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Keeping an eye on the world’s new innovation hotspots

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Keeping an eye on the world’s new innovation hotspots

Innovation can happen anywhere. More and more, industry is realizing that technology scouting must be global in order to be effective.

High tech innovation: New hotspots on the map

Traditionally, high tech innovation was concentrated in a few select locations around world. Prominent innovation centers attract ambitious people and organizations, leading to a concentration of manpower and resources. Silicon Valley, Boston, and Israel are known as hot spots for all kinds of high tech innovation.

However, for corporations in deep tech industries, San Francisco or Boston are no longer the last top on the search for high tech patents and startups. Open innovation leaders need to seek cutting edge tech wherever it can be found. Today, that means going to new cities and countries where they have no prior relationships and little sense of the technology landscape.

Today, corporations need to know about technologies that are being developed in many different cities around the world – at least ten cities for some industries, and upwards of 30 for others.

How global is innovation?

A recent report from the research organization Startup Genome profiles the leading innovation ecosystems in today’s changing innovation landscape.

The report touches on many of the deep tech industries most important to seedsprint users: artificial intelligence, robotics and advanced manufacturing, agtech and food science, cleantech, and life sciences.

For the artificial intelligence/big data sector, there are 28 cities where artificial intelligence innovation is concentrated. Of these, 13 are in the United States or Canada, seven are in Europe, and and eight are in Asia.

Life sciences innovation can be found in diverse places as well, with many Canadian and US cities in play (including Tampa Bay, Florida and Phoenix), as well as numerous cities in Europe (Barcelona, Greater Helsinki) and Asia (Taipei, Hong Kong).

Blockchain is booming in North America, Europe, and Asia – with the most innovation happening Europe, and some of it concentrated in smaller cities cities such as Gibraltar and Zug.

30 cities in a year?

Every corporation that is serious about open innovation needs to have a foothold in North America Europe, and Asia.

Yet Startup Genome’s report shows that in addition to spanning multiple continents, corporations need to make sure they have access to innovation coming out of smaller cities.

Today, corporations need to know about technologies that are being developed in many different cities around the world – at least ten cities for some industries, and upwards of 30 for others.

This doesn’t mean visiting 30 cities in a year, however. A skilled tech scout knows where to find global communities that draw the best and brightest from cities all over the world. These include leading conferences, industry groups, accelerators and incubators, and online communities.

For our part, seedsprint is focused on bringing this global ecosystem online, enabling discovery and initial due diligence for tech scouts. We bring the leading deep tech startups and technologies from the world’s research hot spots onto one searchable platform, so that tech scouts can contact the world’s best and brightest from anywhere, at any time. (That’s a must-have in this global technology landscape.)

 

(Interested in learning more about innovation hotspots? Read about the trend of innovation districts.)

To learn more about the seedsprint community, sign up for a free trial.

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Agtech innovation trends and examples from seedsprint

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Among the many innovations in the agricultural sector, there are some especially fascinating case studies in biologicals, automation and drones. Read about some of the seedsprint technologies and startups that are defining the future of this vital industry.

Spotlight: Biologicals for Agriculture

Biologicals are a unique group of crop protection and fertilizer products. Unlike traditional herbicides and fertilizes, biologicals are naturally occurring substances that act as pesticides, herbicides, and biostimulants.

TechCrunch reports that consumer pressures are among the factors encouraging enterprise companies in the agriculture space to explore naturally occurring solutions for crop management. There are two main types of biologicals: microbials (living organisms) and biochemicals (naturally occurring compounds.)

A the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, researchers have devised a new means of controlling plant mites and powdery mildew with fungi. By applying the fungi to growing crops, it turns out that it’s possible to increase yields for cucumber, grapes and citrus without the use of chemicals.

The university’s commercialization team, Yissum, sizes the market for such fungal microbials at $128 million. (Make a seedsprint account to message Yissum and other universities.)

