I work as an advisor for companies looking to build successful strategic partnerships. Most of my clients are startups. I also enjoy working with investors in regard to portfolio firms and community/ecosystem initiatives.
Over the years, I have collaborated with companies in fintech, healthcare, deep tech, and beyond. Before working with tech startups, I helped arrange partnerships for projects with close links to the music industry. I also occasionally work with individuals, corporates and universities. I often get asked how that works – so I wrote about it here.
Why can partnerships be useful?
There are many examples where strategic partnerships played a key role in taking companies to the next level. More on that soon.
How exactly do I help companies that are looking to build partnerships?
My process for working with clients is that I usually serve as the lead for one major collaboration that has an impact on the entire slope of the company. While doing so, my approach is to teach the principles to the team and help them acquire the necessary skills through osmosis. That way they can lead similar initiatives themselves in the future.
Some of the issues we are working on:
- Plan (why/what/how)
- Process and phases
- Alignment with your strategic priorities and goals
- Ideation (deep-dive into the network, seeing connections, understanding the “zeitgeist” for potential partnerships)
- Scanning the industry and making recommendations
- Preparing the pitch to potential partners
- Intros to potential partners
- Mapping all relevant stakeholders
- Negotiate and close deals
- Help draft fee structure and develop co-marketing initiatives
- Project management around the implementation of the partnership with both teams
- Budget allocation
- Risk management
- Help you tell the story and communicate the value internally (team/board) and externally (customers/community/potential investors/talent/press).
- Support with writing, persuasion, and the overall comms strategy
- Driving activities around trust building between parties
- Optimize for speed
- How to measure success (both quantitatively and qualitatively)
- Share best practices from some of the leading tech companies
What are some typical challenges that often occur with new partnerships?
- No clear objective
- Not knowing how to find the right strategic partner
- Not focused on priorities of each company
- Wasting resources with the wrong candidates
- No proven and repeatable process
- No “map” of all the stakeholders
- No clear lead
- Small companies vs. big companies
- Different (business) cultures, languages, or ways of working
- Incentives not aligned
- Zero-sum setups
I have been working on strategic partnerships for more than 10 years. I’m good at seeing potential connections, helping evaluate them, negotiate/close deals and getting the collaborations shipped. Sometimes my role is to explain why it does not make sense for a company to think about partnerships – for example, if a startup is pre-PMF.
What are some examples of partnerships I have worked on?
I initially started out in the music industry, where I was in charge of collaborations with artists like Rihanna, Timbaland and athletes like Derek Jeter (former captain of the NY Yankees).
Since my career transition to tech, I have worked primarily with startups (pre-seed to Series B). In addition to this, I occasionally work with selected corporates – for example, one of Europe’s leading payment processing providers. I have also advised a German university on its ecosystem strategy for students that want to turn their scientific inventions into startups.
What motivates me?
I want to support the rebel entrepreneurs, engineers, and scientists of the future. I want to support the highest-performing individuals and companies in their fields. I believe in the value that will can be created by seeing connections where other people aren’t even looking. In my opinion, one of the keys to making companies successful and having the highest possible impact on the world is non-linear opportunities – I want to help spot them.
Want to get started or learn more?