Strategic Partnerships between Big Companies (Elephants) and Small (Mice) – Prof Les Charm, Babson College

These deals are laborious:

  • It’s top management team time for the small company.
  • It’s very time-consuming.
  • The big company can change direction at any time due to strategy.

Les’ Two Big Points

1. It’s easy to see what a strategic partnership will bring to you.

But when you start down this road, you need one question to answer clearly – what’s in it for the big company?

Don’t bother to start down this road, unless you can answer that.

2. One of the things Elephants want out of Mice is exclusivity.

The question of exclusivity comes up late in the game in Les’ experience – mainly because they assume you are expecting it.

Should you raise this issue yourself early on, or let them raise it?

Personal Significance

I’ve been exploring what a strategic alliance might look like, between a diagnostic company and my company who are looking to create a device to automate blood collection.

The final point Les made was that smaller companies / equals have a higher chance of being successful – which prompted me to think that rather than thinking of partnering with a massive company, I should be potentially looking at smaller diagnostics companies…

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