Innovation today is no longer the exclusive domain of large companies. With the advent of digital technologies and globalization, innovation now is distributed across startup ecosystems worldwide. Innovative startups are developing potentially disruptive technologies and moving at breakneck speeds. For established corporations, it’s now more important than ever to engage in open innovation with these startups by scouting them effectively. This allows you to tap into emerging technologies and identify new business opportunities.
What is Startup Scouting?
In the open innovation paradigm, companies must seek innovations outside of their own organization to stay competitive. For companies looking for external innovation, startups are a rich source of disruptive technologies and solutions. This makes startup scouting a focus of any company’s open innovation strategy. Startup scouting, also known as startup sourcing, is the process of identifying startups and scaleups that can support your innovation goals through partnerships, acquisitions, or as vendors.
By scouting startups, companies can tap into new sources of innovation and stay ahead of the technology curve by keeping up with the latest trends. Some ways to scout startups include attending startup events or tracking startup-focused news. The way to do it effectively, however, is using startup scouting SaaS platforms like our StartUs Insights Discovery Platform.
Benefits of Startup Scouting & Sourcing
Some of the advantages of startup scouting for companies include:
- Quick access to new technologies and ideas. Startups are often at the forefront of new technologies and ideas. By sourcing them, you gain quick access to these innovations. This allows you to learn about new products and services before they hit the mainstream market. Additionally, scouting startups gives you the opportunity to invest in companies with high potential for growth early.
- Informed strategic decision-making. Startups can provide valuable insights into new and emerging markets. This allows you to make more informed short-term and long-term strategic decisions. By scouting startups, you keep tabs on new technologies and trends, which give you a competitive edge.
- Enhanced creativity. Startups often have a more creative and innovative culture than larger corporates, which can lead to breakthroughs in thinking and product development. Leveraging this creativity allows you to identify new areas of growth both within and outside your business.
- Talent acquisition. Startups are often a great source of talent. By scouting them, you get to meet and hire top talent.
While the growing startup activity globally presents new opportunities, it also makes your job difficult. The wealth of innovation data is distributed across disparate sources, making it challenging to scout startups effectively.
Core Challenges of Startup Scouting
Some challenges to effective startup scouting include:
Lack of time. Evaluating hundreds or thousands of startups is time-consuming and prevents you from conducting an exhaustive scan of the startup activity. However, by using startup scouting methods, you can identify startups and assess potential partnerships more effectively.
Lack of dedicated resources. Because corporations have many different business units, each with its own innovation needs, it can be difficult to incorporate those needs into the company-wide innovation strategy. That’s where data-driven startup scouting comes in. A dedicated startup scouting tool enables you to quickly and effectively identify and assess startups that might be a good fit for the company’s innovation needs.
Lack of visible startups. Most startups receive little press coverage or operate in stealth mode, making it hard to find hidden gems. Consequently, startup scouting usually focuses on more visible startups at the cost of other potentially innovative startups. However, with an exhaustive database and dedicated filters, it becomes easy to uncover hidden champions.
How to Scout Startups Effectively
Data-driven startup scouting speeds up and simplifies the startup scouting process enormously. It saves weeks of desk research, delivers relevant results instantly, and scans the entire global startup ecosystem to find potential partners. Using a SaaS tool for data-driven startup scouting is the new norm for corporate innovation. By replacing professional networks and trade events with actionable data, it changes a process-driven approach to an outcome-driven approach.
Compared to traditional startup scouting, data-driven startup scouting identifies potential partners much faster and more efficiently than traditional methods, making it an essential tool for any business looking to stay ahead of its competition.
Innovation managers use a variety of tools to scout startups. Some of these include:
- Database scanning. Industry think tanks, publications, and management consultancy firms often put out databases that cover an industry or emerging technologies. Analyzing this data provides insights into key players in the industry but requires subject matter expertise.
- Google search. Google search brings the world’s information on innovation in a few clicks. However, the lack of analytics features within the search interface means that you need to first export and curate the data, which often takes weeks or even months until you get results.
Effective startup scouting requires you to separate the signal from the noise fast. That’s why a startup scouting tool needs to combine exhaustive data while capturing emerging trends. This is how our Discovery Platform makes the world’s information on innovation, startups, and technologies accessible, ensuring that you are scouting startups effectively.
Leveraging AI & Big Data for Effective Startup Scouting
The StartUs Insights Discovery Platform leverages AI and Big Data to crunch over 1,8 billion innovation data points. Its combination of exhaustive data, proprietary semantic search technology, and knowledge graphs make it a feature-rich and powerful tool for startup scouting. Here are some of its main offerings:
Covers 3+ Million Startups & Scaleups Globally
The Discovery Platform’s database of startups is industry-leading. It ensures that you receive the greatest number of highly relevant startups no matter how complex your startup scouting requirements are. When looking for broad topics, it identifies under-the-radar startups, unlike other startup scouting platforms. When looking for niche topics, others struggle to find relevant startups whereas the Discovery Platform provides you with an exhaustive list.
Validates with Industry-beating Precision
While the data-driven startup scouting process cuts the time required for identifying startups, you still need to evaluate them individually. The more closely the shortlisted startups fit what you’re looking for, the quicker this process is. The Discovery Platform analyzes relationships between startups and trends to offer industry-beating precision. This ensures that you don’t waste time evaluating irrelevant startups.
Offers Global Coverage
Unlike other platforms, the Discovery Platform features language-independent data on startups of all kinds and scales from every part of the world. Moreover, this data comes from all kinds of sources, namely industry databases, local accelerators, and news sources. This ensures that your search results are as global or local as you want.
Features Helpful Filters
Its intuitive interface also features helpful filters that allow you to narrow down your search. This is possible because the data on each startup is validated from at least 53 sources on average. Some of the Discovery Platform filters include:
- Founding year
- Employee size and growth
- Funding and revenue
- Signal strength for identifying under-the-radar startups
Identifies Emerging Startups Fast
The Discovery Platform constantly monitors the latest data. Tracking new startups and keeping an eye on industry trends ensures you stay ahead and discover hidden gems before your competition does.
Manages the Startup Scouting Journey
The Discovery Platform allows you to save your searches as well as extract presentable reports. More importantly, it provides regular updates on emerging startups and trends relevant to you. This allows you to take control of your startup scouting and stay innovative.
Bundles Trend Intelligence
The Discovery Platform offers a dedicated trend intelligence feature. With insights on over 23 500 technology trends, it captures emerging trends in your industry. Moreover, it identifies who the top players driving those trends are. When coupled with startup scouting, trend intelligence delivers great value to your external innovation strategy.
Get Started Today!
At StartUs Insights, we understand that effective startup scouting is critical to the success of your open innovation initiatives. This is why everything we do is to ensure that your startup scouting process is fast and without interruptions. Here are a few ways you can unlock the potential of data-driven startup scouting with the Discovery Platform:
Quickly identify high-potential startups. Don’t waste your time on startups that aren’t mature or don’t meet your criteria. Identify startups that matter to you and are a better fit for your innovation goals.
Get an unbiased ranking. The platform is free of any bias and understands what solutions startups are building. When looking for potential partners, this ensures that the startups you identify are exactly what you are looking for.
Find hidden gems. The Discovery Platform’s exhaustive coverage of startups globally ensures that you don’t miss out on hidden gems. This provides you with better technology investment opportunities and a competitive advantage.
Greater participation in your startup programs. Running a startup program to attract partners that can solve your challenges? The Discovery Platform ensures that you identify high-quality potential applicants.