Mutually beneficial interactions between plants occur often in nature, such as mycorrhizae fungi that live near root systems and help plants absorb nutrients. Engineering new relationships is tricky, but might save some heartache in the ERA of conscious consumption.

Spotlight: Automation, Robotics and Drones

Enter agtech startup AGROBOT. The eponymous autonomous machine is designed for one task: picking strawberries. AGROBOT rolls through a strawberry field, straddling multiple rows, sensing strawberries and picking them with tiny clippers. While the rapid, dexterous strawberry-picking done by humans can’t be replicated exactly, AGROBOT is getting closer and closer to human abilities.

Robotics companies can also tackle the problem of crop protection. Startup Blue River creates robots that use advanced sensors, computer vision, and machine learning technology to rapidly assess the needs of individual plants and spray them with herbicides. This approach can reduce the overall volume of herbicides that needs to be sprayed in a given field.

(You can reach out to AGROBOT and Blue River directly on seedsprint.)

Far above ground level, drones are also finding their niche in agriculture. Potential agtech applications include mapping vegetation and elevation (Thanos), multispectral image analysis (Airinov), and crop analysis (American Robotics).

Agtech robotics is promising because advanced in machine learning and robotics are often complimentary. This means that larger companies with the budget for acquisition may decide to mix and match startups and technologies – yielding the ultimate the ultimate smart agriculture solution.

Want to get in touch innovative technologies and startups in agriculture and beyond? Request an industry demo of the seedsprint platform.

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Open innovation tips from Accenture: the future is digital

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Accenture recently put together a small library of case studies from innovation leaders like Bosch, Huawei, and Ford. Accenture’s research confirms that open innovation best practices are still in flux.

One key lesson stands out, however: digital networks can play an essential role in expanding the capabilities of corporate open innovation teams.

Building a network of technology providers from scratch is difficult. That’s why so many open innovation professionals rely on their own university networks or local institutions for leads.

Accenture shows us how innovative companies like Bosch and Ford are breaking out of this mold.

Let’s explore how Ford and Bosch are saving resources by tapping into a digital network of universities, startups and labs.

Ford and Bosch embrace digital tools for open innovation, transforming the way their companies source and vet new ideas.

The Bosch open innovation strategy

Accenture describes how Bosch was able to leverage an existing digital network of technology providers (startups, university researchers) to source promising technology solutions.

Bosch hired a third party service provider, similar to the seedsprint community, to run an online competition for a new energy storage technology.

Innovators from the service provider’s network submitted ideas for review via an online portal. The service provider tapped into an existing digital network of their own creation, disseminating Bosch’s tech call for energy storage technology far and wide.

Bosch chose to tap a service provider’s existing network to reach a larger number of relevant research labs and technology transfer professionals – thereby allowing Bosch employees to focus on technical priorities, such as vetting the submissions they received.

Ford: An open innovation lightbulb moment

Ford is another example of a company that found success with a digital community.

Finding new partners and maintaining relationships is extremely time-consuming. Ford was able to draw technology providers in by offering an exciting resource: 19 machine-readable datasets from Ford vehicles. Ford had a lightbulb moment when they realized that could create an online community based around access to this valuable data, which would attract hardware and software developers and create an engaged pool of innovators.

Ford saved time and resources with their digital community. According to Accenture, Ford’s approach “required fewer dedicated resources than were necessary to maintain partnerships with individual researchers from universities, research laboratories or start-ups.”

Outcomes and takeaways: Bosch and Ford

Bosch and Ford show how digital communities can extend a company’s reach.

Without a digital network of technology providers, Bosch would have likely needed to invest many hours building a list of potential partners and sending their tech call to them directly, wasting valuable time and resources.

Similarly, Ford tapped into a lively digital community for its open innovation needs. When they had specific technical problems, they released them to the community via tech calls or “contests” – leading to several Ford pilots and incubated projects.

These successes illustrate the potential for digital transformation in the open innovation space.

