Case Study: BAE Partners with J&F Alliance

Challenge:  J&F Alliance Group is an emerging tech upstart company, developing Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR) ModSim software applications, as well as providing IT and logistic support services, for both military services and commercial clients.  As an upstart in a relatively unknown field, AR software development, it is difficult to widely market the company’s services.  While members of the J&F Alliance Group have attended several conferences to demo the company’s AR software technology, finding a receptive customer was difficult due to the broad nature of most conferences.

Solution: Glacier Point and SwitchPitch joined forces to bring decision makers and relevant startups together. The goal of the matchmaking process is to reach a signed deal between large companies seeking technology and business advantages with startups using lean and aggressive business models on cutting edge technology.  Through this matchmaking process, J&F Alliance Group was introduced to BAE Systems, Inc., a multi-billion-dollar aerospace and defense company serving the U.S. Department of Defense.

Result: Working with Glacier Point and SwitchPitch, BAE Systems was introduced to J&F Alliance Group and their AR software applications.  Within a month of meeting, J&F was under contract to BAE to run three separate pilot programs using their technology solutions.  BAE found the J&F solutions applicable, not only to their current programs but to their corporate functions as well.

While J&F heard stories of how large companies often take advantage of startups and their intellectual property, BAE Systems not only signed a contract with J&F but worked extensively with them.  BAE’s contracting department provided contracting and legal support for J&F so that they met all of BAE and DoD requirements.  Even with the contract coming at the end of the fiscal year and the BAE contracting staff swamped with end of year tasks, BAE still took the time to work with J&F, ensuring everything was for them to work together.

The impact of working with BAE has been a game-changer for J&F.  The company grew in terms of employees, from 4 employees to 12 employees, and revenue increased over 40%.  Working with BAE allowed J&F to create jobs and scale their operational and developmental budget appropriately.  JarMarcus said “We hear people all the time talking about the issues that small businesses have when working with large companies, but I can tell you that our experience with BAE Systems has been nothing but Great and a wonderful learning experience for our company”. Working for a large company like BAE, J&F now has increased resources, credibility, and connections for new business development.

7 Ways to Track Startup Engagement

Enterprises are engaging with startups in unprecedented ways. Many enterprises have well-established procedures for tracking startup engagement – AT&T, Unilever, Coca Cola all have large-scale startup engagement programs. However, keeping tabs on the ever changing data – both external and internal – is becoming overwhelming.

We spend a considerable amount of time discussing startup engagement best practices with Fortune 500 companies. Here’s what heads of innovation tell us they prioritize most in startup engagement:

Sourcing innovative startups

Nearly all established corporate innovation teams have well-developed startup ecosystem partnerships. Accelerators, VCs, coworking spaces and universities are among the top sources of referrals.

But limiting partnerships to these sources present challenges. Chiefly among these is tracking startups outside of enterprises’ core focus. More and more, innovation is industry-agnostic: Solutions focused on healthcare have applications in financial services or aerospace & defense. To truly track all relevant startup innovation, enterprises must focus BEYOND their immediate industry, with a global focus.

For example, BAE Systems recently identified a healthcare augmented reality solution – J&F Alliance – that was not focused on aerospace & defense. BAE signed a deal with J&F via the SwitchPitch platform to assemble sensor payloads for UAVs. The partnership was struck because BAE looked beyond defense industry solutions and found the most relevant innovation for its need.

External startup data

Who are the funders, founders, clients? Enterprises use this startup data to evaluate which startups have solutions that can scale. Startup data sources include Crunchbase, Angel List, CB Insights and MatterMark – all of which are useful for investment evaluation.

For business development data, such as startups’ client list, project history, and client ratings, enterprises need to dig deeper. SwitchPitch captures this data specific for business development evaluation, making enterprise / startup engagement more efficient and effective.

Custom startup data

Custom data connects external solutions with internal needs – it shows how startups fit into enterprises’ business units. Data examples include:

  • Business Benefit
  • Partnership level
  • Targeted Use Cases
  • Pricing Model

Data may be provided by enterprises – or by startups – depending on the nature of information desired.

One of SwitchPitch’s clients, a leader in the communications industry, uses our custom data to create a pipeline that compares and contrasts how different startups would integrate into their business units.

Startup-managed profiles

When startups create and control their own profiles, interesting things happen. Whole startup teams are engaged; startups’ current client information is up-to-date; even enterprise-specific data can be tracked – meaning that startups can contribute unique data specific to enterprises’ needs / use cases. This marketplace model lends itself to effective, efficient startup engagement.

But often, too many enterprises limit themselves by using the single-sided format of a database. Minus collaboration, minus a global approach. Only through a marketplace like SwitchPitch can enterprises utilize a two-sided platform, enabling a “front door for innovation” – a centralized portal where startups create a profile and engage with enterprises.

Simple Interface

The best tracking systems and procedures are only as good as the inputs. CRMs, spreadsheets and other solutions are designed for general data capture. But all too frequently they don’t deliver the employee engagement necessary for effective data capture.

So how do you encourage employees to track and enter data? Employees should want to engage and invite startups to join the platform. Make the platform intuitive. Make it easy. Make it fun.

Reporting

Showcasing startup tracking data in an intuitive format is key to getting buy-in and ongoing support for innovation programs. Every organization is different and has different metrics, so reporting should be flexible and customized to track and showcase specific initiatives and outcomes. Not only does reporting show what is working, effective reporting also highlights blind spots.

Single Voice

Multiple conversations with different divisions leads to confusion both internally and externally. Startups may be left with the impression that these corporations are not serious or efficient about startup engagement. Nothing kills a deal faster than lack of effective communication. Capturing analysis, notes, emails, custom data, tags – everything relevant – in a SINGLE place is critical to effective startup engagement. In other words, enterprises speaking with a single voice to startups gets deals done.

Conclusion

Startup engagement is a process – starting with scouting and ending with profitable business outcomes. Along the way, there are many paths enterprises may take. To summarize, the critical pieces are:

  • Scouting beyond immediate industry
  • Multiple data sources – including from startups
  • Consistent internal and external communication

Unifying these pieces in a seamless platform will provide a long-term innovation program with tangible and measurable results.

Enterprise Innovation: Measuring Value

Chief Innovation Officers of 2017 are the Chief Marketing Officers of the early 2000s – limited tools, few metrics, no concrete justification of performance. Marketing software’s rise began in the mid 2000s (see infograph below); and similar to marketing, innovation software platforms are starting to fill the void. Enterprise innovation is still a fuzzy discipline; but that is changing. As strategies and tactics become standardized and accepted, tracking performance becomes more straightforward.

Marketing

Remember when Chief Marketing Officers started becoming commonplace at large companies? In the late 90s – as internet adoption took off – CMOs were a requirement for companies with an IPO in site. CMOs of the time had few measurement tools to evaluate their initiatives. Large-company CMOs I knew frequently company-hopped because they didn’t have the measurements to justify their large salaries.

The early 2000s saw the introduction of marketing tools, platforms and automation, making the CMO job much more qualifiable and measurable. Marketo, Pardot and other platforms began addresses digital marketing automation, and the industry began consolidating in the late 2000s – early 2010s.

