Creating a manifesto for the startup / corporate relations by Le Village – Episode 15 min read

Un groupe de personnes travaillent ensemble dans une salle

On July the 22nd, I had the opportunity to take part in a workshop about the creation of a manifesto. The purpose of this manifesto is to gather the best practices to guide startups and coporates through an healthy relation.

But before explaining the work accomplished during this workshop, I must tell the series of events leading to this very interesting initiative.

The French Tech Barometer of Startup-Corporate Collaborations in France

In 2017, the French Tech association published a very interesting 80 pages report explaining how startups and corporates work together.

41 corporates have shared their experience on those collaborations. Amongst lots of statistics, there is also lots of feedback on the best practices of both sides.

Then you have precise case studies with long interviews from the corporate side. Each of them focus on a specific painful point of the collaboration: purchasing, open innovation, scalability, …

We could argue this report lack of startup big interviews. It would be very interesting to have an open point of view from the startup side. But anyway, this report is still very enlightening for any part on the other and I strongly recommend to read it.

Le Village takes over

Le Village by CA is a french accelerator network with more than 30 offices. For several years now, the Paris office has continued the study. It does not perform deep interviews but thanks to its large geographic coverage, it can reach lots of companies to take part in the study.

Here are the results I found for the following editions:

A collaborative webinar during the lockdown

In France, the lockdown due to the COVID pandemic started mid-march and ended in the beginning of may. As it was probably the same all over the world, during this period there were lots and lots of webinars. From amazing quality to very poor subjects.

The Village did one that pleased me a lot: “Club Corporate – Comment la crise doit nous amener à changer notre façon de collaborer entre startups et grands groupes“. It can be translated as “How the crisis must make us change our way to collaborate between startups and companies” (the replay is only in french). I liked it because it was very collaborative: after the hosts explained the purpose of each part of the webinar, we were invited to work on it in real time through the Klaxoon platform (which is a kind of virtual whiteboard). We were asked what are our best practices to lead the collaboration, what we expect from the other side and what could improve the relation. There were people from the corporate and the startup world in even proportions.

Amongst several suggestions, one element that arose was to have some kind of guidelines approved by both sides, corporate and startup, that could settle the relation and lead the collaboration.

A couple of weeks later, Le Village asked the participants if they were interested in joining a workshop to kickstart this manifesto.

The workshop

So on the 22nd of July, around forty startups and corporates met at Le Village.

Group of people listening to hosts

After a brief presentation of the results of the 2020 barometer, the hosts randomly dispatched us in 4 rooms, managed by two members of Le Village, to work on the following topics:

  • Rapidy
  • Simplicity
  • Benevolence
  • Value creation

With one other startup and 5 corporates, me and my group worked on Simplicity: what can be done to make the collaboration simpler.

After a round of presentation, everyone shared its point of view. As a startup, I find it very refreshing to openly talk with corporates about their relations toward my kind of company without any commercial interest. I realize some unproductive startup behaviours I didn’t expect. I must confess that I was guilty of some of them too. Those anecdotes echoed talks I had with corporates. Rapidly, in less than 2 hours, we forged some elements to simplify the relation. Then a corporate and I were chosen to present our first ideas to the whole group.

Everybody went back to the conference rooms and all the ambassadors successively explained their team work.

To conclude this workshop, Le Village hosts gave us an new appointment for sSeptember They collected all our suggestions and they will build the first revision of the manifesto during the summer. So we will all come back to collectively review this first draft.

Conclusion

When it first came out in 2017, I really enjoyed reading the French Tech barometer. I was an amazing source of information to manage the first negotiations with a corporate. I was expecting the second edition but I didn’t noticed Le Village was in charge then. It is really by chance that I took part in the webinar that lead me to take part in the workshop. I am very glad to have the opportunity to give my humble feedback and today I will follow very closely the building of this manifesto.

Even if the development of startup has exploded for several years (maybe a decade now) and even if numerous corporates have created structures to efficiently collaborate with them, I feel like there is still a lot to do. But this Village workshop, some MOOCs and several other initiatives tells me there is a collective awareness of the need for those actors to improve their work together. And I am very enthusiastic for the upcoming months and years.

See you in September for Episode 2.

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