Eavesdropping in Houston
If you've ever wanted to know the best way to get your startup in front of a major corporation, according to experts from both sides of the table — here's your chance.
At the Houston Innovation Open Conference, five major players in Houston's innovation ecosystem sat on a panel and discussed startups, accelerators, and more. One question asked each panelist for their advice for corporate partnerships. Here's what they had to say.
“Go to one of our programs — even if you used to work at an oil and gas company, as a startup, you need new pathways and you need help and support and lots of love along the way.”
— Gabriella Rowe, CEO of Station Houston. Even with a Houston business background, there's strength in numbers, she says.
“Keep your identity along the way.”
— Haibin Xu, regional manager of Shell Research Connect & GameChanger US and Canada. From the corporate side of things. Xu said sometimes the Shells of the world can't help you — find the right company that best aligns with your startup.
“Do your research. … And have a clear value proposition, and put it on the table.”
— Wade Bitaraf, head of energy and sustainability practice at Plug and Play. Preparation and research is extremely important before you meet with any potential corporate partners.
“Find a community to join … and don’t limit yourself to what you think is your industry.”
— Brad True, managing director of The Cannon and Cannon Ventures. True gave an example of a Cannon company that found success outside the industry they thought they were confined to.
“You have to find the pathways that are going to make it as easy as possible.”
— Brian Richards, innovation lead and managing director at Accenture. Richards emphasized that startups can go bankrupt waiting for something formal from a big corporation.