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Engaging with Startups to Enhance Corporate Innovation

Abstract

When it comes to agility, startups have an edge over large corporations—whereas large corporations sit on resources which startups can only dream of. The combination of entrepreneurial activity with corporate ability seems like a perfect match, but can be elusive to achieve. This article examines how large corporations from the tech industry have begun to tap into entrepreneurial innovation from startups. Prominent examples are used to inductively derive a set of four models commonly used to engage with startups and to describe their characteristics, challenges, and rationales. While corporate equity is the key mechanism behind more established models, newer approaches replace equity with shared technology to connect both worlds with fewer organizational costs and greater speed and agility. This article presents a typology of corporate mechanisms to engage with startups that balance speed and agility against control and strategic direction, to map the ways companies can bridge the gap between themselves and the startup world.

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