Startup Synergy: Tips for Startup Partnerships

We talk a lot about corporate-startup partnerships, providing tips best practices, and experiences from both sides. But the synergy that can come from a partnership between two different business categories can also exist between those of the same group.

If you were following us in lead up to Amsterdam Capital Week, you’ll know we had the pleasure of partnering with both Professional Rebel and Uprise Startup Festival in their respective events for that week. In establishing those partnerships, we’ve learned a few lessons of our own and have some best practices to offer.

Here are our tips for those on the cusp of or considering entering a partnership with another startup:

1. Make the terms of your exchange understood and in writing: Misunderstandings within an organization are common, so when you add external variables, the opportunity for misalignment becomes much greater. Partnerships are meant to be mutually beneficial, so to avoid any confusion, determine your respective responsibilities at the outset.

2. Develop a project plan and timeline: Collaborating with others requires a bit of project management. After all, if there is an outcome to your partnership (be it physical, like an event, or something less concrete like a client referral), setting a deadline and delivery projection gives each party expectations to meet. Properly planning prompts action and puts you on a joint path for achieving the most of your collaboration.

3. Arrange check-in points and follow-ups: As mentioned in the above, setting expectations is key in yielding best results. Sometimes plans change and details need to be tweaked. Checking in regularly reduces the possibility for miscommunication and allows any changes to be proactive rather than reactive.

4. Determine marketing and PR representation from the start: Having the ability to tap into another company’s network is one of the most compelling reasons to create a partnership, so deciding how you’ll co-brand should be one of the initial steps in your collaboration.

5. Be transparent: Make your intentions and agenda known throughout the journey of your partnership to ensure the best outcome and provide the ability for additional collaboration opportunities. Don’t forget, partnering with external parties is reputation building and can provide long term value within your community.