"If You Want To Be In The Game, You Have To Be At The Table"
Over the years, I have learned that in order to become aware of attractive new opportunities, it is vital to access information/deal flow. That is, we have to go to where deals are discussed and are being done. This is certainly true for those seeking venture funding. It is also true for external innovation, in general.
This is true for a lot of fields. My wife and I just returned from a visit with good friends at their home at Anna Maria Island, Florida. As a real estate developer, he knows that in order to become privy to details about the best properties, he needs to regularly walk around and talk around with locals, builders, contractors and other deal makers. If he waits for an online listing to appear, it is going to be too late for him to capitalize on truly good opportunities.
Sports teams at the collegiate and pro level scout talent by sending their representatives to the schools where prime prospects play and who are seeking to progress to the next level. In addition to analyzing the various statistics which describe player performance, they observe the players in action, talk with them and their coaches (within the boundaries permitted by the rules), learn about their interests and objectives, to decide if there is sufficient basis for a relationship. They know they need to be at these places, or risk losing prime opportunities to their rivals who are more proactive.
If one makes the effort to seek out individuals involved in start-up activities and speak with them, and take the time to listen, he/she can learn a lot about who is working on what, and with whom, in various fields.
So, going back to my friend's remark, her advice was in effect, if my client wanted to learn about relevant start up activity in a particular market space, he should physically go to where this work was taking place and interact with the players.
In the space my client is interested in, there are a few hotbeds of start up activity in the US, including the northeast and southeast. So, I am connecting my client with startup consortia in these areas. These will provide forums for business and startups to potentially select programs of shared interest and then to decide the terms for engagement, where relevant.
Net, to help build your company's external innovation ecosystem, do your homework and then go where the startup action is. Your odds of identifying attractive partners grows dramatically with increased direct contact.
"Connecting You With The Right Solutions" BFS Innovations, Inc.