The innovative power and focus of startups are characteristics that are highly appreciated by large corporations. We see more and more corporations running their corporate accelerator programs to scout, evaluate and do the pilot projects.
Furthermore, today many corporates have a dedicated innovation team that is often tasked with driving an innovative culture internally and stimulating the influx of external innovation.
The good news is that startups now have a natural point of entry but in reality, this does not solve the problem for startups. If we look specifically at transportation and travel verticals, many of the above-mentioned steps have been done but in reality, the sales cycle is far too long for startups targeting these verticals.
The road to a startup corporate collaboration is long, meaning the sales cycle is on average 10 months from the first meeting until the collaboration is established. Also, count all the resources (team and costs) startups need to invest to get to the first meeting, meaning they need to attend many conferences, conduct market research, and find the right companies and stakeholders.
Gaining access to the right people is a time-consuming and frustrating activity for many startups. The problem is getting a foot in the door, finding the right person in the business, the person who is looking for the solution offered by that startup.
Startups are ready to accelerate their sales usually after the acceleration program. But in many cases, this is the period they feel stuck the most during their journey as besides the focus on sales, they are focusing on raising their next investment round. They have probably 1-2 paying customers on their home market and they are lucky if they have 1-2 dedicated salespeople.
They still do not have a lot of revenue to hire various business development people and they can’t wait for months or years before they acquire new customers as for the investment round they need to show the growth.
On the other side, especially corporations in the travel and transportation sectors need to scout for innovative technologies which can help them to resume operations after Covid-19, optimize operations to cut costs, and offer better customer service and experience. Due to the budget cuts and reorganized teams, they have limited human resources and less dedicated people in their internal innovation team.
To solve these problems from both sides, we at Theta established an Access-to-market program with the mission to bridge the gap between innovative technologies and established companies. We connect startups offering technology solutions to companies, to solve specific challenges such as optimising operations, cutting costs, and offering better customer service.
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