Learning from the little ones – How cooperation between established companies and startups can guarantee your own future

Hand on your heart: Who can remember what he often thought of adults when he was a teenager? Right: When I’m older, I’ll do better! With the youthful perspective on the ever-changing world, some of the actions of the parental guardian simply no longer seemed appropriate. At the latest when you jump up from the lunch table and run to the Brockhaus encyclopedia while the youngsters call “Venus” because they’ve asked Wikipedia on their cell phones, you know what I’m talking about.

Experience isn’t knowledge
It is arduous and unflattering but we must always remember that experience does not mean knowledge. The more experienced we become, the older we become and the greater the part of knowledge that we do not know becomes, because it originated “after our time”. As experienced people in the cycle of life, the present belongs to us. The future belongs to those who are currently making their experiences and we must learn from them. We must listen to them. We must support them in order to be prepared for the future.

The big ones show it of
Extremely successful companies such as Google or Facebook are leading the way: They systematically support founders and startups as they make their experiences. They learn and listen to what tomorrow’s products, services and business models might look like. And they benefit from this form of cooperation with startups! Companies that see their long history as the only guarantee for future success run the risk of losing their business foundation unnoticed and unprepared.

“Disruptive innovations”, as has often been the case in recent history, change entire branches of industry in just a few years. While established companies with functioning business models tend to fear disruptive innovations and proceed cautiously “incrementally”, startups open up existing markets or create completely new ones. In doing so, they often take risks that established companies would not be able to take on or act at a speed that can only be achieved with a small team without large overheads.

Startups are partners, not competitor
At first glance startups may seem like unpredictable competitors. But there is enormous potential in cooperation. If the agility and creativity of young, motivated startups is coupled with the experience, resources and market access of established companies, both partners benefit and effectively developed innovations can be brought to market extremely quickly. A clear advantage over conventional competitors which has a positive effect on the economic development potential of both cooperation partners.

Germany on the right track
This insight is also gradually maturing in Germany. The car giant Daimler, for example, supported the e-car startup “Tesla Motors”. Deutsche Telekom is integrating services from the music startup “Spotify” into its offerings, and Deutsche Kredit Bank DKB is simplifying the sending of money via smartphone with the help of the “Cringle” startup.
In a typical partnership, established companies offer market access in the form of a broad, solid customer base, while young startups introduce innovations that expand the product portfolio of established companies and create a USP over the competition. Many startups look for opportunities to contact established companies. Take them seriously, listen, promote them and prepare your company for the future!
From September 2015, this article will also appear in the magazine “Gründermetropole Berlin” of Berliner Wirtschaftsgespräche e.V.

About Ambivation

Ambivation connects established companies with startups for innovation partnerships. As an innovation consultancy and matchmaker, Ambivation facilitates collaboration between founders and executives for general exchange, concrete customer, supplier or research partnerships. Ambivation supports companies in the identification of needs, startup identification, startup evaluation and initiation of cooperation. Formats such as research of relevant startups, startup monitoring, strategic cooperation consulting or event formats such as startup tours or Design Thinking workshops serve this purpose. The monthly newsletter also informs curious company representatives about current collaboration examples and events related to these cooperations.