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A new generation of AI startups is shaking up legacy industries

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Some economists are arguing that the machine learning revolution is off slow start – but that we’re about to see a major acceleration.

In a recent report, economists from the National Bureau of Economic Research liken artificial intelligence to electricity. They argue that electricity didn’t transform legacy industries until a quarter century after the core technologies were first developed – and that’s exactly what we should expect for AI.

While artificial intelligence has been in development for years, it seems to be finally making a major impact on legacy industries. We are at an inflection point for machine learning and AI, thanks to decades of incubation and development in the IT sector and an influx of new talent.

The startup world illustrates this point clearly. A new generation of deep tech startups is emerging that demonstrates exactly how far AI has come. These teams are bringing AI into the C-Suite by leveraging “task-specific” machine learning to transform non-software industries, from hospitality to HVAC.

It’s time for major legacy industries to invest in these technologies – such as the many startups profiled on seedsprint.

Robots for room service

Logistics and hospitality are two legacy industries where AI has been slow to change business as usual. However, new AI startups are shaking things up.

The AI startup Exyn is accelerating the evolution of autonomous aerial vehicles for logistics and surveillance. The startup is developing advanced computer vision and onboard processing capabilities for drones that allow aerial vehicles to react to information in real time.

Exyn’s drones are able to take scheduled inventory in a warehouse without being told to do so. The can find structural construction flaws based on an architectural 3D model, and they can even map out hidden mines that pose risks to humans on the ground.

In the hospitality industry, the Savioke has a Robot call Relay that performs deliveries in hotels, apartments, and large company buildings. Relay uses AI to navigate the halls and elevators of hotels, making deliveries and performing other tasks traditionally left to hotel employees. Savioke recently raised a $13M Series B and is actively searching for industry partners.

Waste management and energy efficiency

In popular culture, artificial intelligence often works to destroy humanity – but some AI can help humans preserve and protect life on earth. That’s where CleanRobotics is making its mark.

Contaminated or hopelessly mixed-up recyclables present a major problem for recycling facilities. The CleanRobotics Trashbot™ can sort trash effectively, potentially increasing the volume of recoverable recyclables by a significant factor and reducing the volume of material that must be landfilled.

Artificial intelligence can also help boost energy efficiency, a notoriously difficult problem for building managers. In the built environment, the startup Leanheat works to put “brains” in apartment buildings by integrating AI with central air systems to optimize HVAC energy use. Buildings enhanced with Leanheat sensors and analytics can knock one fifth off their energy bills, according to the company.

Smart stuff everywhere

Machine learning has applications in every industry. If a process hasn’t changed for a few decades, it’s likely you can find a startup trying to jumpstart it with AI.

A few more examples from the seedsprint network:

• Deep Genomics and Recursion Pharmaceuticals each produce AI that guides drug development for tenacious diseases.

• Netradyne uses AI to put more eyes on the road: they develop a system that analyzes traffic in real time for its host vehicle in order to identify unsafe traffic situations and alert the driver.

• Optoss provides a universal platform for active data monitoring, giving alerts about and even responding to perceive irregularities.

• Gastrograph is developing taste and smell analytics for food product design and marketing.

AI has hit a turning point, and the application seem limitless. Companies looking to obtain a technological edge should consider partnering with this generation of AI startups.

Are you an open innovation professional looking to connect with AI startups and researchers? Request an industry demo of the seedsprint platform.

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INTRODUCTION TO INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND RESEARCH INSTITUTIONS

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For a private citizen inventor, intellectual property management can be a challenge – and an expensive one.

Fortunately, inventors and research institutions have technology transfer staff to help guide them.

Inventors at universities and other institutions need to know the basics about intellectual property management in order to work with technology transfer staff and protect their inventions.

The Basics: Intellectual Property and Research Institutions

A. Invention disclosures

Research institutions encourage faculty and students to share new discoveries via an “invention disclosure” form. Researchers are asked to summarize the invention, and often to suggest potential commercial applications. In the United States, the norms for this process were established after the passage of the Bayh-Dole Act.

