Many large firms find it hard to gain popularity with startups or even know how to begin trying to be seen by the community. In Silicon Valley most of the big tech firms are all well regarded in the startup world and are deeply integrated within the global startup community. So how do they do it? Here’s what some of the Silicon Valley giants are doing to contribute to the global startup community.
Google are the real champions of embracing the startup community. They get involved and help out startups worldwide through a number of different means.
Through Google Ventures, invest in startups from as early as seed stage but that’s not all. For all the companies in their portfolio they provide workshops, help out with different aspects of the company such as design, marketing and engineering as well as helping out with the recruiting of staff.
Away from the venturing arm, Google are also involved in a number of events. Their initiative Google for Entrepreneurs provides a greater community for startups through the development of hubs as well as event sponsorship. One of their most famous developments is Google Campus in London which has become a hot-spot of startup activity.
Microsoft are also doing a good job as a pillar of the corporate-startup community. Their BizSpark initiative is one way they achieve this status. The program offers startups free software, free support and free access into Windows stores – and to top it off signing up is free.
Their investment arm, Microsoft Ventures, also keeps them heavily involved in the global startup community in a number of different ways. Through Microsoft Ventures they have set up an accelerator in London, innovation centres offering skills, training and mentorship for entrepreneurs and also a fund for early stage startups.
But the key to Microsoft’s success is their genuine willingness to be helpful. In an earlier post we gave insight into what Microsoft see as a priority when working in the startup community – and it’s not just for their own personal gain. Rahul Sood, GM of Microsoft Ventures, told the Global Corporate Venturing Symposium that for them the most important thing is to connect startups to customers and help them scale.
Cisco, unlike Google, may not spring to mind when you think about giant technology corporations working with startups but their efforts are not going unnoticed. Their “Entrepreneurs in Residence” incubation program is aimed at early stage startups giving them access to funding, the ability to collaborate with Cisco and offers them the use of engineering teams. Similarly to both Google and Microsoft, they also have a venture arm which invests in startups.
Jim Grubb, Vice President of emerging technologies at Cisco, spoke about how they get involved in the startup community and why during a Virgin Disruptors panel in May. He said: “We do a lot of innovation internally… but we also buy companies when we’ve found that we’ve missed a transition, that we didn’t see some new interesting thing comes along. We’ve had that a lot, this year in particular, of great acquisitions for security technology. And we partner of course… with companies that build more vertical solutions. We [also] do these kinds of things to spur innovation like prize competitions that we run. Recently around the Internet of everything we’re setting up innovation centers around the world in different places to foster all the new things that we’re going to be able to do.”
Do you know any other companies who are doing great things in the startup community? Contribute below!
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