Why are big corporates interested in startups? How can we connect the startups and the big boys to develop a win win situation?

Michael Brandkamp

High-tech start-ups are very flexible, fast. They like to take risk. So, they push innovation with very high speed. Big corporates have started to cooperate with small ones because they need external innovation. Caused by the digitalization and industry 4.0 and other factors the speed of innovation is increasing dramatically. However, the speed of big corporates for exploration and finding new routes is limited (because they are very good in exploitation). So looking at cooperation between small start-ups with the large companies we see a win-win situation. The start-ups have the innovation and entrepreneurial culture. What they miss are resources, experiences and market access, which the big boys might offer.  

Chris Mattheisen

The nature of “new businesses” can differ significantly from the way a big corporate operates today.  In developing, nascent markets or new business models, planning is in many cases based more on beliefs and intuitions rather than formal business cases, which requires more flexibility and agility, while the players are exposed to higher risk.

This method of working is not always suitable for large enterprises, but is something start-ups are good at, at least the successful ones. The cooperation suggested by Dr. Brandkamp seems to be a perfect match, but the devil is always in the details, a lot depends on actual execution.

How should a large and complex enterprise like Magyar Telekom help to build a start-up ecosystem, to provide the necessary resources with the required flexibility, but still have the ability to ensure stable business growth? Should it be an ecosystem, a set of loosely coupled companies, or should we tighten the reins, and develop abilities to acquire and an acquisition strategy?