Are you a startup looking to pitch to large corporates? Here’s what you need to know
Are you a startup looking to pitch to large corporates? Here’s what you need to know

Are you a startup looking to pitch to large corporates? Here’s what you need to know

For starters, validate your product with a particular customer or client.

Corporates are increasingly looking beyond their companies and employees for innovation, especially when it comes to new and emerging technologies. Every corporate needs to adopt new technologies to survive. But with the speed at which technology is evolving, instead of creating solutions within the companies, large corporates are now looking at collaborating with innovative startups that are already working to solve problems in the areas they operate in.

This is why several large companies tie up with incubators, invest in startups, and conduct hackathons to discover and collaborate with innovative startups.

And for any startup, bagging a large corporate as a client, or even collaborating and working with them is a huge boost to its revenues.

But how does a corporate think? How does one pitch to a large corporate?

Balaji Kaliappan, who heads Innovation and Research at American multinational conglomerate UTC in India says, corporate is a complex word. The reason why corporates go out and look to engage with startups is to leverage any new innovative solution or technology development happening in the startup world, which can be applied to a problem they have.

United Technologies works very closely with startups and runs several programs to identify innovative startups. It runs a nano-accelerator program with Hyderabad-based incubator T-Hub as well.

Speaking of what startups need to know to pitch to a corporate, he says that for starters, validate your product with a particular customer or client. “It is important to know who it is applicable to – to a startup or a large corporate. That is the key success criteria for any new product or innovative solution,” he adds.

Corporates are big on structure

Corporates are designed to have systematic processes and an organised structure, Balaji says. “As corporates, we definitely need a structured way of handling any external engagement. We generally spend a lot of time looking at the problem we are trying to solve,” he adds.

So when dealing with any corporate, startups need to understand the same and have to be patient.

Sustainability is key

When a corporate builds a solution, it always looks at maintaining it, sustaining it and supporting the platform for a long period of time.

“To review and approve any new solutions, we always look to see if we commit now, how will we sustain and support it. How will our existing customer base take it, which is also a very important factor for us,” Balaji says.

What do they look for in the startup?

“We look at what the unique value proposition of the startup is, both from its standpoint and from our existing offerings. We look at how it fits for us. We also look at the solution in detail. Is it novel or are they doing something already available elsewhere.” Balaji says.

Intellectual property

Startups usually use a lot of open source platforms to build their solutions. But corporates always look to see if the platforms used by the startup are safe and they have acquired all the required IP rights, permissions and approvals before officially selling the product. “It is a very important criteria for corporates because once the corporate starts selling it, it becomes our liability as well,” Balaji adds.

What not to do

One common mistake made by most startups is not doing their homework. While it is ambitious to pitch to a large corporate, Balaji says that very often startups come without knowing where and who they are pitching to.

“Do a little study about the company. Very often startups don’t tend to know who they are selling to. Know the ‘who’ and then customise your pitch with examples. That really influences the corporate,” he adds.

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