The CMOs of 2017 are extremely metrics driven, tracking every detail of marketing efforts. They are vital to driving predictable revenue. (continues below graphic)

 

Innovation

Innovation cannot be automated like marketing, so innovation tools will look very different from marketing tools. Innovation tools enable aggregating, tracking, and delivering tangible connections and outcomes.

Two central pieces to most corporate innovation programs are ideation and external innovation. Ideation – aggregating ideas – takes two flavors: internal and external. Platforms like Betterific and IdeaScale focus on gathering the best ideas from internal teams or external customers or clients.

External innovation is now an accepted way of adding enterprise innovation. Startups, SBIR recipients and university technology are all sources of external innovation. Tools like SwitchPitch provide the tangible metrics to track performance and calculate ROI. Metrics include startups engaged with, deals signed, revenue generated – all providing innovation metrics. Mapping innovation ecosystems are made easier with innovation platform tools like SwitchPitch, enabling the full scope of innovation to be identified and tracked.

Chief Innovation Officers are coming of age and so are the tools they use. To become influential, innovation departments need data / ROI metrics and successful outcome data. New tools are delivering these requirements and justifying innovation budgets – the same way marketing tools justify marketing budgets.

Corporate Venture Capital & Innovation Initiatives

Guest post by Mike Millard, founder of Pitch-a-Kid & AngelSpan advisor

Besides the amazing emerging technology, what else should corporations look for in startups? For those with time constraints and wanting the conclusion first – here you go.

Before you commit time and resources investing or partnering with any startup, make sure it has demonstrated regular transparent communication and performance reporting BEFORE you commit time/resources.

corporate-ventures

And now for the rest of the story.

Corporate venture capital is hot. From tech giants like Google to consumer product companies, many are getting in the game as an extension of its business development activities. Whether it is via in-house venture capital initiatives, or engaging young, innovative companies on a project basis (ostensibly for a first-look at new tech), corporations can’t move fast enough into this “innovation arena” to remain competitive and provide value to the customer.

The why does not need to be examined or debated here. The larger question is how.

Build, Buy, or Partner?
How to do you engage the innovative startup community in a fruitful and sustainable way to identify the right technology to fuel the overall corporate strategy? Building an internal venture capital fund is one obvious choice, but this does not alleviate what to look for when engaging with startups. The same goes for buying a startup, partnering with them, or even investing in them. How do you reduce your risk for knowing which startups are going to be better than others? Many talented professional venture capitalists understand people, technology, markets and have excellent pattern recognition to help identify promising startups. They also have access to more information than the average investor. But what about the rest of us? How can we reduce our risk by working with startups as we feel increasing pressure to innovate? With the enabling technologies of firms like SwitchPitch, many corporations are engaging innovative companies on a project basis to infuse the right technology, culture, and people on projects to deliver optimal results with reduced risk.

Partnering
Just as private venture capitalists, angel investors, and family offices active in the direct investing struggle to find the right company, corporations also struggle with which companies they should choose when deciding who to partner with on innovative solutions and emerging technologies. And, just like investing in startups, the danger is in getting caught up in the ‘flashy bauble’ of the technology. Politics, inexperience, and pressure to find solutions all contribute to less than stellar outcomes for partnering with startups. The key to startups, as any experienced investor will tell you, is in the execution (Netflix vs. Blockbuster and Apple vs. Blackberry come to mind). First-mover advantage is sometimes a fallacy. The best technology doesn’t always win. But the companies that execute better along the startup lifecycle do much better in the marketplace regardless of technology.

Who is Likely to Execute Best?
Corporations, angels investors, family offices, and venture capitalists want to know who is going to execute the best – that is the ‘$64,000 Question’ for those of you old enough to remember the game show. They wish they knew as ultimately the desired return or partnership initiatives is related to the execution. All of the Excel models, presentations, strategy reviews, and marketing do not matter unless there is execution.
There are some patterns and clues some active investors are beginning to recognize, recently confirmed by a national survey done in conjunction with the Texas Venture Labs at McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas.
The survey results confirmed that entrepreneurs as a group that embraced transparency executed on their business plan (vision or idea) better than those that didn’t. Simply put, those that communicated better were more successful.
Investors surveyed confirmed this relationship was both:
* A corollary relationship – the more experienced startup CEOs (who tend to execute better) knew proper transparency/reporting to outside investors and stakeholders (like corporate partners) was part of their fiduciary responsibilities.
* A causality relationship – the transparency and feedback loop with outside investors and stakeholders helped the less experienced entrepreneur execute better due to the heightened engagement with those interested and willing to help them succeed. The investors had access to appropriate, timely, and useful information that allowed them to provide better guidance, stay more engaged, and avoid any surprises.

Corporate Best Practices and Startup Bad Habits
Anybody that has worked inside a large organization in charge with deploying corporate resources is familiar with the reporting requirements necessary to maintain advocacy and access to resources. It is just part of how big companies work.

There are monthly reports, quarterly reports, yearly reports, and reports that summarize reports. And they come is many shapes and sizes from HR goals to strategy objectives to marketing updates. As a whole – not so with startups.
Per the survey results, less than 1/5 of startups report on a monthly basis, and approximately 1/3 honor the information rights typical in any standard term sheet and report on a quarterly basis. There shouldn’t be any wonder why roughly 15% of companies in a ‘typical’ venture portfolio create all the profits of the fund! I think startups can learn from the corporate world from the required reporting – both internal and external. Transparency and reporting are simply the right course of action for success. Why then, do so few startups communicate with transparency on a regular basis when it can help them execute better?

Transparency, Standardized Reporting, Operational Performance Monitoring
Again, while this is standard procedure in the public market, and for internal corporate initiatives, it has not been adopted by the startup community as a widespread practice.
As a reminder, I do want to disclose that I am an Advisor to the company described below because they are the first to solve this problem in an ‘institutional-quality’ way.
AngelSpan is, in fact, providing structured message communication services for startups all over the country.
Just as there are investor relations for public companies, AngelSpan provides investor relations for private companies – startups. It provides message communication and consulting assisting clients to go through the startup lifecycle faster by keeping stakeholders informed and engaged with regular, structured, and consistent reporting. The founder was formally owned/managed a multi-family office, originally at 3000 Sand Hill Rd. He experienced this ‘information gap’ first hand as both an active angel investor and advisor to his clients’ angel investing activities. He wondered why startups don’t mimic from their corporate big brothers with communication practices.

AngelSpan is not a ‘DIY’ SaaS platform. Rather, it keeps its clients on a disciplined cadence of monthly updates and quarterly reports with information relevant for success. It makes sure its clients are reporting on the right content by incorporating the BellMason Diagnostic into their work – branded the SMART IR Report. This report allows the user to report on the operational, financial, managerial, and market in a format that investors understand and can quickly digest. Imagine as an investor if every one of your portfolio companies communicated to you on a monthly and quarterly basis using a consistent format. Imagine how much more productive your board meetings would be if you knew what was going on the last three months. Imagine how much easier your due diligence would become for a potential investment or partnership if you had 18 months of prior updates delivered to you.
The key is the operational performance report card detailing to clients how well it is executing along the startup lifecycle. As mentioned, it is about execution.

