• Innovantage Partners

Virtual open innovation in the post CoronaCovid-19 era PART 2

Personalized scouting. To recognise efficiently

relevant startups, corporates require personalized

support at innovation hubs. Local scouting experts

on the ground have ears and eyes open,

continuously being faced with people and

technology at meetings, meet-ups and conferences.

Together corporates and tech scouts discuss and

align search criteria and scouting mandates to

respond to priority innovation gaps. Initial focus is

given on high profile challenges within a preliminary

scope to ensure resource allocation and timely

execution. The proprietary know-how of a startup

needs to resolve a major pain point, if it is a nice-to-

have solution then success will not be sufficiently

appreciated by key stakeholders. A smaller more

manageable scope hedges some of the risks of

failure. To be in sync with corporate requirements,

local tech scouts team up with the project manager

abroad at HQ. This helps supporting also adjacent

activities to core scouting such as due diligence,

proof of concept, pilot or contract negotiation locally

both for an investment opportunity or partnership

with the startup.

For example, the Israeli ecosystem has the unique

advantage of being the tech hub with the most

dense numbers of startups per capita and highest

startup funding per capita in the world. Foreign

executives confirm that scouting here allows for fast

access to a large average number of high quality

tech startups within a small and accessible physical

space. The Tel Aviv ecosystem is very personal and

dynamic, tech events and gatherings occur on a

daily basis often doubling up. Virtual access to such

personal meetings are challenging. Partnering with

a local scout is crucial to benefit from personal

approachability, to sense what is happening behind

close curtains and not shared on the webpages and

to quickly discuss ideas informally with relevant

experts. This personal ecosystem network

generates trusted deal-flow and acts as a friendly


Startup demo. Remote digital communication will

further increase in importance post Corona Covid-

19. It boosts flexibility through virtual collaboration

with startup live demos, topical expert roundtables

or personalized roadshows. Virtual meetings do not

restrict attendance due to cost or logistical reasons.

A combined online audience of business and

technical experts across seniority levels improves

understanding, buy-in and decision-making. An

empowered local tech scouting partner understands

the client’s corporate requirements and is able to

convey the message to the entrepreneur. In

particular, inexperienced early stage startups need

to be taken by the hand and require more guidance

by the local scout; however their technology is often

very innovative and disruptive, they can provide a

clear competitive advantage for the corporate

partner. Tech scouts leverage their previous project

experience to support the engagement and

communication between small startups and large

corporates until go-live.

For example, frustration grows quickly when live

demos and relevant use-cases have not been

understood by the startup. Upfront alignment with

the corporate and preparation of the local startup to

meet their client’s specific requirements is decisive

in running successful virtual meetings. We see that

Israeli startups and German corporates complement

each other very well. Contrary to Silicon Valley,

both countries have working cultures which are very

direct; and the innovative Israeli startups own deep

tech know-how, whereas the traditional Germanic

industries have strong business acumen – both

parties naturally feed into each other.

Innovation buddy. Corporate open innovation

generates further ongoing value from a continuous

and sustainable scouting partnership. Local scouts

constantly observe the tech ecosystem. They track

how investments are shaping the market, which

innovations are being pursued by which companies,

and seek out innovations with additional potential

for applications across verticals. Long-term

corporate scouting partnerships enable scouts to

better get to know client’s future strategic

requirements, allowing them to foresee the

business’ future needs. They plan ahead to

introduce unmentioned innovations, identify startups

in stealth mode and pull disruptive tech ideas as

well as new business models from other industries.

Since the 1980s the Israeli ecosystem has

repeatedly been among the first to spot global

venture trends. Local tech talents develop

transferable know-how and frequently become

serial entrepreneurs across different industries;

likewise deep tech solutions are developed and

sustained through scale in global markets.

For example, numerous corporates struggle to

articulate their innovation search criteria. They may

be unaware of new and disruptive technologies,

especially when these innovations originate in a

different industry. As a result, they do not focus on

the optimal technology or it might be obsolete. Local

scouts have an external interpretation and actively

present rational solutions which would not otherwise

appear on the corporate radar. They create

additional impact by bringing an outside view to

challenge the common corporate view point.

Together a trusting partnership develops between

corporates and scouts that delivers more value-add.

To continue succeeding on the innovation agenda

post Corona Covid-19, virtual open innovation

allows project teams to have increased flexibility,

act quickly and cost-efficiently by leveraging

interactive digital channels. A structured framework

needs to be in place to support the corporate

scouting partnership that allows to enjoy the

benefits whilst managing the challenges.

About the author - Innovantage Partners

Jimmy Massatschi is founder and managing partner

of Innovantage Partners, an independent Tech

Scouting & Startup Venturing firm based in Tel Aviv.

A specialised team of Swiss, German and Israeli

innovation experts that represents companies and

investors as their impartial and personalized open

innovation scouting partner in Israel. The client

base ranges from Mittelstand over SMEs to large

corporates between USD 250mn to 40bn of annual

revenues. The goal is to create tangible value

through trusting and personalized partnerships.

More info via

#startup #hitech


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Tech Scouting & Startup Venturing

Tel Aviv | Berlin

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