The process for submitting invention disclosures varies by institution. The document is held in confidence by the technology transfer professional who receives it.

Technology transfer staff use invention disclosures to assess whether the discovery had commercial potential, and to inform patent prosecution.

B. Patent prosecution

If an invention has market potential, the next step may be to begin pursuing a patent. A technology transfer office typically guides this process, which can be complex. A patent is a set of exclusive rights that patent owners are granted, based on the sharing of information about an invention.

Ownership of intellectual property varies case by case and depends on the employment status of the researcher, use of the institution’s resources in the research, prior agreements, the source of funding for the research, and other factors.

The technology’s licensee will often contribute monetary resources to help secure patents.

Interested in viewing large enterprise partners that are seeking patented technologies? Sign up for a free seedsprint account.

C. Copyright registration

Certain types of inventions, especially software, may be eligible for copyrights rather than patents. Books, video, and software code are all candidates for copyright protection.

D. Licensing

Technology developed at research institutions is usually transferred to a third party using a licensing agreement. The third party may be granted exclusive or non-exclusive rights to a technology. The most common licensees for university technologies are established companies or new startups.

Sometimes, researchers will make arrangements to leave their institutions or adjust their workload in order to become a founder of a new startup based on the technology they invented.

E. Commercialization

Commercialization is the journey that a technology takes from the lab (or garage) to the market. The process often invovles assessing real-world applications, brainstorming products and potential paths to market, designing products, conducting pilots and tests, and securing sales and distribution channels. The licensee may wish to work with the inventor to assist with the commcercialization process.

Interested in licensing technology or exploring market applications for your technology? Learn more about the free seedsprint community.

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HOW TO ASK FOR THE INDUSTRY PARTNERSHIPS YOU WANT AS A STARTUP

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“It’s a tedious process to get the licensing deals and get yourself up and running.” – Daniel Strohmayr, CEO of material startup Tacterion

As you begin to pursue industry partnerships you quickly learn that finding the right collaboration partner can be tedious.

Whether your startup seeks licensing, acquisition, or joint product development, finding good partner candidates is often time-consuming and frustrating.

The good news? You can make a difference by tweaking how you communicate to potential partners.

Industry technology scouts report that lack of transparency about partnership desire and goals, on the part of young startups, is often a barrier to communication.

Learning to be more transparent – without going too far – is essential for startups seeking industry partners.

Be honest – and bold – about your needs

As a startup, you have something amazing to offer.

If your needs align with the partner company’s needs, a great relationship can blossom.

Industry innovation teams are bombarded with partnership requests. Stand out by listing your company’s partnership needs. At Seedsprint, we call these “collaboration goals.” Startups should make a list of active collaboration goals and update it regularly.

Startups should make a list of partner needs ("collaboration goals") and update it regularly.

Don’t let the list gather dust! Sharing collaboration goals in interactions, in interviews, and in your online presence will help get the word out to potential partners.

Simple phrasing is key to getting a tech scout’s attention. The Seedsprint platform guides startups and technical teams on how to use standard language that a corporate tech scout will understand – see below for a few examples.

Some examples of startup collaboration goals:

• De-risking
• Licensing
• Production prototypes
• Product validation
• Pilot production
• Technology and equipment
• Bridge funding
• Customer introductions
• Joint-development projects
• Access to test equipment and testing facilities
• Feedback on bill of materials, subassembly, etc
• Acquisition

This list is industry-agnostic and your startup likely has unique needs. Feel free to get specific – while maintaining a healthy level of discretion. See next:

The fine line between sharing and oversharing

Industry partnerships can be invaluable for an emerging technology company. However, don’t say anything sensitive before all parties sign an NDA.

There’s a big difference between saying you are open to joint development projects and saying that without one, your company won’t last the year.