Better Outcomes
So how can corporations reduce your risk and increase your likelihood of success when partnering with startups? Before you commit time and resources investing or partnering with any startup, make sure it has demonstrated regular transparent communication and performance reporting. If investors simply focused their investing (or partnering) activities with startups that have already delivering proper transparency, would outcomes be optimized?
Based on my corporate and venture experience, I believe a resounding YES!

Mike Millard is founder of Pitch-a-Kid, and an advisor at AngelSpan. Mike is the former Executive Director of Innovation and Technology Commercialization, Ascension/Seton; Director of Research, Austin Ventures; Associate Director of Technology Commercialization/New Venture Creation, AT&T Knowledge Ventures.

Components of Corporate Innovation

We’ve covered the innovation landscape in prior posts, but today’s post deals with the innovation components within large companies. Where the process starts and ends, and how it is defined and implemented, are all important pieces in determining innovation program components.

innovation-process-pic

Where innovation starts

The need to innovate tends to start with senior executives – who make broad proclamations and set broad innovation goals, according to a 2014 study by the Harvard Business Review. From there, a team is often tasked with defining strategy and tactics, defining goals and how those goals tie into broader corporate initiatives.

Most corporate innovation programs start by defining a strategy. Through workshops, roadmaps and meetings with other executives, strategy’s shape starts to form.

Outside consultancies – management consulting / innovation-specific – are frequently tapped to formulate a strategy. Agencies like Glacier Point in Aerospace & Defense and inCode – whose partners helped formulate the successful AT&T Foundry program – work with a host of clients to develop and implement innovation strategy.

Strategic plans frequently start with a consistent way to tap new ideas from internal and external stakeholders. Ideation platforms like Betterific and IdeaScale aggregate ideas from employees, customers or other relevant parties.

Executing on ideas

To execute on the innovation needs, corporations have several channels to pursue:

  1. Internal innovation
  2. Innovation labs (internal / external)
  3. External innovation

To manage internal innovation execution, companies use tools like Alpha to get to an MVP to determine initial results. From there, iterating will produce more reliable results based on feedback.

Supply chain innovation is a less common source for exploring innovation, however consulting companies like Tenzing are providing tangible results by turning to supply chain partners for innovation solutions.

External innovation is a big driver of new initiatives. Managing the external innovation process requires a broad view of the innovation landscape, including startups, government grant recipients, university technology and more. Platforms like SwitchPitch’s external innovation management platform make identifying sources, tracking internal communications and forming partnerships easy and efficient.

External innovation can take a few forms: Corporate innovation labs / accelerator programs are gaining popularity – allowing internal resources to mix with external solutions in an enterprise-controlled environment. Key to this approach is ensuring a clear and consistent communications channel between the labs and operating units. Without this communication, innovation often dies when transitioning between the lab environment and operating divisions.

The prevailing management tools are internal CRMs and shared spreadsheets; however these tools come with complications – like ease of adding startups to track and shareability of accurate information and data.  

To ensure external innovative technologies and solutions are effectively implemented, an emerging group of service providers focused on innovation integration is developing. These firms help enterprises work with startups or other external solutions – handling the technology integration / testing and the cultural differences between the two partners. Scaled Markets manages technology integrations; Opportu works with enterprises on cultural integration of startup partnerships.

Conclusion

Corporate innovation’s effectiveness depends greatly on how strategies are implemented and tied to overall corporate goals / initiatives. Innovation trends come and go, but the fundamentals of innovation do not change. Companies taking a long view on strategy, with flexibility on tactics, are the ones succeeding.

Why Millennials are Changing the Way Businesses Approach Employee Engagement

Guest post by David Mendlewicz, Co-Founder, Butterfly

Technological innovations are accelerating the rate of change in the labor force and will have a massive impact on the so-called “future of work.” Beyond conversations around globalization and the elimination of jobs via “machines,” there’s the immediate reality that Millennials have unseated Boomers as the largest generation in the U.S. workforce.

Millennials are the first generation of digital natives and they are are the first wave of workers to matriculate as part of the on-demand economy. For these reasons, human resources teams at corporations large and small face new challenge when it comes to attracting, developing and retaining top talent. Here are some reasons why.

13041097_10209768570437527_2619099179432349447_o

Tech-savvy Millennials expect a different type of engagement

Back in the day, it was perfectly acceptable for a company to conduct once-a-year performance reviews. These were customarily used as a time for managers and team members to reflect on objectives and performance. But for Millennials who live in a 140-character world, the questionnaires were often lengthy and seen as a necessary evil.

To address these shifts, some organizations have adopted a more always-on approach to performance reviews. While annual reviews are still used to determine salary adjustments and promotions, more and more companies are relying on technology to capture feedback more quickly. For example, my company, Butterfly, provides a mobile experience that allows managers to keep tabs on employee happiness and engagement via 30-second “pulse” surveys, administered once a week. Teams at companies like Coca-Cola, Ogilvy, Ticketmaster and Citi – the last of which we paired via SwitchPitch – are using the platform to help young managers develop their soft skills.

Millennials are more apt to “job hop” than previous generations

Many Millennials have grown accustomed to switching employers every couple of years – a trait that would have been a red flag for prior generations. Per a LinkedIn study, over the past 20 years, the number of companies employees have worked for in the five years following graduation has nearly doubled. Another survey, from Careerbuilder, found that 45 percent of workers plan to change jobs within two years of their start date. So, with shorter tenures now the norm, how are HR teams to react?

Beyond accepting the reality and shifting talent acquisition strategies in accordance to these trends, organizations are also looking for new ways to keep top talent engaged for as long as possible. One way of doing this is by identifying what motivates workers to stick around. While these factors vary by industry and individual, some include: employee empowerment (feeling aligned with the company vision); how much they respect and/or trust their manager; and having a well-established career path (e.g. opportunities for continued learning, such as leadership training).

“Fearless” Millennials want leadership positions sooner

Another common trait among Millennials is the desire to move up the corporate ladder quicker than their predecessors. This isn’t as much about overconfidence as it is about Millennials’ fearlessness when it comes to striving for more responsibility at a younger age. They’re natural-born entrepreneurs, and they want to write their own scripts.

While many corporations are embracing this trend and boosting young “stars” to leadership positions, the environment has created gaps in soft skill development. Per the Harvard Business Review, most young managers (in their 20s or early 30s) wait more than a decade before they receive any formal executive leadership coaching. In other words, some talented young managers are falling short due to lack of training.

*****

The big takeaway for HR and innovation teams: Now is a time to take stock of your current employee engagement and management training practices. Ask yourself: Are the current methods of collecting feedback lining up with the pace of change, specifically as it pertains to Millennial workers? Further, are young managers receiving the leadership training they need to be set up to succeed?

When it comes to the “future of work,” those organizations able to use technology to capture – and, importantly, act on – real-time data will be able to keep Millennial employees motivated and engaged, as well as effectively groom the next generation of leadership.

