Startups <> Corporates
Selling to, and collaborating with large companies
dec 4 | friday
Founder Academy
Mathieu Guerville
Founder & CEO @
Walking the walk
>10 years of corporate innovation (consultant + public & private sector)
> 5 years of startups (solo founder, 500 Startups alumni)

Talking the talk
> 5 years public speaking, 50+ clients, 3 continents
> 2 years of academia, adjunct prof at top 20 global MBA program

Betting the farm
> 75 angel investments + 8 VC investments
> 10 Mentor + advisor roles (alchemist accelerator, ie ventures, etc.)
How startups work
(80% of the time)
1. Idea
Insights from the market trigger an idea and soon after a (often naive) vision for bringing it to life
2. Execution
Small team with a singular problem and a sense of urgency created by unprofitable P&L and pressure from investors.
4. Scale
Startups who survive (first milestone) then focus on scaling, while trying to avoid becoming just like their larger competitors (by having ping pong tables)
3. Iteration
Mistakes happen, assumptions are disproved and it's time to change tracks when you realize the current one heads towards a cliff
How corporates work
(80% of the time)
1. Idea
Coming from a conference room so far into the building the outside light doesn't get in, let alone outside ideas.
2. Internal negotiations
To become a project, and idea needs to became a deck, which goes through 10 revisions, and then through 3 layers of approvals, getting more diluted everytime.
4. Resources allocation
People weigh in the odds of success of the project as they plan their career track in the company, lowly qualified opportunists and high potential but unmotivated people get assigned to the project.
3. Backstabbing and politics
Some people who publicly agreed to back the project now work to undermine it, drag their feet, or ask for favors in return for support.
5. Scheduling wack-a-mole
Cross functional team, differing sense of priorities, and just like that it takes 2 weeks to schedule a meeting, that will take place in 4 weeks, and be rescheduled twice.
6. Execution
People work in silos, with some misunderstanding about the general direction compounded by the distractions, lag and slow pace between meetings.
8. Zombie project
Creative accounting manages to make the project look "OK" so the sponsors save face, and most of the team returns to their normal roles
7. Change of direction
Usually as a result of new strategic planning exercise. Or the CEO read a business book they now use for every decision.
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