Tech City: Conference on start-ups working with bigger companies
- Credit: Archant
Start-ups were advised to be confident and know their worth when doing business with bigger companies at a conference about how they could effectively collaborate with larger corporates.
The discussion took place at video advertising tech company Unruly, in Princeton Street, on May 13, to mark the relaunch of The Hangout, City University London’s student incubation hub which is also based at the Shoreditch premesis.
Hundreds of people attended to listen to a panel which included five Tech City experts: David Page, co-creator, innovation delivery at Visa Europe; Charlotte McEleny, digital editor for Marketing Magazine; Deana Murfitt, of Unruly; Jody Orsborn, of The Backscratchers; Hannah Blake, open innovation director at MEC; and Amy Bilton, knowledge transfer partnerships manager at City University London.
The event also marked Visa Europe Collab’s recent sponsorship of The Hangout as part of the organisation’s outreach work with students and start-ups.
Mr Page said: “We were representing the large corporate at the event and a key advice point for start-ups, I would say is, first of all be confident and go in there as an equal. If a large company wants to do business with you they should be treating you as an equal and understand there are things they need to do to help you.
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“Make sure you qualify who you are speaking to and don’t be blinded by the brand. If it is good for both parties that is great but sometimes it might be worth walking away.
“To large corporates, I would say, the premium commodity that start-ups have is their time. If you want to work with them you can’t waste their time and you need to think like a start-up to engage with them.”
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He added: “Rather than working as venture capitalists looking only to make a profit, we’re moving towards working together with start-ups. We’re already starting to see real benefits, whether that’s through start-ups forcing us to think and work differently, to providing us with the chance to try out new ideas.”
Ms Bilton said that while start-ups could benefit financially from larger corpoates, they could also benefit from academic expertise.
She said: “We did an event earlier about innovation in finances and this came off the back of that.
“There is a strong working relationship between Visa Europe and our Cass Business School.
“I work on the knowledge transfer partnerships which is a government funded programme giving businesses the opportunity to access academic expertise.
“The government offers grant awards to small businesses to enable them to help them pay for that expertise.
“Money is one part of it but also, the ability to access that expertise, and there are lots of other mechanisms across the university, such as, student placements and internships. There are loads of different ways to reach out and I was on the panel as a voice of all of that.”
Ms Bilton also mentioned the City Unrulyversity, City University’s free, weekly drop-in classroom at Unruly HQ, where tech professionals can get advice on a variety of subjects.
Professor Caroline Wiertz, co-founder of City Unrulyversity, said: “It was great to see so many people in attendance at the re-launch of The Hangout, from Tech City entrepreneurs to student start-ups.
“We are extremely excited to have Visa Europe join our partnership, ensuring that we can continue to educate and support the next generation of budding entrepreneurs for at least another year.
“And of course we continue to be grateful to Unruly for housing us in their brilliant space and for supporting everything we do.”