 

davidmendlewiczDavid Mendlewicz is Co-Founder of Butterfly, a mobile leadership training tool designed for the Millennial generation. Joining David on the founding team are Marcus Perezi-Tormos and Simon Rakosi. Teams at leading companies such as Coca-Cola, GE, Citi and Ticketmaster are leveraging Butterfly’s technology to groom managers’ soft skills and keep employees engaged and happy. Follow Butterfly on Twitter @bttrflapp.

Why SwitchPitch is Crowdfunding

A few months back over coffee, Ollen Douglass, CFO of investment site The Motley Fool, indicated he was interested in investing in SwitchPitch. Why? Because as an executive at one of the most respected investment sites, he loved SwitchPitch’s business model, often talked about SwitchPitch, made introductions to other executives. But had no formal relationship with us – he didn’t know what to refer to us as? Friends? Interesting startup?

When referring to us, he wanted to say SwitchPitch is one of his investments, as that would’ve made a more compelling reason to refer us. And if he were able to invest, his introductions would create value for both of us.

After our coffee, I thought – what if other people share the same interest? Many people tell me they like SwitchPitch’s model, love that it exists, and appreciate how it helps startups grow. Crowdfunding is the new kid on the block, so I started exploring options and running the idea of a crowdfunding campaign by others I knew were interested in our success. Now they could capitalize on our growth.

Our motives were clear from the very beginning:

  1. Engage advocates to promote SwitchPitch to their colleagues
  2. Raise capital to scale the business
  3. Create a community of investors / advocates to provide feedback and support

When  I started exploring  the crowdfunding landscape, Regulation Crowdfunding (Reg CF) rules had just been published by the SEC, making it possible any investor (rather than just high net worth angels) to invest in startups. After exploring the existing platforms, SeedInvest emerged as the clear leader. They are conservative in their offerings (only a few at a time); They have a large investor base (100k+); They work hard to support the companies on their platform (running ads, monitoring email campaigns, hosting events and more). Although they only accept 1-2% of startups that apply, I knew we were a good fit.

After going through rigorous financial and legal reviews, we were finally able to launch our campaign. Throughout the entire process, it’s been critical that we understand the SEC rules that regulate the space: no pre-selling the deal prior to launch; investor information must be uniformly shared on our crowdfunding campaign page; restrictive language when promoting the deal. These rules are all intended to protect individual investors, which makes sense.

SwitchPitch’s crowdfunding campaign launched in mid-August and runs through Nov. 7. Ollen Douglass invested, as did innovation executives at Fortune 500 companies – the people who understand our business model the best!

According to SeedInvest, most activity is in the first and last 2 weeks. We’re entering the last two weeks soon with significant investor commitments, but we need more investors to close our round.

Over the course of the campaign, SwitchPitch has received significant traction, providing momentum to potential investors:

  • 18 Fortune 500 companies signed up as beta users
  • 1,000+ startups created profiles
  • 10 new projects published on our marketplace
  • Dozens of calls and meetings with big companies like BAE, Elbit, Harris, Syngenta and innovative startups
  • Significant industry press in Aerospace & Defense (Inside Defense, Aviation Week, GovMatters TV) –

We’re entering the final stretch of our campaign with significant investor commitments, but we need more investors to close our round. Join our list of investors – Dreamit Ventures, Allen Morgan, David Steinberg and more – by investing directly in SwitchPitch! To invest in our crowdfunding campaign, check out details on SeedInvest here.

Enterprise / Startup Partnerships in
Highly-Regulated Industries

Enterprises struggle to keep up with innovation while new startups are exploding. SwitchPitch is addressing this issue by connecting big companies and startups to do business together – one industry at a time.

In evaluating industries that would benefit most from our startup engagement platform, we noticed particular challenges with heavily-regulated industries. These industries have specific credentials, qualifications and requirements that make enterprise / startup relationships challenging given the lack of information available about startups.

regulations

Compliance makes partnerships difficult

To address this challenge, SwitchPitch’s startup profiles give enterprises the information they need to qualify startups early on: industry credentials, business development history, funding information and ratings / reviews – become indispensable to large companies seeking startup partnerships.

Case Study: Aerospace & Defense

Gleaning valuable information from our startup profiles, we invited top Aerospace & Defense startups to an industry event we hosted, designed to connect large contractors with innovative startups.

The Department of Defense, under Secretary Ash Carter, has encouraged defense contractors to work with startups to speed up innovation cycles within the defense ecosystem. As government customers continue to demand more innovation from established companies, the industry is increasingly turning to non-traditional sources of technology to meet its needs.

To match these needs, SwitchPitch and our Aerospace & Defense partner, Glacier Point, hosted an event with industry-leading companies looking for startup partnerships. On Sept. 27, 2016 at 1776 Startup Campus in Crystal City, VA, BAE Systems, Harris Corporation, and Elbit Systems presented budgeted projects to an audience of startups.

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Elbit Systems presenting at SwitchPitch Aerospace & Defense

Results:

More than 50 aerospace & defense startups from across the country attended the event to watch seven funded innovation projects pitched from BAE Systems, Harris Corporation and Elbit Systems. Over $500,000 of projects were presented – ready for startups to execute. After presentations, 98 SpeedMeetings were held between large contractors and startups to facilitate partnerships.

Based upon SwitchPitch’s historical success rate, we anticipate more than 40% of the projects will result in business relationships between enterprises and startups.

 

The Innovation Landscape

funnel_reconstructed

Managing corporate innovation is not an easy task. CEOs of large companies prioritize innovation in annual reports and speeches. It’s at the forefront of company-wide initiatives. Lead in it you must.

But historically, large companies have relied on R&D departments or university relationships to discover and introduce new technology. As technology / development costs significantly dropped, Fortune 500 resources or university infrastructures are no longer necessary to develop innovative solutions.

The landscape for finding fresh, nimble sources of innovation is starting to catch up to the demand. Here are examples of both new and old innovation sources that are primed to fulfill corporate needs:

Government / NGO’s

Government agencies / NGOs fund innovation needs via SBIR and other funding mechanisms. Where to find sources of SBIR awardee data? In the US, many agencies make their award recipients public. Not so in Canada, where technology research grants are not made public by government agencies. Every country has nuanced rules regarding government-funded technology programs, making discovery a full-time job for a team of researchers. Finding a comprehensive source of global government research grant data is necessary to uncovering early-stage technology ready for commercialization.

Startups

Startups are an exploding source of new innovation as technology costs drop and disruption becomes a desirable achievement. Interestingly, startup innovation often transcends industries – ex. a healthcare startup may provide technology for the aerospace & defense industry. These cross-industry solutions are extremely desirable and often difficult to identify. Comprehensive startup databases with detailed tagging, filtering and outreach capabilities are essential to uncover the most intriguing early-stage innovation.

Expert Communities

A good source for innovative ideas are communities of experts / professors / scientists. Many experts are part of online communities where they submit ideas to solve corporate needs. One challenge I hear from corporate innovation teams is that the solutions are theoretical – not existing – with many unknowns in the development cycles.

