Bridging the Gap: How Collaborations Between Startups and Corporates Drive Innovation

April 19, 2021

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More and more, large corporations are joining forces with startups and digital-era actors. Their ultimate goal? Ensuring their sustainability by exploring multiple forms of collaboration, notably in technology sourcing, leveraging the flexibility and agility of startups, but above all, their mastery of technology.

These two worlds, despite their differences in size, process complexity, and growth rate, are now co-creating value together, thanks to numerous success stories. Partnerships are multiplying, and the trend is undeniable.  

« The fact that men do not profit much from the lessons of history is the most important lesson that history teaches us. »


New regulations, digitalization of the economy, and evolving consumer demands; Trend changes are happening at an unprecedented pace. Many brands have found themselves overwhelmed because they failed to anticipate or accept extreme technological evolution, as seen with Nokia, Compaq, or Polaroid.

The technological acceleration we are witnessing is pushing large corporations to reinvent themselves and innovate along four major axes: connected, autonomous, shared, and easy. The race for innovation is on, and to survive in this market, major industrial players are multiplying touchpoints with innovative small businesses. 


Complementary Objectives:  


Known for their flexibility and agility, startups have managed to establish themselves globally through their mastery of technology, understanding of consumers and market expectations, and their vision for the world of tomorrow. They seek genuine industry expertise, deployment capacity, and funding from large corporations.


On the other hand, large corporations are known for their understanding and mastery of distribution channels and the global market, their investment capabilities, credibility, and their vision of today's world. They expect these partnerships to strategically and commercially contribute to their development, provide an innovation boost and agility to attract new customers and maintain their brand image.


However, to achieve mutual goals, many conditions must be met: 

•  Communication: Clear communication about the means that can be deployed by each party in the short and long term. 

•  Engagement Duration and Collaboration Terms: On the corporate side, involving operational teams, raising awareness among teams about the specificities of startup operations to facilitate knowledge sharing. 

• Fostering a Simple and Agile Organization : To allow startups to focus on value creation and large corporations to accelerate the experimentation phase and reduce time-to-market. 


What Does Collaboration with a Startup Enable Concretely? 


- Business Development : Optimize productivity and minimize costs by collaborating with startups. 

- Strategic Partnership and Open Innovation Logic Incubation, acceleration formats, Open Innovation contests, or startup studios. 

- Commercial Relationship and Partnership 

- Developing R&D projects : Sourcing new innovative solutions at lower costs and lead times to meet current needs. 

- Investment : Minority or majority shareholding or acquisition.

- Building Brand Image: Benefit from visibility among a large entrepreneurial community. 


Let's Talk Numbers! 

-Globally, 61% of "unicorns" have an industrial group among their shareholders.

-Nearly 53% of the world's 500 largest companies collaborate with startups.

-Nearly 92% of large French companies have a collaboration program with startups. 

Open Innovation, Anyone? 


Finally convinced? Well, you're in luck! The national program, Algeria Startup Challenge, is back in its third edition with an open innovation-oriented version in the form of challenges specialized by industry, including Foodtech, Fintech, Logistics, and Greentech, encompassing all innovative entrepreneurship ecosystem players in Algeria. This allows large corporations to directly submit their needs to innovative project holders and startups.

Alongside, there's a coaching and mentoring program, investor speed dating, and to wrap it up, an experimentation program. Need more information?  

Visit the website :

Contact them at :


Article written by : ZIAD R. Nesrine 

Strategy & Marketing Manager at Leancubator - ASC


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