Learning how to navigate that fine line between sharing and oversharing will put your company in the collabroation sweet spot: where you are open enough to interest partners, but discrete enough to protect your team.

Once you master this, you will be ready to start meeting industry tech scouts. Happy networking!

 

Interested in telling your startup’s story and messaging with industry partners? Seedsprint is free for science-based innovation teams.

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DNA SEQUENCING AND A NEW GENERATION OF BIOTECH AND GENETICS STARTUPS

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Many emerging biotech and genetics startups are amking use of new DNA sequencing (also called Next Generation Sequencing) technologies. These much-hyped advances in sequencing make it cheaper than ever to understand human and animal genomes – opening up many new possibilities for entrepreneurship.

This week, we added startups from University of California-affiliated QB3 to Seedsprint that use this new technology. These startups draw on the vast research resources of the UC system to solve some of the thorniest problems in the life sciences – including cancer treament and personalized medicine.

Today’s new generation of genetics startups illustrates the momentum in this branch of biotech.

DNA sequencing and living organisms

Why get granular with DNA? DNA sequencing can help identify targets for new therapies, fixing medical problems that have been challenging scientists for decades.

Targeted therapies are part of the active field of precision medicine, where insight into an individual’s genes and proteins helps prevent, treat, and diagnose diseases.

When scientists sequence a genome, they “mine” it to find out what’s going on – and going wrong – inside the body, and how different therapies could affect an organism’s health.

Democratizing diagnoses

The impact for humans is potentially vast, and covers conditions from acne to thyroid problems to cancer.

One fascinating new startup that’s riding the wave of DNA sequencing is BillionToOne. BillionToOne targets a global market of expectant parents. The company can help predict “serious genetic defects” in fetuses with a noninvasive maternal blood test – made possible by new DNA sequencing methods. The company’s founders want to reaplce the current industry standard process, amniocentesis, which carries a risk of miscarriage.

BillionToOne wants to pass down the lower costs of DNA sequencing to prospective new parents – by replacing an expensive, risky treatment with an affordable, safer alternative.

Skin and the science of inflammation

New technologies allow scientists to ask new questions. One example: Is hand sanitizer causing peanut allergies?

AOBiome doesn’t claim such a straightforward relationship – but they do argue that the increasingly sterile environment in developed countries is impacting “our inflammatory system’s ability to appropriately react to self vs. non-self,” leading to more allergies, acne, and other kinds of inflammation.

New knowledge of the “skin microbiome” is empowering startups like AOBiome to invent new biological therapies for the treatment of inflammation.

Another skin-focused startup, Naked Biomeis also using DNA sequencing tools to learn more about the skin microbiome and treat acne and other problems.

Their team writes:

"Naked Biome’s ability to expand our database and advance clinical discoveries in human health is driven by [sic] rapidly decreasing sequencing costs and readily accessible skin samples."

Sign in to Seedsprint to learn about Naked Biome’s technology and industry collaboration goals.

Like cats and dogs

With so much new data to be gathered, scientific reseach and product development sometimes go hand in hand.

Animal Biome has launched a product to analyze the gut bacteria of pets (cats and dogs). With Animal Biome, pet owners send in a stool sample. In return, the company uses DNA sequencing to analyze and benchmark the animal’s health against other sick and healthy pets, and hopes to offer targeted therapies based on the results.

The foundational research is ongoing, say the company founders:

"We are applying what we learn from your dog or cat’s sample to identify and develop solutions to digestive disorders. Your cat or dog’s sample could provide the missing link we are searching for."

Are you interested in connecting with new biotech and genetics startups for joint developing, licensing, or acquisition?

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TOUGH CHALLENGES AND REAL SOLUTIONS FOR HARDWARE STARTUPS

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Hardware startups grow differently than software-only startups. But when founders take advantage of new resources, we believe that hardware startups can claim their rightful place among the most successful tech companies in the world.