Silicon Valley Corporate Outposts

Increasing in popularity, Silicon Valley outposts bring established companies closer to the mecca of innovation. Having innovation scouts attend events, meet with venture capitalists, and generally tap into the SV startup ecosystem adds new sources of startups to the corporate innovation rolodex. Even the US government is part of the action, with the DOD opening an SV outpost to discover new aerospace & defense innovation.

In conversation, I’ve heard that connecting the dots between startup relationships and operating divisions’ needs is the tricky part.

Coworking spaces / Innovation campuses

Startups love to be around other startups – connecting, sympathizing, supporting each other. Most cities have central startup hubs where startups rent desks and join the startup community. Coworking space and innovation campuses are typically open to corporate partnerships because when their startups succeed, their campus succeeds.

Many campuses now have industry specialties, enabling large companies to experience relevant startup communities. One note – as mentioned earlier, many relevant startups come from a variety of industries. Multiple campus relationships are therefore necessary in order to discover all relevant innovation.

Developer communities / Hackathons

Hackathons work best when corporates are looking to engage with developers around specific initiatives – opening an API, testing new mobile functionality, etc. These events have defined time limits in which submissions must be completed. Great for getting new ideas – not great for getting comprehensive solutions. One definite benefit – letting developer communities know your company is developer-friendly and open for business for developers.

Universities

University-developed technologies are a great source of corporate innovation. Universities spend heavily on research & development, often backed by state governments. Much of the technology is never commercialized, with intellectual property frequently protected by patents filed by inventors. University technologies may be uncovered via corporate partnerships, tech transfer conferences, online marketplaces and more.

Summary

With so many disparate sources, building innovation community relationships is an efficient way to aggregate many technologies / startups through a single channel. Centralizing innovation engagement – a front door for innovation – is essential to keep innovation from falling through the cracks.

Discovery is not the only issue. Disparate sources brings disparate conversations internally – more on this in my next post.

Posted by Michael Goldstein

SwitchPitch Featured on Atlanta’s Dana Barrett Show

This week, SwitchPitch was featured on Dana Barrett’s radio show on Atlanta’s biz1190. Atlanta has so many exciting things going on and we are thrilled to be thrown in the mix with such a spirited and forward-thinking startup scene.

Part One Overview: 

In the first segment you hear from one of our presenting companies– American Cancer Society, who discusses why it’s so beneficial for a nonprofit to have access to startup innovation. They want to make sure that donor dollars are going in the right place, and partnering with startups is a great way to focus on developing innovative solutions to their needs at a fast pace.

Dana goes on to talk about how the disconnect between enterprise and startups is similar to the disconnect between investors and startups. Startups need investors and/or a great client to take it to the next level. Yet what we hear about most are programs like Shark Tank, which focus on connecting startups to investors. This formula is extremely popular, but is it successful? SwitchPitch offers an alternative by focusing on connecting startups to enterprise.

If you look at the fact that Atlanta has 18 Fortune 500 companies, you can see what a tremendous opportunity it is for startups located there to partner with corporations. How can this information be used to leverage Atlanta’s startup community? With events like SwitchPitch.

The truth is, startups fail because of sales. But if they can find a good product fit with a corporation, they have a built-in sales model. Basically the corporation says to the startup, if you make this, I’ll buy it.

Part Two Overview: 

In part two of our takeover of Dana Barrett’s show, Dana opens a discussion on what kind of startups attend events like SwitchPitch. Are they startups with products they hope will match a big company’s needs? Are they startups that are willing to pivot with their product to secure a partnership? Are they startups who have no product at all but a nimble team ready to build whatever solution is needed? The answer is, all of the above.

Also discussed is the benefit of the speed meeting portion of the SwitchPitch event. Startups get to sit down face to face with companies like Cox and Turner Broadcasting Systems and listen to what their real needs are. These are people that are nearly impossible to access without a close connection, much less gain the audience of.

Aside from the insight these meetings can provide, the connection is incredibly valuable. Connections often lead to more connections, the extent of which is impossible to know. These burgeoning connections also enrich the Atlanta startup and veteran business community, giving both sectors access to opportunities they might not have otherwise.

Dana does not believe in luck. She stresses that in all situations, it is imperative to show up, introduce yourself to someone and make your own luck. SwitchPitch definitely provides an excellent venue for making your own luck!

With Atlanta being one of two cities in our country where a Microsoft Innovation Center is located, the secret is out that the city is bursting with talent, energy and potential. SwitchPitch is truly grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the future of Atlanta’s startup scene.

Our 2015 Atlanta event is happening tomorrow, October 15th at the extremely cool Flatiron City. Registration is still open. Secure your spot now and see where SwitchPitch can take your startup!

Four Ways We Think Atlanta Startups Are Making an Impact

The startup scene in Atlanta is rapidly expanding and making an impact within its community. We have noticed four ways Atlanta startups are creating a movement of change.

atlanta with lights

1. Friday Munchies
Atlanta Tech Village, a community of technology and technology-related companies, hosts Friday “chowdowns” where locals are welcome to share a meal with fellow innovators and entrepreneurs. Every Friday at 12 p.m. around 250 people gather for a slice of lunch with a side of creative conversation.

2. Nonprofit Showcase

TEDx Peachtree is a community-driven event showcasing Georgia nonprofits. The event brings a TED-like experience to the state, showcasing thinkers, doers, dreamers and story-tellers in the Atlanta area.

3. Smart Shopping

Sidewalk District is for the tech-savvy fashionistas that want to avoid hum-drum online shops, but struggle to find boutique stores in Atlanta with a strong web presence. Sidewalk District provides a marketplace for local independent stores to connect with consumers via phone, laptop, or tablet.

4. Kids Who Code

Building up the next generation is a top priority for entrepreneurs and technologists in Atlanta. Code Kids Rock offers two programs for kids interested in coding. The first offers activities focused on teaching coding to kids with no prior programming experience in a creative and hands-on way. For serious coders, the second program is taught by previous instructors of Georgia Tech’s College of Computing K-12 programs.

Are you a company in its beginning stages? Are you a venture capitalist intrigued by the promise of budding companies? Come out to SwitchPitch, a role-reversal event where established companies pitch funded innovation projects to qualified startups looking for partners, Thursday, Oct. 15 at FlatironCity.

To learn more about the event, visit bit.ly/1IN4lsU

Five Reasons Why We Love Atlanta

Atlanta Startup Scene
Entrepreneurs are starting to flock to cities with a rising startup culture that rivals those of New York City and San Francisco. Atlanta has quickly become the startup hub of the South. The city’s low cost of living, convenient transportation, rising startup culture and southern hospitality make it the no. 1 moving destination and our next stop on the SwitchPitch tour.

The opportunities Atlanta presents make it impossible for us to resist the city’s southern charm.

1. Low Cost of Living

New businesses typically have limited financial resources when in their early stages. Compared to larger metropolitan areas, Atlanta is a relatively inexpensive city. In the simplest terms it’s cheap living with a big city lifestyle.

