David vs. Goliath: Can corporates and startups be BFFs?

Hermes is looking to collaborate with startups.

Startup vs. Corporate: An ancient fight replaced by a beneficial relationship.

Fortune Magazine said, “2016 Is the Year Startups and Corporates Became BFFs” – why and how did that happen?

Corporates and startups are working together in totally new ways, with a focus on early-stage, open-ended and flexible partnerships. Some corporates, like Hermes Germany, have been engaging with startups for a longer period of time and even opened digital labs or accelerator-programs.

A functioning economy needs innovation in order to succeed in a globalized world. Startups are highly innovative, but the founders often face a variety of risks and dangers, which prevents the development of their company.

Startups commonly need support of experienced individuals and capital in the beginning. This support can be provided by already established corporates, in the form of a corporate startup partnerships through an accelerator, incubator and other models.

Corporates see these programs as an opportunity to find new ideas and perhaps partner with, invest in, or learn from today’s most innovative entrepreneurs.

Why they should work together?

Many people have experienced even just a bit of corporate life, or have a basic understanding about how the corporate world operates. This is why it comes as little surprise that there is competition within and between companies. And if you have worked in a large company, you know that decisions take time.

Large corporates are looking to expand to new and emerging markets, or more or less, shooting for world domination. Hermes, for example, is facing increasingly difficult situations solving customers’ needs related to parcel distribution in Germany.

At first glance, corporates and startups seem to be polar opposites, like David vs. Goliath. They are different in terms of resources, machinery, structure and much more.

Goliath – the corporates that haves a lot of resources, machineries and structure. David – startups, that have less structure, but are fast, flexible and innovative. Corporates have to deal with policies and sometimes cultures or structures that hinder innovation, flexibility and speed. A problem is that some corporates think startups are a big risk for their business.

The innovative nature of startups, the flexibility and their speed allows startups to implement new solutions faster than established corporates. Their biggest problem is the deficit of resources, but they can often work around that limitation. But it can also be interesting and beneficial for startups to work together with corporates. Corporates can give startups access to resources that would help accelerate product development, while startups can provide corporates with products and services to improve their business.

Hermes is looking for Startups

Hermes Germany is constantly looking for new business models and is checking the international startup environment.

Startups are not seen as a threat, rather as enrichment for the own portfolio and customers.

On equal terms both sides profit from a open cooperation. For example, in 2016, Hermes Germany was the first German logistics company that started to test autonomous delivery robots together with the Estonian Startup StarShip Technologies.

Both partners have combined their core competences and assets sensibly and gained valuable insight into the marketability and customer acceptance of a new technology. Hermes is willing to participate in interesting business models, startups and support and extend cooperation.

Hermes decided early to look for a same-day service solution and found an excellent partner in Liefery. Since 2015, Hermes has been involved in the same-day delivery market leader Liefery and took a majority stake in March 2017. Furthermore, Liefery continues to act independently as its own company, in order to keep its flexibility and startup spirit.

Hermes is committed to events such as the Heureka Conference in Berlin to show the activities and interests of Hermes in the startup environment.


What exactly does it take for a startup/corporate partnership to be successful?

Join Hermes at Heureka 2017 in Berlin, and the talk about how Hermes works with the startup revolution in the logistics market.

The discussion “DAVID vs. GOLIATH OR HOW THEY CAN LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER” starts at 15:15 – Stage 2.

Roger Hillen-Pasedag (Hermes) and Nils Fischer (Liefery) will talk you through the whole process of the cooperation between Liefery and Hermes with all it’s ups and downs and explaining how they came together.

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Photo Credit: Hermes

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