Young. Eager. Ambitious. The atmosphere is charged at Telenor in Singapore, filled with Asian founders who all want to be the “next big thing”. Known for supporting start-ups globally, Slush is kicking off this three-day event with a pitching round. The 45 companies present will all have their chance to convince venture capitalists that they are worth the bet.
The idea behind combining Slush with Telenor’s own Digital Winners concept is to create a forum to support Asia’s blossoming start-up scene. These fledgling companies from across the region require funding, resources and support in order to grow, and corporates looking to support innovation make ideal mentors.
Why does Telenor work with start-ups?
Telenor’s Head of Innovation Vegard Aas spoke to the Digital Winners participants, selected by Telenor’s Asian markets, talking about why Telenor spends its time and resources on start-ups.
“We want to take the best start-ups from Asia and give them a platform for scaling, and give them a network in the region. They will also get to work with other start-ups from Slush, our partner in this event, as well as listen to some great panels and talks, interact with other start-ups and VCs, and get some great exposure for their products,” he said.
A perfect match?
The idea of start-ups and corporates collaborating can sound like a perfect match, but the reality is that it can often be a long and winding journey. And many start-ups experience difficulty in navigating corporate decision-making processes, which can take time and involve multiple internal stakeholders.
Vegard Aas shared some advice, “It’s all about managing expectations. Get to know each other, but don’t share all info the first meeting. Know what information to share at what point and don’t expect to access millions of customers after the first meeting.”
Building a network to build trust
It can take time to build a network within an organization, but that is necessary in order to build trust. Spend some time getting to know the corporate, as many parts of the organization are responsible for innovation. As a start-up, you should be aware of which part of the organization is interested in working with you.
“Come fully prepared to meetings, spend some time getting to know each other. And then be able to explain the problem that you are trying to solve. That’s when you tell them why your solution is the best…make it so they can’t say no,” added Vegard.
Day one of the three day Digital Winners and Slush event is a wrap. Stay tuned for more to come on this start-up story.