The hardware narrative

Everyone knows about the Meteoric rise of Lyft and Spotify. Software – and particularly consumer-facing apps – have an edge in venture capital, in that it is easier for them to model growth and promise quick returns. (Time goes on the X axis, and app store downloads go on the Y axis – and boom, a compelling pitch.)

Deep technology/hardware startups are different. These startups attack some of the hardest problems in tech: breakthroughs in engineering, computer science, biotech, and other disciplines. The complexity of working in the physical world means there is a greater need for upfront investment, and less flexibility around product/market fit.

A quick list of the challenges hardware startups tend to face:

  • Navigating complex regulations
  • The need for expensive equipment and other investments
  • Challenge of disrupting capital-intensive industries
  • Long gestation periods (length of time required to prototype and test)
  • The need to hire talent with specialized skills

All told, these factors can make it more challenging for hardware startups to get venture capital dollars in the door. These challenges make hardware startups a bigger risk for investors and raise the spectre of the “valley of death.”

SHardware, better, faster, stronger

But what do entrepreneurs do when they face challenges? They innovate.

Today’s hardware startups have new resources at their fingertips for protyping, funding, and networking. These new resources are setting the hardware startup community up for success, despite the struggles of the hardware world.

Here are some of the resources that leading hardware startups can take advantage of as they finetune their tech – and sail carefree over the “valley of death.”

  • Agile design processes. New tools for hardware design are making startups more like software companies. Additive manufacturing and new design tools can make it easier to iterate on a product design and reduce complexity of prototyping.
  • Use visuals to tell your story. One huge advantage that hardware companies have over software companies is the visual nature of a hardware pitch. Make a video that shows someone using your product. Hardware has a visual nature that makes your startup more compelling to journalists (email them your video), investors and partners (show them your video on Seedsprint), and potential crowdfunding audiences (like this $20m fundraise for a smart watch).
  • Tap into local institutions for in-kind resources like space and equipment. Universities and cities often provide venture support services for faculty startups or entrepreneurs who want to license university IP. These services might include access to makerspaces and manufacturing equipment. Some metropolitan areas are even starting to do the same – for example, New York City’s initiative Futureworks Shops grants entrepreneurs access to advanced manufacturing facilities in the city.
  • Seek out active communities of makers. Hardware geeks love to gather. What’s more fun that showing off something you built from scratch, or discussing the newest 3D printing tools with fellow hardware enthusiasts? Meetup groups, local makerspaces, and gatherings like Maker Faire are a great place to find talent.
  • Find a specialized accelerator to boost growth. HAX (below), EnterpriseWorks, CicadaCITRIS Foundry, and others like them can be an excellent resource for networking and expert guidance.
  • Travel to get further, faster. Sometimes, an accelerator program that’s far from your home base could pay off. We find the HAX model to be very compelling. The accelerator takes promising hardware startups from all over the world and incubates them in Shenzen, China to bring entrepeneurs closer to potential factories and reduce the cost of product development.
  • Partnerships with large enterprise – including software companies. On the day that Google acquired Nest, everyone in the hardware community took a step back to reassess who their potential partners were. Overall, partnerships can make or break your hardware startup – so keep an open mind. You can use Seedsprint to see which big companies are interested in what you’re doing. We agree with TechCrunch that “Open innovation models that support startups to refine, validate and commercialize their technologies can be the spark to a future ablaze with possibility.”

Interested in finding new partners to help take your hardware startup to the next level? List your startup for free on Seedsprint.

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THE INTRODUCTION: HOW STARTUPS CAN MEET INDUSTRY PARTNERS

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There are many ways for startups to meet industry partners. New startups quickly learn that the process can be delightfully serendipitous.

For example: one seedsprint member met a vice president from a leading company at his daughter’s birthday party. Another corporate tech scout met a stellar startup founder in an elevator on the last day of a conference, after three days of dead-end meetings.

