If you ever took dancing lessons, you’ll know that choosing the right partner is critical: an elephant can’t dance with an ant without crushing it. The relations between early-stage startups and big corporations are similar in nature: both sides want to move in sync, while one of them could easily damage the other on account of size, business culture and organizational practices.
But not every corporate player will necessarily damage a small startup — it depends on many elements, starting with the business culture of the big company.
If the corporate is aware of the hardships of working closely with a young startup, it’ll be ready to make the required adaptations, even if some of them won’t be in line with its procedures. Some companies see startups partners as just another supplier, and won’t go the distance to assure healthy, long-term connection.
These corporates might demand troublesome pivots from a startup, force inefficient product changes and swallow the company up in case of strategic deals and acquisitions. Sometimes, such things happen due to a corporate’s desire to rush things up, to gain access to a startup’s product and technology here and now.
Japanese corporates tend to do things differently; they don’t invest money in a hurry or rush into partnerships. The reason is that most innovation investments performed in Japan are made by the corporate sector — companies that have existed for ages, survived economic crisis and tend to carefully measure their steps. They also recognize their shortcomings, and see Israeli startups as a good source for innovative solution and long-term partnership.
A Japanese corporate will prefer to work with a startup for a while, observe and learn its processes, its problem-solving practices, its team and its development before striking a big deal or considering an acquisition. For the patient founder, such practice will prove beneficial in the long run; his product, team and company as a whole won’t undergo considerable changes — and the startup will gain a powerful partner, with access to global markets.
Samurai Incubate Israel is a dancing instructor, specializing in teaching elephants how to dance — and adapt to the Israeli startups’ natural pace and culture — in order to create beneficial partnerships. How can we do it? Join our meetups and learn more.