Here’s How COVID Induced Corporate-startup Collaborations

The onset of the pandemic has propelled them to re-think their strategies, accelerated due to digitization
  • BY Jaspreet Kaur

    Feature Writer, BusinessEx

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  • Oct 04,2021
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  • 11 Mins Read

As per NASSCOM research, approximately 11,000-12,500 start-ups have been incepted during 2015-20. Corporates and start-ups need each other equally. With shared aspirations, common objectives, clearly defined expectations, complementary capabilities, and mutually aligned incentives, both parties can unlock significant value.

Has Pandemic Induce Corporate-startup Collaborations?

The covid pandemic has impacted different organizations in a variety of ways. The onset of the pandemic has propelled them to re-think their strategies, accelerated due to digitization. Companies have undertaken digital transformation strategies, either to experience productivity gains, to attract relevant talent, or to reach its sustainability targets, etc. Attractive new opportunities are emerging, and both the corporates and the start-ups want to cash in and take advantage.

The pandemic also has led to supply chain disruptions across the world. The economic shutdowns exposed vulnerabilities in the corporate and supply chain strategies of the companies. Manufacturers across the world are under an ever-increasing pressure to focus on domestic production, increase employment, and reduce dependencies on other countries. Due to the flexibility of work from anywhere, this provided ample opportunities to the gig workers.

“COVID 19 has brought in a state of uncertainty and a sudden change in the requirements for the start-ups. Many start-ups (especially working in the consumer segment) had to look at digitizing the offerings completely. For the corporates, however, mid-term and long-term goal of engagement for tech co-creation and investment did not change much and the engagements continues while the short-term engagements of joint Go-to-market did have an impact where the engagements took a back seat,” Hemanth Sheelvant, Head at Innohub India, Open Innovation India and DNA Start-up Alliance, Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions. 

The government also initiated many initiatives, including Start Up India, to build a solid ecosystem that will drive sustainable economic growth and generate immense scale employment opportunities through start-ups. The government has set up various funding sources for the start-ups fighting against Covid pandemic, including a INR 100 crore grant under the Action Covid-19 Team, endowment funds and arranging equity through well-known networks like Omidyar and Bexley Advisors Covid-19 Action Fund, debt and returnable grant opportunities from banks such as SIDBI, providing a repository of resources for the start-ups through online channels such as Start-ups vs COVID-19 by 91Springboard, etc.

3 Areas Where Corporates and Startups Collaborate 

At present, there are many areas where corporates and start-ups collaborate. Here are some of these areas:


Leverage the start-up to drive incremental improvements to existing products or services that are core to corporate business verticals


Work with start-ups to augment existing products as well as create new value propositions or service offerings through joint technology development, R&D etc


These are strategic bets made by the corporate in domains outside its core competence. Initiatives are focused on building capabilities through disruptive technologies or entering new markets. Such initiatives require greater levels of investment from the corporate and partnerships work more autonomously and are geared towards long-term success rather than short-term cashflows


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