How Corporates Pitch to Startups

Every corporation has a version of 6 or 12 month planning outlining goals to be accomplished and an associated budget. The goals often require contracting with outside partners, including startups especially for innovative corporations that want to maintain or build a competitive advantage by looking for the “next new thing.” To be successful, the key question is “How and where do corporations look for startups?”

How it Works

Goals often highlight the need to fill a capability gap. Subject matter experts (SMEs) inside the corporation are very articulate about what exists today and what’s missing. However, they don’t always know what the best solution might be. Instead of spending time online or going to conferences to search with a vague idea of a solution, it’s more efficient for the SME to create a business use case and a reverse pitch.

The business use case is a description of the problem, the current state, the desired future state and possible solutions that have either been considered or already tried. The business use case creates structure for the challenge and provides the necessary background for the startups who are seeking to understand how they can help the business. The business use case can be further analyzed to estimate the business value, KPIs, budget, and potentially an RoI.

Getting it Done

The reverse pitch is structured to recruit startups to work on the business use case. The reverse pitch is a short summary of the business challenge which can be circulated to startups through a sourcing channel such as SwitchPitch. The reverse pitch strategy works well across the corporation and with a diversity of topics. Corporations can have just one or dozens of reverse pitch searches playing out at any one time, maximizing returns with minimal effort.

Startups registered with SwitchPitch or other sourcing channels will received the reverse pitch with the business use case background. Startups will self-select if they can help the corporation. Startups apply to the reverse pitch. Because the reverse pitch is connected to a current need, the business is aligned and willing to discuss potential solutions, moving quickly to implement a proof of concept or even larger scale test. The corporation and startup matchmaking friction is minimized.


The reverse pitch is tested and it works. Recently a SwitchPitch and N3 Innovation client posted a reverse pitch for a cutting edge sensor technology. Within the two week deadline, four viable startups responded and were available to discuss their offer in more detail. The startups saved business development cycles and the corporation saved time in research and sifting through hundreds of startups to find the few that are the best match for the business use case.

Want to learn more about a reverse pitch or business use case? Contact Amie Gray at N3 Innovation or Michael Goldstein at SwitchPitch.

Guest post written by Amie Gray, Founder of N3 Innovation

How Corporates Pitch to StartupsEvery corporation has a version of 6 or 12 month planning outlining goals to be
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