Looking to further its mission to connect corporates with startups, Slingshot has today launched CoVentured, a platform to facilitate engagement and drive collaboration between the two sides.
Allowing corporates to detail opportunities or challenges within their business for which startups may be able to provide a solution, and then identify, track, and engage with startups that could fit the bill, the platform is almost an extension of Slingshot’s corporate-sponsored accelerator programs, which are aimed at helping corporates and startups work together.
According to Karen Lawson, CEO of Slingshot, making it easier for startups and corporates to connect is crucial to boosting Australia’s innovation performance.
“CoVentured is a way for both market forces, corporates and startups, to harness innovation. Working with Startups is the best way to find, test and develop potentially market changing technologies and solutions and drive disruption, not just survive it. Both sides win,” she said.
More than two dozen corporates have already signed on, among them Lendlease, Optus, Australia Post, Woolworths, and Westpac.
Gary Thursby, and Westpac Group Executive of Strategy and Enterprise Services, said partnering with startups allows the bank to accelerate its pace of change and learn how it can continue to innovate.
“These partnerships provide us with more avenues for access to innovation and new experiences for our customers, and enable us to share our expertise with new businesses to support their success.”
Sujeet Rana, general manager of customer technology at Woolworths Group, added, “Working with the startup community allows us to tap into a wider group of highly talented people who can support ongoing innovation that could deliver greater shopping convenience for our customers.”
In allowing startups and corporates to find each other according to defined opportunities or challenges, CoVentured wants to lead to real outcomes, whether they be the development of a pilot or proof of concept, an investment, co-creation, or vendor relationship.
The idea is in essence similar to Slingshot’s Scaleup program.
Where its startup accelerator program sees startups work to develop their MVPs and find product/market fit for a potential collaboration with the partner corporate somewhere down the line, the Scaleup program, which it calls a ‘Quick to No’ program, aims to get the corporate and scaleup to a Memorandum of Understanding in five meetings or less.
The focus on the number of meetings, Slingshot cofounder Trent Bagnall previously told Startup Daily, is to avoid the back and forth that often happens when startups and corporates meet.
“As startups know, trying to deal with a large corporate can be time wasting and messy – it can be lots of maybes,” Bagnall explained.
“There’s this analogy about lots of cups of coffee; often the startup will reach out to the corporate to say, ‘I think we’ve got a great product’, so they meet in a coffee shop and do a little demo, the corporate gets really excited, the startup goes back and says, ‘we’re going to sign a great deal with this large corporate’, and it turns into six to 12 months of maybes and often just fades away.”
CoVentured is now open for sign ups from startups, with an official launch opening the platform up to more corporates next month.
Image: Craig Lambert, Karen Lawson, Trent Bagnall. Source: Supplied.