Now more than ever, corporates want to work with start-ups

82% of corporate brands view start-ups as "important" to their business strategies with focus on collaboration and partnerships...

More and more corporates now want to work with start-ups, particularly at the earlier stages, a report from accelerator programme MassChallenge has suggested.

The study, titled The State of Startup/Corporate Collaboration 2016, interviewed over 200 start-ups and over 100 corporates from across Europe – including Cisco and Microsoft – and highlighted a “fundamental mindset shift” in the relationships between new businesses and corporations.

82% of the corporates surveyed agreed that start-ups are now “somewhat important” to their strategies while 23% said interactions with start-ups were actually “mission critical”.

Interestingly, the research found that corporates are increasingly looking to work with start-ups in their infancy; 67% of corporates said they prefer to work with start-ups at earlier stages “to explore new technologies and business models.”

This focus on fostering corporate/start-up relationships is also shared by start-up businesses – 99% of start-up respondents said they had “some desire” to work with corporate brands with collaboration cited as they main priority.

While both corporates and start-ups were found to have shifted from the “us vs them” way of thinking, most of the corporates surveyed said their current attempts to work with start-ups were often underfunded and 25% did not know how much was spent on innovation models.

However, in a major report published by Nesta with media partner Startups.co.uk in June it was made clear that a number of corporate brands are investing heavily into working with, and collaborating with, start-ups.

The 25 corporate start-up stars identified in the report included Virgin, WPP, Unilever, and in the top spot; Cisco.

MassChallenge president, Mike LaRhette, commented:

“Because the start-up/corporate relationship is starting much earlier than it had previously, entrepreneurs are finding that they can uncover much more strategic value.

“More and more corporations are entering the brave new world of engaging with very young start-ups.”

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