Thursday, May 9, 2013

Biz Dev

As an early stage startup, engaging in biz dev conversations with large established (Global 2000) companies is like buying lottery tickets. It’s largely a waste of resources, but there’s a slim chance to hit it big.

I don’t buy lottery tickets.

But you can’t ignore things like Yahoo’s search-white-labeling deal with Google in the early 2000s, firefox’s distribution via Google homepage, being a launch partner app in Facebook’s F8 ecosystem, or being featured in an Apple Ad. These can be company-making events.

If you find yourself in BD conversations, the best piece of advice I’ve heard came from Yaron of Outbrain. To paraphrase:

You need to recognize that the person sitting across from you at the table represents their company but will not necessarily act in their company’s best interests. Don’t get distracted by crafting the perfect proposal for the BD target company. Instead, (once you know you’re talking to a decision maker) focus on the person across the table. Be brash enough to ask how that person is bonused. Be creative enough to strike a deal that makes that person look like a rockstar to his/her boss instead of designing the perfect deal for the partnering corporation.

Big BD deals get signed between people, not companies.


  1. dankantor said: Great advice. Thanks!
  2. thegongshow posted this