Are you sympathetic to startups? Why or why not?

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Board Member in Healthcare and Biotech, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
Over the years I have definitely found a lot of interesting ideas among startups. I may not have engaged with all of them or given them business, but I did show them which direction to take in terms of what they could be doing differently. I gave them informal mentorship rather than getting into a formal engagement with them. During my time as a CIO and even now, a lot of them return with feedback on what worked and what didn't, as well as whether the conversation was worth it or not. That's a good place to be. I have been sympathetic to startups because they're struggling to do something new. We should hear them out. I’ve realized that within the ecosystem, not everyone is amenable to spending time on startups.
Director IT | CTO Office | Digital Factory / Industry 4.0 in Hardware, 10,001+ employees
Given that we're in the Bay Area of California, we're always seeing new startups. We get foundries who present to us their portfolios on a quarterly cadence. That allows us to see who's doing what, who's competing with who, and what the latest and greatest technologies are. There's always a great idea but if the startup isn't able to pivot, they don't survive. Ultimately you do need that customer to sign up with you. You can only go to round A, round B, round C so many times without generating some level of revenue.

I'm always sympathetic to startups because it's a small team, which reminds me of when we were small and I was working 24/7 to get things going. I got my hands in IT, HR, training and multimedia, all at the same time. Knowing the life of a startup person on that level, I’ll say, "I get it, but at the same time, you just need to focus here a bit more so we can survive together, and you can survive in the long term." 
1 Reply
Board Member in Healthcare and Biotech, 1,001 - 5,000 employees

Many times those conversations are also eye-opening with respect to what's happening because they give you new ideas. Whether you use those ideas or not is a different question. 

VP in Construction, 51 - 200 employees
I've been part of quite a few startups myself so I'm sympathetic to them. I'm involved in one now and it's often challenging because people find it difficult to adopt a new technology. We are introducing new technology in construction, which no one has done in this part of the world. It's often difficult for startups because they consist of five or six partners who came together and are multitasking. After several months or maybe a year, one partner just can't go on because of all the roadblocks they encounter. It takes patience and resilience. In this part of the world, quite a lot of startups have become big organizations; there are some in finance that are even competing with the traditional banking systems, for example. That is why I have a soft spot for them. The founders need to be patient, resilient and ready to face all the roadblocks they will meet, because there will be many. But if we all support startups, they will grow to become big competitors.

It's often difficult for those who are used to traditional ways of doing things to switch and depend on automation. No one wants to depend on automation in this part of the world. When Smart Bricks came up, for example, people were afraid of constructing buildings with them. The bricks are LEGO-like, so a lot of real estate and construction engineers were shying away from it. They want to keep using the crude method of mixing cement. But when you use these LEGO-like bricks, you could decide in two years that you want to change your building and it would be easy to expand without impacting the whole structure. If you’re using traditional methods like cement, an expansion means you have to tear down many parts of the building.
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Board Member in Healthcare and Biotech, 1,001 - 5,000 employees

Today's innovation is tomorrow's operation — most of us have seen that happen. Everyone is excited by innovation, but nobody likes operations. The other challenge for startups in the new technology space, especially with enterprises, is ROI: How will you justify investment in a new technology? Between operations and ROI, the typical result is that innovation gets killed because nobody is rewarded for taking risks, at least not in large enterprises. If you're a smaller organization, you can sit down with stakeholders and describe what you're going to do. 

C-Suite in Healthcare and Biotech, 501 - 1,000 employees
I agree with the others, I'm very sympathetic to startups. As an organization, we tend to be very conservative, so it's not always possible to purchase from them, but we'll always hear them out and I've offered my experience and advice to several as well. 

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My personal experience. 

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