Sander - 13/07/2020

Collaborating with startups in times of crisis

Is working with startups in times of crisis a smart thing to do?

Yes, it is.

I did some quick fact-checking among various corporates and industries -among which Food & Beverage and observed: Collaboration with (tech) startups is still high on the procurement and innovation agenda.

Startups provide ideas, competences, products, and tools that can help corporates speed up in cutting costs, growing sales, and (re) gaining innovation momentum in the aftermath of Covid-19.

So, I’m confident that we are at a pivotal moment in which open innovation and serious collaborations with early and later-stage startups take root.

Engagement vehicles


Over the past few years, a plethora of engagement vehicles emerged – from procurement, challenge prizes, business support (incubators, accelerators), venture clienting, joint product development to corporate venture capital.

Very few engagements are ‘pure’ instances of one category. In practice, there is much mixing of flavors.

Moreover, frankly, it’s no mean feat to make collaborations work; Not every corporate and startup is ready for it and committed.

With that in mind, I’ve noticed that the following formats are still of high and medium use provided they can be done online. Where it says ‘medium,’ the limiting factors are: Coordination hassle and seeing = believing (human) factors.

2020 is likely to be a tough year, but it is clear we need product and business model innovation more than ever. New ways of working emerging from the crisis will be here to stay. And with it, collaborating with startups.

Any thoughts? I’d love to hear from you.