Industry partners can accelerate market entry for technology startups.
Unlike a venture capital raise, industry partnerships offer in-kind resources: commercial scale-up experience, knowledge of the industry or market, regulatory expertise, access to critical first customer relationships – the list goes on.
If you are a deep tech startup, you may not need any convincing about the benefits of industry collaboration – you want to know how to find the right partner and negotiate a good deal.
Here are five important things to do that can help you impress industry tech scouts and forge that make-or-break partnership.
1. Make a partner profile
Tech scouts are often bombarded with technology offerings and exciting new inventions.
If you send them another densely written, five-page technology and business description, with ten pages of back-up slides, it may not have the desired effect. We’re heard this complaint from tech scouts many times – that’s why seedsprint helps startups build tech scout-friendly partner profiles that you can send to tech scouts in our database.
Be merciless with editing text. Make your message lean and mean and get it on one page – two max! No one has the time to read through lots of text, especially if they’re not yet sure about the potential fit.
Stick to bullet points whenever possible and make liberal use of tables, graphs and images.
2. Convey your value
The most effective way to get a tech scout’s attention is to give them specific examples of how your technology provides unique value over existing solutions.
Use an attention grabber – a simple statement that impresses and supports why your technology/company deserves a deeper look. Within the constraints of non-confidential information, don’t be afraid to get technical about what makes your technology so valuable and unique.
3. Stay one step ahead
As soon as a tech scout becomes interested in your technology, they will want to know if there are any “dealbreakers” that make working with you impossible.
Get every potential roadblock out in the open. Some tech scouts only work with technologies at a certain development stage, so share details like proof-of-concepts, lab results, and other market-readiness.
Note any regulatory requirements that need to be met, if any, to bring your technology to market.
State achieved milestones nice and loud, including any funding or awards received and any important publications. They are great proof of your commitment and help validate your concept and business model. Boast a little – it’s part of the fun.
4. Protect your IP
Trust is a very important part of every successful partnership, but at the same time you need to make sure that your IP is properly protected. Although you might want to get into granular detail about why your technology is so disruptive, never divulge anything you wouldn’t want a competitor to know.
Never disclose any confidential information before your prospective partner signs an NDA.
If you’re affiliated with an institution, ask the Technology Transfer Office if they have a ready-to-go form, or use our free two-way NDA.
5. Be strategic with outreach
Tech scouts come in all stripes, but it is often very hard to get in touch with them. Use any common point of connection you have, shared contacts via LinkedIn, industry associations, academic connections and so forth. seedsprint is a free online tool for emerging technologies that allows your organization to make a private profile and message technology scouts directly.
Any questions about how seedsprint can help you forge great industry partnerships? Just drop us a note or sign up below.