their business, by finding and investing in PIE Mapping.
More recently, we just launched a programme with Belron (parent company of Autoglass/Carglass) called Drive. This is a startup accelerator from Belron where they look to innovate in five areas:
- improving customer service and experience
- improving productivity and efficiency
- providing new services to their customers
- and engaging more with field employees.
Each programme is bespoke and solves real problems for corporate businesses while in turn helping startups validate, learn, grow, and find funding.
Corporate entities and startups do not have to be fundamentally opposed. By bringing these two parties together and allowing them to learn from each other, accelerator programmes such as those by L Marks, facilitate the creation of mutually beneficial relationships that ultimately may benefit the whole industry. It’s not a zero-sum game, it’s positive-sum.
Accelerators are one way that startups and corporates can work together, for a couple more have a look at our recent blog post.
By Kris Barnes. L Marks is a technology and startup investment fund specialising in corporate innovation, founded by tech entrepreneur Stuart Marks. Working with some of the UK’s biggest brands, L Marks run startup accelerator programmes across industry sectors, encouraging innovation, investing in startups and connecting startups with corporates and allowing big corporations to cooperate with startups.
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