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It is the dawn of a new decade and the business world is gearing up for yet another transformative era. On a quest for your corporate transformation goals, you are likely to consider every tool at your disposal. Collaborating with start-ups can be an extremely effective way to unlock boundless opportunities and grow your market position.

We have discussed some of the most successful strategies for a mutually beneficial exchange with Carl Rodrigues, Founder of the start-up ecosystem platform Joining the Dots.

In this interview Rodrigues highlights:

  • The value in collaborating with emerging companies
  • How to chose the right model of collaboration that fits your needs
  • Best practices to foster good relationships with prospect collaborators

In today’s ever-changing business enrivonment, your organisation can strongly benefit from fostering connections within the start-up marketplace. To ensure the most successful strategy and reap the benefits of the emerging trends, Rodrigues suggests you select the collaboration model that best aligns with your desired outcome.

Depending on your individual needs and circumstances, you may opt for any of the following approaches, or even mix them together:

Corporate Accelerator Model 

The key to a successful corporate-start-up collaboration lies in the synergy between traditional business approaches and the out-of-the-box thinking typical of young, growth-driven companies. With this in mind, supporting early-stage start-ups through mentorship and financing can create optimal circumstances for the free exchange of actionable knowledge between your organisation and the start-up of your choice. Upon assessment of your own areas of improvement, you will be able to champion start-ups to help address one or several challenges within the scope of your desired objectives. 

Bespoke Model

In lieu of allocating resources to actively scout growth-driven companies, you might opt for an organic take on start-up acquisition. Networking and matchmaking have proven to be incredibly beneficial to this purpose. Rodrigues is confident that by pinpointing and vocalising a concrete (bespoke) corporate objective in a relevant ecosystem, you will inevitably attract the right start-up for the job.


A method defined by Rodrigues as a “combination of the two previous models”, scouting focuses on distinctly scoping out your risks and opportunities in the very early stages of your start-up collaboration. This in turn will provide start-ups with the opportunity to pinpoint tangible issues that are directly beneficial to your company’s ROI. It will be your responsibility to allocate the right resources early in the game, along with communicating concrete short, mid and long-term expectations.

Ensuring the Best Possible Outcome for Corporate-Startup Collaboration

Rodrigues firmly believes that inviting fresh innovative energy into your corporate environment can drive unprecedented results. The secret to a thriving and mutually beneficial partnership lies in providing the emerging company with the tools and structure necessary to channel its creative potential. 

Much like in any other entrepreneurial endeavour, fostering mutually beneficial relationships with a start-up begins with earning its trust. Besides focusing on establishing clear and timely communication from the early stages of the acquisition process, you should also acknowledge and compensate the enthusiasm shown by up-and-coming entrepreneurs. This is because start-ups will shy away from organisations not valuing their time in favour of those most likely to close a deal. 

In a new era of business, honesty and mutual respect are still the best policy. 

Data Leaders members can access the full interview and further discuss it with their peers. Interested in becoming a member? Get in touch.

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Laura Bineviciute


Make better informed decisions by assessing your data and analytics capability and use community intelligence to close the gap between strategy and execution.


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