2. The World’s Busiest Airport

Hartsfield-Jackson International is located in Atlanta, which means that business travel is easily assessable and more affordable. Atlantans are able to travel in and out of the city without much hassle.

3. Fresh Talent

Atlanta is home to several universities that offer technology degree programs, such as Georgia Tech, Emory University, and Georgia State University. Many of the graduates of these top universities choose to stay in the Atlanta area and have established startups looking for business partners.

4. The Startup Scene

From Atlanta Tech Village to the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), and Opportunity Hub (OHUB), entrepreneurs have a plethora of great spaces to build their startups, increasing the number of them in the city. It doesn’t hurt that Atlanta is home to some startup success stories including Yik Yak and MailChimp.

5. Southern Hospitality

Atlanta offers a friendly quality that isn’t evident in larger cities. We can sense the support from the community, rooting for their local startups’ success. That’s why we included Atlanta as a key market to hit during our tour.

Register now to join us on Thursday, Oct. 15th at FlatironCity in Atlanta.

SwitchPitch is Atlanta-Bound in October to Connect Startups and Enterprise Companies

A role-reversal experience where big brands pitch funded innovation programs to qualified startups

It is not networking. It is deal-making. Established companies are looking to invest in startups by aligning their technology offerings with internal innovation projects. However, large companies often lack the bandwidth to network with credited startups, leaving holes in their developmental program, until now. SwitchPitch, presented by the Metro Atlanta Chamber and Invest Atlanta, is coming to Atlanta, Thursday, October 15 at 1:30 p.m. at FlatironCity. This role-reversal event allows enterprise companies to pitch funded innovation projects to qualified startups looking for the right partners.

“SwitchPitch has successfully connected startups and large companies through live events in targeted locations for three years. Atlanta continues to be a hot market for startup and tech activity and this event offers the perfect breeding ground for connecting big brands to startup resources,” says Michael Goldstein, founder of SwitchPitch.

Not only will this year’s event offer ample time for networking, there will also be an after- party that will include a post-event wrap up discussion where enterprise companies and entrepreneurs have the opportunity to discuss their experience with SwitchPitch and learn more about the newly renovated FlatironCity.

Call for presenters
During the event, large companies have the opportunity to meet and engage with some of the most innovative minds in their communities, allowing for the possibility of long-term relationships. Big brands in the Atlanta area interested in presenting will be joined by brands such as Global Payments and The Weather Company on stage.

“Bringing together a group of entrepreneurs in the early stages of their companies’ development to listen to the challenges that larger companies need to solve creates an environment for creativity and innovation,” explains Ashok Vantipalli. Vice President of Technology at American Cancer Society. “We recently participated in SwitchPitch in D.C. and the experience was remarkable, we were not only able to access local talent and ideas but a national startup network as well, SwitchPitch offers a unique opportunity to build a network, solve problems and foster innovation.”

Startup participation
Startups looking to broaden their network and interact with leaders from enterprise companies within the region are encouraged to register to attend. As part of the agenda, all startups will have the opportunity to listen to pitches presented by big brands as well as attend a speed dating session in which each startup will have time to discuss specific needs and projects with the brands in attendance.

“Since its launch, SwitchPitch has generated $2 million in revenue for startups across the U.S. by holding annual events in cities with high startup activity,” states Jennifer Sherer, Vice President, Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the Metro Atlanta Chamber. “We are excited to bring SwitchPitch back to Atlanta this year to help the startups in our region interact with some of our most reputable Fortune 1000 brands. The energy this event generates is addicting and the results are profound.”
Where to begin
Startups looking to gain exposure to some of the most influential companies in the nation should register here https://connect.switchpitch.com/site/register/t/startup. Similarly, enterprise companies with innovation projects looking to present should visit https://connect.switchpitch.com/site/register/t/bigcompany to learn more about registration.

MEDIA CONTACT
Carrie Crabill
Trevelino/Keller
ccrabill@trevelinokeller.com
404-214-0722 x102

The New Way for Startups to Engage with Large Companies

Connecting with large companies poses a problem for startups and growing businesses for three reasons:

Confused Startup Founder

1. Emails are not routed to the right individuals
2. Companies that need innovative solutions do not have the bandwidth to vet inquiries
3. Startups do not have knowledge of specific project needs

As a result, best-suited startups do not have enough information to craft meaningful proposals and perfect-fit solutions are lost in an abyss of email inboxes.

Traditional pitch competitions rarely lead to actual deals and are not segmented or direct enough to match startup talent with funded projects. During these events, startups feverishly pitch a general overview of their entire product offering because they do not have a clear picture of the project requirements. In the 3-10 minutes allotted to each startup in events such as Hatch Pitch, LAUNCH Festival and FastPitch, startups fail to adequately communicate their value.

Knowledge is power.

What if you could operate from a place of power when proposing your solution to a large company? At SwitchPitch events, large companies describe the precise needs of their funded projects. It is a targeted approach fueled by immediate needs and a willingness to work with early-stage businesses for an infusion of innovative, nimble tactics and startup culture.

Upcoming SwitchPitch Events in Atlanta (October 2015) and New York (November 2015) will provide a forum for large companies to pitch funded projects to startups. Expectations and requirements are clearly defined during five minute presentations. Startups have an opportunity to address those demands in face-to-face, one-on-one meetings with decision-makers at the event.

Can’t make it to an event?

SwitchPitch Connect is a marketplace that allows startups to review the presentations and videos from SwitchPitch Events and respond with targeted solutions. Each submission is reviewed by decision makers and startups are provided with contact information and status updates throughout the process.

Startups get the information they need to approach large companies with customized proposals that address project needs while large companies enjoy a streamlined review process. This innovative approach drives 45 percent of projects to result in deals that, to date, have generated $2 million for startups and growing businesses.

3 Essential Elements of Identifying Best Fit Startups

Partnering with a startup company infuses some of that early-stage mojo into your own business. The excitement and tenacity that embodies a startup has a way of rubbing-off on the larger companies that are fortunate enough to find the right one with which to partner.

IMG_4474

However, identifying the right startup is difficult; there are so many players in the game that weeding through all of the non-starters can look like the first few episodes of America’s Got Talent. But once you find the right one, it’s magic…not only does the startup bring innovation and creative solutions, they are often fiercely committed to the success of the project; for an early stage business, the stakes are high.

So, how can you identify the right startup for your project?

1. Define Skill Sets: Which skill sets do you already have in-house? Which do you need? How are those two sets going to work together to compliment one-another in a team environment?

2. Provocative Project Model: How does your in-house technology benefit the startup? In addition to a contract with a big player, what does the startup have to gain? What are the core values of your business and how do those align with the startup. A startup that is equally interested in why you do business as it is in how you do business is thinking ahead and assessing company dynamics. They are often looking to create the basis for a long-term partnership and not just a quick buck.

3. Clear Objectives: What does success look like? Explain your project in terms of quantifiable goals; clearly establish your intention and work with the startup to identify a common set of metrics to measure the project throughout its lifecycle.

Working with the right startup provides large companies with an opportunity to gain access to emerging technology before the rest of the marketplace. The key to a fulfilling and mutually beneficial partnership is in clearly establishing the goals and expectations of the project and identifying an early-stage company that aligns with your core values.

