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Start-Up Partnerships

Throughout the past two-and-a-half years, the approach to innovation has evolved. While common themes have emerged, different organizations have chosen distinct paths. Front End of Innovation returns October 19-21 in Boston, MA to celebrate lessons learned together in person.

But the FEI Advisory Board has tasked us with bringing the community together throughout the next few months so we can begin the conversation. And so, please join us On The Road to FEI. The road trip features interviews with Advisory Board members and speakers. The video within this piece features FEI Advisory Board Member Navin Kunde sharing a number of thoughts, including, “Innovation success is balancing short and long-term mindsets.” And we’re providing the opportunity to gather through roundtable discussions each month leading up to FEI.

Our third roundtable discussion focuses on partnerships between start-ups and corporations. Watch the video on demand.

On one hand, the concept of Corporations and Start-ups partnering makes perfect sense. One side of the partnership is traditionally slower and more conservative based on the fact that tried and true processes have brought scale to a successful organization. The other side of the partnership is traditionally quicker and more progressive based on the fact that an unserved need has been identified and a small group of risk-takers has the skills to fill that need…but not the scale or processes necessary for success. 

In the best case scenario, a partnership is formed and a corporation and start-up conceive of a completely new way of seamlessly doing business that delights current and new customers leading to greater current market share and eventually introductions into new markets with profits galore for everyone involved.


11:00AM: Start-up Partnership Dynamics 

Chris Varley, Principal, Goodyear Ventures, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company Scot Wingo, CEO, Spiffy 

  • Looking back at past partnerships and understanding lessons learned from failures and successes
  • Blending faster/cheaper and bigger/better within a structure that works for each entity
  • Examining new partnerships with evolved systems of engagement
  • Ensuring that each partnership is viewed as a unique collaboration while infusing each combined initiative with overall established wisdom

11:20AM: Start-up or Corporate Both Sides Of The Brain

Garret Westlake, Ph.D., Associate Vice Provost for Innovation & Executive Director, Virginia Commonwealth UniversityIsaiah Harvin, Senior Product Manager, User Signals, Disney Streaming  Aaron Forrester, Director of Product Design, CarMax

  • How can folks engage tools like a two-sport athlete might?
  • What makes start-up folks successful for corp and vice versa?
  • What are we looking for regarding the possible propensity for success in our people?
  • Avoiding burnout by consistently jumping the fence 

11:40AM: Understanding the Corporate Start-Up Partnership Landscape

Bahareh Haji-saeed, Ph.D., Director, External Engagements- Technology Scouting, BAE Systems Ernesto C. Martinez-Villalpando, Ph.D., Head of Corporate Development and Innovation, MassChallenge

  • Affecting impact in the industries that matter
  • Keys to success for corporate innovation through partnership with start-ups
  • Spurring a business model change trend 
  • Realizing trends in innovation on a global scale with a particular focus on ESG

Watch the video on demand


  • Seth Adler

    Seth Adler heads up All Things Insights & All Things Innovation. He has spent his career bringing people together around content. He has a dynamic background producing events, podcasts, video, and the written word.


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