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Corporate Venturing

More and more large companies are investing in start-ups in order to be able to innovate themselves more quickly.

In 2019, one Belgian company out of 4 has already collaborated with a start-up.

Collaborating with startups...

“Corporate venturing is a qualified transformative Win-Win collaboration, which therefore benefits both parties.”

Large structures are making start-ups their new innovation pole. The current entrepreneurial landscape is characterised by creativity, disruption, new technologies and rapidly changing business models. Many start-ups and young scale-ups are at the root of this rather positive change in our economy. Collaborating with these start-ups is advantageous for the corporate world.

What are the advantages?

SMEs and large companies can innovate more quickly and renew their offer by collaborating with these young companies because they have more flexibility. Often large companies have certain processes and systems that are outdated because they still date back to decisions made in the past. Moreover, working with an innovative start-up also gives that company the opportunity to change its own corporate culture at an accelerated pace and make it more "agile".

The benefits also go in the other direction. Start-ups can accelerate their growth by strategically collaborating with established companies in our country. They learn a lot from their first long-term customers and can use the experience gained as a reference for new prospects.

The start-up can achieve a rapid increase in scale by working with an established name: the young company gains access to operational expertise, a broader network and new markets through the large company.

Corporate venturing is therefore a qualified transformative Win-Win collaboration, which benefits both parties.

Any risks?

If done well, the collaboration between the start-up and the established company can be transformative in a positive way. Both parties reduce their risks and can reinforce each other. But the cooperation must always aim at growth for both parties, otherwise it doesn't make sense.

While it is not always easy to work together successfully when two corporate cultures are very different, one must also be wary of partners who demand a kind of exclusivity. The start-up must still be able to collaborate with other, often competing companies, and must also be able to maintain its autonomy. On top of that, if the start-up also works with and for other companies, which also allows it to be part of an ecosystem and thus keep up with the ever-changing technology, as innovation and the main objective of this kind of collaboration.

More info

The authority in Belgium when it comes to Corporate Venturing, is Omar Mohout, Entrepreneurship Fellow @ Sirris. You can find more of his work here:

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