On July 4, we at Berlin Startup Academy hosted a public mentoring session around „Building B2B business and partnering with the big guys”, featuring Stephan Schambach, Gero Decker and Nicolas Biagosch. Nicolas is leading simyo, E-Plus’ online-only telecommunications brand based in Dusseldorf. As CEO of the company, he is often the one making decisions about partnering deals and innovation projects. After the event, we sat down with Nicolas for a quick talk.
What can telecommunication companies learn from start-ups?
Agility, being fast and innovative in a sense that you need to fail and should be able to fail in order to come up with something new. That is the most important thing. What we really learn from start-ups is to approach challenges we have in a completely different way, not to be afraid of doing things differently and especially not to be afraid to fail. If you understand that failing just adds to your experience, you are able to fail fast in a way that benefits your company.
How should start-ups approach you (as a company) if they’d like to cooperate, sell you a service, or maybe even look for an exit?
They should be specific about what they can do for us and how they can help us. Many times start-ups show up with a great idea about which they are so excited that they just start to ask “wouldn’t it be great if…?” But that does not really help us. For us, it is important to understand the value the product or service is bringing us – specifically and in numbers, so that we can either fund those ideas ourselves or find sponsors for investment. I also believe that it helps start-ups to really evaluate their ideas.
Are there ways to shorten the dreaded “sales cycle” when working with a big corporation?
Yes, if you do your homework. If you try to understand what the value is for that specific company, if you try to understand whom you are talking to, what their motivation is, how they get promoted, what their professional targets are. If you do this homework well, things could go pretty quickly. If you don’t do that, however, and approach us with a “let’s go for brainstorming”, it will be a dreadful experience. It is simply just too time consuming to brainstorm with start-ups.
Thank you for a talk, Nicolas!