[UniverCité] Dear Corporate, here is how NOT to work with startups – part 1

[UniverCité] Dear Corporate, here is how NOT to work with startups – part 1

In this article I try to convey some of the learnings of the last 7 years at the head of a start-up trying to bring a deeply integrated SaaS to very large1 companies. We have been asked many times to talk about the startup perspective on the collaboration between startups and corporates, so here it is. 

First, for a little bit of context: Our company GenLots recommends large manufacturing companies when to order how much external production materials using proprietary AI. For this we use data from the ERP such as SAP. 

For us, naively, this looked like a no-brainer when we started. 1) the impact is very big ($ millions of potential cost savings per year), 2) integration is fast (within weeks), 3) no current processes have to be changed. 

The view from the corporate perspective, unfortunately, has been very far from a no-brainer. We had many objections such as 1) “It is risky to work with start-ups, especially with one which integrates deeply with our ERP, the cradle of our most sensitive data”, 2) “This is not on my 2 year IT roadmap, how am I going to explain this to my boss and do the project in parallel with 5 others” and  3) “I first have to have good master data and do X, Y and Z before optimizing orders” . 

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