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  • Writer's pictureJohn Welsh

Five dos and five don'ts for startups hoping to partner with corporates

Updated: Feb 8, 2018

Is your innovative tech' a great solution for a corporate if you could only get through its door? The man who connects brands to startups says that's only the start.

Ken Valledy, CEO of Tech2Brand, spent more than 13 years in corporate life working for a global drinks company. Today he connects startups with innovative tech' to brands and corporates looking for solutions.

He's seen enough startups interact with brands and corporates - both within a brand and without - that he can spot quickly which founder is going to close the deal and which one is going to walk away disappointed.

At a recent TableCrowd dinner, he listed his key recommendations.


  • Remember the balance at the start (i.e. brands and corporates carry the weight initially in the relationship).

  • Be on time - catch the earlier train/tube/bus than the one you planned to accommodate any eventualities.

  • Research the brand in advance - what's on its website, sign up for Google news alerts, how does it use social media?

  • Brand > Tech (don’t just say ‘what your tech can do’ describe ‘what your tech can do FOR THE BRAND).

  • Only use 5 slides max (intro slide (logo etc), what problem you are solving, how does your tech solve this problem, what is unique about your tech, what would a £10k trial look like?).


  • Talk about any investment (unless asked). Words or phrases such as "runways" and "Series A" mean very little to a person in a PLC.

  • Talk about your team (unless asked).

  • Talk about your story from day 1 (unless asked).

  • Don’t spam the marketing person after the meeting (best to just send them updates on your product as a prompt or a recent post on your blog).

  • Don’t do a free trial (see Ken's blog on the topic here). In his experience, no free trial has ever led to a paid-for deal and just avoids the inevitable but crucial recognition of value and negotiation over fees.

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