4 Ways to Create a Business Partnership that Increases Flexibility and Agility

Business development partnerships are quickly replacing traditional resourcing plans to keep pace with marketplace demands for agile, flexible responses. Through these partnerships, businesses gain access to fresh talent and a startup mentality that infuses innovative culture and skills into existing teams without the burdens associated with traditional headcount.

Conventional talent acquisition methods require extensive, often painful, recruitment methods that promote long-term commitments and discourage team flexibility. This limits the ability of the business to meet changing needs and creates an environment that promotes reactive resource planning over proactive planning.

Hire startups instead of traditional recruiting

Business development partnerships provide a reliable, low-cost resource plan that allows companies to apply talent when the need demands. Crucial to the success of the partnership is a strategy that prizes clear communication of project needs and expectations.

To ensure that your partnership is success:

1. Articulate Business Needs. Conduct a detailed analysis of current needs and projected future needs. Translate this list into structured requirements that clearly link business needs to partner requirements.

2. Define the Need/Role. Determine the skill level and business involvement expectations. Will the partnership fill a critical, specialist or operational role?

3. Create a Comprehensive Picture of an Ideal Fit. Traditional recruitment methods cannot begin without a clearly defined job description. Apply the same care when defining potential business development partner’s qualities, skills, experience, team composition and strategic offerings.

4. Prioritize Requirements. Further categorize this comprehensive list by breaking requirements into wants, needs and amazing. The requirements that belong in “wants and needs” are easily determined. However, there may be some qualities that are so amazing the business would consider a partnership even if a few needs were missing. These are the traits that clearly give any potential partner a leading edge.

digital-catapult

Business development partnerships provide an excellent alternative to traditional staffing methods which can be time consuming and limiting to long-term, strategic business growth.

Startups and large companies – SwitchPitch is rolling out 10 events over the next 12 months. Be on the lookout for our full event calendar coming soon!

Also, check out our new startup video here.

3 Ways Startups Force Big Companies to be More Innovative

Use Startups to Innovate

The behemoth size and ingrained processes of many big companies make it difficult to quickly respond to today’s fast paced business environment. A high-level perspective governs decision-making which is based on legacy products and past experiences.

By comparison, startups are agile and employ fewer employees operating close to the ground; often through individual communications with clients. This niche-level perspective allows teams to gain client insight and quickly adapt to emerging trends.

Partnering with startups, especially those still young enough to question processes and challenge the status-quo, is an excellent way of infusing a startup vibe into big-business offices.

1. Constant Flow of New Ideas

Startup teams are encouraged to chase disruptive innovation while large companies value process improvements. This focus, coupled with a mindset based in risk aversion, encourages large companies to sacrifice innovation. Challenging traditional thinking is born from the youthful naiveté and minimal histories of startup companies which have a way of bleeding this thinking into their partners.

2. Cost Efficiencies

Startup teams are resourceful and focused on developing products that provide quick cash infusions; on creating something that is worth paying for instead of a product that simply meets the specification.
Additionally, they are often staffed by resources fresh on the professional scene; as a result, salaries are lower and soft-benefits comprise a portion of their compensation package.

3. Niche Experience

The narrow focus of startup companies often comes from the talent of team; resources deep-dive into a very specific niche and become experts or even leaders within the space. This dynamic is most evident when partnered with a startup with inventor-level resources on staff. The business gains access to the developers of the product and leverages this talent to achieve employee buy-in and decrease learning curves.

Big companies have a way of falling into a rut; a behavior that is rewarded with incremental gains and slow growth. Startups are marked by rapid acceleration; the business may grow by 50 or even 80 percent in a single year. A partnership with a startup that values rapid growth potential and innovative thinking jump starts creative juices.

Startups and large companies – SwitchPitch is rolling out 10 events over the next 12 months. Be on the lookout for our full event calendar coming soon!

Also, check out our new startup video here.

5 Big Company Objections to Working with Startups

SwitchPitch atlanta

In my last post I outlined three important reasons big companies should partner with startups. I’ll now delve deeper into the common objections I typically hear from large companies regarding these partnership. In addition to listing these objections I will respond to each.

The objections I hear most often from the front lines of large companies:

1. Not a priority; they have too much else going on
2. No internal owner to manage the projects and/or startups
3. Needs are too proprietary to have external discussions
4. We’re happy with our current suppliers/vendors
5
. We do our own outreach (this answer is incredibly popular in Silicon Valley)

My response to these objections:

1. Not a priority – it will be, you may want to at least know who’s going to eat your lunch next year
2. No owner – it depends on the company, but usually every organization has a few entrepreneurial/intrapreneurial people who would love to own these projects
3. Too proprietary – even Apple lists job openings for automotive industry experts. There is no need to be specific, let the startups come to you with solutions
4. Happy with suppliers – hmm…I was happy with over-the-air tv until I saw cable. I was happy with standard definition until I saw high definition and so on…
5. Own outreach – in the HR world, do big companies only list their jobs on their own sites? Sure if they want 4 resumes, but if they want 400, they go to where the job seekers are like indeed, Linkedin, Monster. Go to where the startups are…

Top 3 Reasons Big Companies Need Startups

DSC_5584

Nothing frustrates me more than complacency. When I hear large companies in legacy industries happy with their pace of change and innovation, I’m tempted to short their stock. Market share doesn’t take long to erode, especially when technology costs have largely become a level playing field for companies across the board.

Knowing this, I’m making a case for large companies to engage with early stage companies on a regular basis. Why? Simple, to remain competitive in the market by gaining access to the most innovative, earliest stage technology available.

Are there risks associated with this approach? Sure. But in my opinion, it’s riskier to not take this approach.

Here are the top three reasons why startups are an incredible resource for large companies:

1. New ideas: The technology cost for startups to create innovative solutions has significantly decreased, meaning more advanced innovation is taking place with very small teams.

2. Efficiency: Many times, the fastest and most efficient way to market is to buy – rather than build – and get market validation.

3. Cost: Compared to the “go-to” vendors like Accenture, startups are a bargain.

Unfortunately, big companies may have to deal with internal objections when wanting to work with startups. Next week we will address how to overcome those internal objections.

5 Ways to Avoid BD Pitfalls between Big Businesses and Startups

miscommunication

As SwitchPitch’s founder, my mission is to help big companies and startups get deals done. Throughout the process, we hear from both sides when they have successes and when they run into stumbling blocks. Often times those stumbling blocks come down to miscommunication.

Here are some examples of what big businesses say and what startups hear.

1. Big Business Says... “We’re launching a global innovation center.”
Startup Hears…”We’re getting plugged into their resources and ecosystem!”

Reality: Big companies do create innovation centers to foster, incubate and/or invest in new ideas, as well as attract small businesses with fresh ideas. But startups need to do homework to distinguish between an innovation center that is active and funded and has a real mission vs. one whose primary role is to create an image of innovation for the brand.”

2. Big Business Says… “We’re open to anything in terms of product and features.”
Startup Hears…”Our product is spot-on with their needs!”

