For Startups: an Introduction to Industry Partnerships

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 a straightforward 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 about 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 to 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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