However, the “serendipitous” nature of startup-corporate meet-cutes can provoke anxiety. No one wants to leave the future of their startup to chance.

There are a few ways that startups can increase the chance of connecting with an industry advocate. These are awards and competitions, incubators, and events.

Awards and competitions

Competitions and awards can be a large investment of time and money, but payoffs can also be significant. High profile competitions can provide validation if a startup is nominated as a finalist, as well as free marketing. Finalists are often publicized on the organization’s website, in a press release, and on social media – all of which reach a corporate audience.

However, the applications can be time-consuming. Startups should review award applications and estimate how much time it will realistically take. Additionally, startups should review lists of past winners to see if there is a likely fit.

Incubators and accelerators

An incubator or accelerator is likely to have many existing industry relationships and will be able to provide coveted “warm introductions” to both industry partners and traditional investors. (Incubators and accelerators on seedsprint can even use the platform to find new corporate partners, benefiting their cohorts.)

There can be a lot of value in warm introductions through an accelerator – but there is someitmes an equity stake involved, so careful assessment is required before joining one of these programs.

High-visibility events

Trade shows and other events can be a very good place to meet tech scouts face to face. The best events will be full of startups and universities innovating in your area. Technology scouts often have a very targeted focus, and the more specific the event, the more likely that high quality tech scouts will be present. High density events like CES in Las Vegas are also full of potential, but industry representatives may be harder to isolate amid the crowds.

As with award, cost is a concern, so due dilligence is essential. Startups should ask mentors and peers if an event has a good industry presence. Be sure to check the event sponsors for a sense of what type of company is likely to attend.

Online Profiles

When a potential partner learns about you through these channels, they will want to do all the research they can to make sure a partnership conversation is worth their time. Startups need to keep their online presence up to date, including company websites, seedsprint profile, and LinkedIn profiles.

Interested in building your seedsprint profile?

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FOR STARTUPS: AN INTRODUCTION TO INDUSTRY PARTNERSHIPS

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Interested in industry partnerships for science-based startups? Read on for tips about partnerships written for first-time startup founders.

Who manages industry partnerships?

Most often, startups work with technology scouts in order to forge a partnership.

Technology scouts are the drivers of open innovation for their firms. Many firms are seeking to increase R&D productivity, and tech scouts help them do so by building relationships outside the firm.

A tech scout might have an obvious title like “Corporate Technology Scout” or “Senior Technology Scout.” At some firms, a technology scout may have another role as well, dividing their time between business development and tech scouting, or tech scouting and internal R&D.

For smaller enterprise, open innovation may be entirely new and the title tech scout may not be used at all.

Deciding what you need from a partnership

For an industry partnership to really pay off, it needs to work for both sides. The first step is deciding what you need from a partner.

First, you need to work out the broad areas of your development plan and what partnership can help you achieve your goals. Joint development, contract manufacturing and licensing some common partnership types, though each partnership is unique. (Learn more about partnership types and the technology scouting process.)

Next, pencil out your development tasks. Do you need to do more testing? Get your technology into a product? Produce a product at scale? Industry tech scouts want to know what goals they can help you achieve with resources like equipment, consultants, or a lease. Remember to think about intangibles that you need for growth, not just physical equipment or services. These include customer relationships, regulatory knowledge, scale-up insights and so forth.

Learning what potential industry partnerships can offer

You don’t want to put in time and effort courting a partner who doesn’t have the right resources on offer.

Many startups can produce long list of potential industry partners in twenty minutes. The trick is to reach out in the right way – by focusing on companies that are a match for your specific needs.

Many companies have open innovation pages on their websites. Companies that are interested in partnering with startups are usually open about their areas of interests, target markets, and key innovation resources. If you don’t want to go from site to site all day, you can also log into seedsprint to see all these resources in one place.

Networking with potential partners

For more information about how to connect with tech scouts, check out our recent post on the subject. seedsprint lets you search for and message tech scouts that are looking for startup partners.

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