Collaboration, Not Competition, is the Key to Delivering Value to Customers
Ravi NarayanGlobal Director, Microsoft Startup Growth Partners
Rapid changes in the technology space have brought sweeping changes to the business landscape for enterprises all around the world. Each new day gives rise to new ideas which transform the way businesses are run and impact millions of lives. One of the primary reasons for this disruption are startups, which have turned out to be a key source of innovation.
Today, with the help of technology, executives can make better decisions using data analytics models, doctors and scientists can diagnose and treat patients better, and the average every day person does not need to depend on select modes of transportation because they can get a car service with a tap on the screen. Therefore, those who can adapt to, and adopt the everchanging economics of the world, are the ones who can have a chance of a prolonged existence in the market.
Startups, Enterprises and Innovation
Enterprises find it difficult to keep pace with the rate of growth of innovation today. Due to the sheer size of business, being agile on a large scale is not easy for them. There is a solution some of them can leverage to stay ahead of curve; however, most enterprises cannot afford to rely on startups to match their scale, and therefore most startups never make it to having these enterprises as clients.
Today, it is not competition, but cooperation that holds the key to their future, and now the ecosystem has matured enough to form a symbiotic startup-enterprise relationship.
Because of these dynamics, startups and enterprises have been viewed as two worlds that could never meet. Today, it is not competition, but cooperation that holds the key to their future, and now the ecosystem has matured enough to form a symbiotic startup-enterprise relationship.
MSGP’s Corporate-Startup Partnership Program
Microsoft is working to create a platform to bridge this gap. For almost four decades, Microsoft has been a trusted advisor and partner to businesses worldwide, from enterprises to startups. In the last five years, Microsoft, as Microsoft Startup Growth Partners (MSGP) with its accelerators in the largest startup ecosystems around the world – Seattle, London, Berlin, Tel Aviv, Bangalore, Beijing and Shanghai â€“ has been developing a strong relationship with startups, helping them to become more enterprise ready. Naturally, the next step for us was to take these startups to forward-thinking enterprises worldwide and facilitate conversations that will help them to innovate more quickly. With Microsoft’s support, these startups have been able to deliver value to enterprises seeking startups as a means to better their business functions.
MSGP’s Startup-Corporate Partnership model is driven not by making connections, but bringing insights to the table. With our expertise across industries and geographies, we help enterprises and startups navigate these discussions and find the right approach, unique to each partnership. One such partnership started in mid-2016 with Singapore-headquartered investment company Temasek. Recognizing the potential of partnering with MSGP’s portfolio startups, six Temasek portfolio companies came on board as partners.
This strategic partnership provides the startups with the ability to leverage subject matter experts, mentors, pilot programs, joint go-to-market initiatives and marketing support from Temasek and its portfolio companies. In return, Temasek and its portfolio companies can access technological innovation through connections and building business relationships with Microsoft startups. To take this partnership forward, Temasek brought together over 150 participants from its portfolio companies to meet our startups at the Temasek Global Innovation Summit last week, and encouraged them to explore new ways to collaborate to deliver value to their customers.
Similar partnerships have been forged across the world. In India, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), through its Co-Innovation Network (COIN), joined hands to give startups access to TCS’s expertise and client base, and create exciting new opportunities to innovate and transform the business landscape.
The Future is Symbiotic
The need for innovation is something that will persist into the future and keep driving individuals to innovate and present disruptive ideas. Enterprises have been rooted, recognized and adopted by people worldwide, and there is be no better medium for startups to disseminate their creations to help solve the problems of the world. We are looking forward to bringing more forward-looking businesses together with startups and working with them to create partnerships that can accelerate the growth of all the stakeholders.
Persuading company bosses to take on new, disruptive technologies can be a struggle. Luckily, there are a host of benefits to taking on new and emerging tech – it’s just a matter of finding ways to sell it to those C-Suite decision makers.
Joining Microsoft’s San Francisco Founders’ Day gave me a chance to engage with other Microsoft alumni, and an opportunity to reflect on the challenges and opportunities I face on a daily basis as a startup CEO and founder.