Critical Success Factors in the Offering of a Corporate-Startup Program
Abstract: Company-driven initiatives to collaborate with startups are increasingly arising as a reaction to the competitive landscape of today, influenced by globalization, digitalization, and an increased demand for open innovation practices. Startups constitute a major source of innovation and have the ability to overthrow current technologies and business models. Due to vast differences, and the complementary nature, between established companies and startups, there is great potential for creating synergies when collaborating. This study focuses on formalized corporate-startup programs hosted by a global high-technology company and offered to mature startups developing solutions within Internet of Things, one of the most rapidly emerging trends within technology today. The purpose of this study is to identify the critical success factors in the offering of such a program. In total, 15 interviews were conducted with startups, representatives from a global high-technology company, and subject matter experts, and a pre-study was conducted in order to identify relevant criteria to represent a mature startup. Based on current theory and the empirical data, ten critical success factors are identified in this study, these are: (1) to provide an initiation process that is simple and in which expectations and objectives are aligned; (2) to align intentions and consequences of providing financial support; (3) to balance the terms of the program; (4) to provide a high degree of customization; (5) to ensure a low degree of interference with the competitive edge of the startup; (6) to focus the program around the unique selling point of the global high-technology company and IoT-specific support; (7) to support the startup to gain legitimacy and credibility; (8) to provide learning opportunities; (9) to provide a business context; and (10) to provide access to IoT markets.
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