Reality: Startups take this to mean their solutions are a direct hit with what the big business needs. Sometimes big businesses don’t know what they need or want. Sometimes they know but don’t or can’t share because the information is proprietary. By setting realistic expectations, big businesses can keep startups from leaping to the conclusion that it’s a wide-open situation for which they can deliver the perfect solution.

3. Big Business Says… “We’re really interested in your company.”
Startup Hears…“They see the value in what we’ve built and love the team!”

Reality: Startups take this to mean the big business understand the impact of what they’ve built when in actuality there’s a good chance it’s the startup’s founder and co-founder they want. “Acquihires,” when startups are acquired more for their innovative talent than their product, are becoming more common as a way for big companies to get an infusion of innovative DNA.

4. Big Business Says…“Our engineers can’t seem to build what you’ve got.”
Startup Hears….”Innovation just isn’t in their DNA.”

Reality: The big company may be running out of time waiting for the internal R&D or a product team to deliver. This is where a startup can fill the fast need. Or the large business may be close to launching and wants to see what else is out there in terms of features and value—to help spur their internal folks to make the product even better.

5. Big Business Says…Nothing for 2 months.
Startup Hears…”Maybe we should go ahead and build those features they mentioned.”

Reality: This is a tough one, because nothing drives startups crazier than radio silence—especially after they think they’ve garnered good traction. While priorities may have shifted internally, keeping in touch will keep the startup from moving on. In other cases it is simply time to move on. If the big company resurfaces, great. But the reality is that startups—like big companies—need to have multiple irons in the fire.

The Bottom Line

Big companies – try to keep the lines of communication with startups open. You play a critical role in sponsoring and spurring the innovations about which they are so passionate—and on which much of our economy depends.

Do you have examples of typical miscommunications between startups and big businesses? We’d love to see them—just use the “Comments” field below.

11 SwitchPitch Projects Expiring August 8th

As a heads-up, there are 11 large-scale corporate innovation projects whose bidding deadlines are on August 8th. The majority of projects listed on our platform are currently Marketing projects, Data-intensive, and/or involve Mobile/Web Development.

Some of the projects on our platform expiring August 8th are:

* Leveraging Social Media by The Washiongton Redskins (Marketing)
* P2P Communications Prototype by HP (Mobile Dev)
* Content Aggregation Platform by Warner Brothers (Web Dev & Data-Intensive)
* Aircraft Design Game Simulation by Boeing (Game Dev)
* iOS Device Meter by comScore  (Mobile Dev)
* …and 6 more listed on our platform that can be seen by logging into your existing SwitchPitch account

To date, most projects listed on our platform still have fewer than 10 bids, which makes your odds pretty favorable considering these projects are typically $25k – $100k in scale and give way to creating longer-term corporate partnerships.

Sign in to SwitchPitch Connect now to check out available projects from all recent events, and watch their presentations. We don’t want you to miss out.

SwitchPitch DC 2014: Meet the Presenting Companies

On Thursday March 27th, SwitchPitch returns to D.C. to match-make startups with big companies.  We believe that partnerships between large companies and startups are a huge benefit to both.

Here’s a basic review of how it works: Large companies who need nimble startups to tackle their fully funded innovation projects pitch their projects to the D.C. startup and tech community. Startups in attendance sit back and relax, come up with solutions to the pitched projects, and apply via our online platform to score those projects, post-event.

There are nine amazing companies presenting projects for startups at this week’s event. While we can’t tell you specifics, we can tell you who they are.

The Washington Redskins
Washington_Redskins3
The Washington Redskins are a professional American football team located in Washington DC. According to Forbes Magazine, the Redskins are the third most valuable franchise in the NFL behind the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots, and were valued at approximately $1.6 billion as of 2013. They have also broken the NFL’s mark for single-season attendance nine years in a row.

The Washington Post


The Washington Post is the most widely circulated newspaper published in Washington, D.C., and was founded in 1877, making it the area’s oldest extant newspaper.

Population Council

The Population Council is an international, nonprofit, non-governmental organization. The Council conducts biomedical, social science, and public health research and helps build research capacities in developing countries. One-third of its research relates to HIV and AIDS; its other major program areas are reproductive health and poverty, youth, and gender.

PBS

PBS is the most prominent provider of television programs to public television stations in the United States. Since the mid-2000s, Roper polls commissioned by PBS have consistently placed the service as America’s most-trusted national institution.

NPR

NPR is a privately and publicly funded non-profit membership media organization that serves as a national syndicator to a network of 900 public radio stations in the United States.

Monumental Sports

Monumental Sports & Entertainment owns the NBA’s Washington Wizards, NHL’s Washington Capitals and the WNBA’s Washington Mystics. Monumental Sports additionally owns the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. and manages the Kettler Capitals Iceplex and George Mason University’s Patriot Center. Formed in 2010, Monumental Sports & Entertainment is the only privately held company in a top-10 market to own and operate three professional sports teams and its arena. In January 2013 Monumental Sports & Entertainment launched Monumental Network, a digital platform that serves as a hub for Washington’s sports and entertainment news.

Georgetown University

Georgetown University is a private research university in Washington, D.C. and was founded in 1789.

comScore

comScore is an American Internet analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to many of the world’s largest enterprises, agencies, and publishers.

Colliers International

Colliers International is a global commercial real estate services organization with approximately 15,000 employees in more than 482 offices in 62 countries. They provide a range of services to commercial real estate users, owners, investors and developers worldwide. The organization serves the hotel, industrial, mixed-use, office, retail and residential property sectors.

The event kicks off at 1:30PM at Arena Stage, 1101 6th Street SW.

Be there.

Don’t have your tickets? Register here.

SwitchPitch Empowers Business Development Deal Between Assurant and Codelitt

Assurant contracts with startup for an innovation project it pitched at SwitchPitch NYC

SwitchPitch New York presenter Assurant, “the premier provider of specialized insurance products and related services in North America and select worldwide markets,” has contracted with New York City startup codelitt. Both participated in our SwitchPitch New York event, and connected post event via our online platform.

Assurant and Startup CodeLitt form successful partnership thanks to SwitchPitch The two will be working together to meet Assurant’s goal to build a digital warranty platform. This platform will act as a single place to store and track all of a person’s purchases and associated warranties. Consumers can take a picture of their receipt (if purchased in retail store) or forward their purchase confirmation (if purchased online) to the interface and have that information in an organized, safe place. They can then be informed of when their warranty will expire, get any updates from the manufacturer, or choose to purchase additional protection for their products.

This is one of three projects Assurant presented at our SwitchPitch New York event. Watch them present their three projects below, live from SwitchPitch, at the NYU Skirball Center.

You can view all of the presentations from SwitchPitch New York on our website.

Codelitt, the startup they’ve contracted for this project, works with clients to define, conceptualize, prototype, and create new technology and emerging media products. The products range from web and mobile applications, to custom operating systems, to integration of technology platforms.

We are very excited to see the innovative solutions codelitt will provide for Assurant and are enormously happy we were able to help facilitate this partnership.