Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Sami Kuusela, better known as the Hoodie Dude.
Last weeks Thursday was a big day for us at Hoodie Dude. We finally got a competitor. Lovely.
Startup investor and accelerator KoppiCatch launched their Star-Tap program which gets startups and corporations to meet and work together.
“There is a big need for this kind of services”, says KoppiCatch’s partner Kaj Hagros who is leading the new program. “Contacting startups without any help can be stressful for corporations.”
First big one’s to receive KoppiCatch’s help are media giant Alma Media and operator DNA, who are interested in digital advertising, smart living room, e-commerce and new approaches to news media.
KoppiCatch is a serious challenge for us at Hoodie Dude, which makes the news even better. There is all kinds of gold diggers around the hot startups but Inka, Harry, Oskari, Torsti and Kaj are superstars.
So am I a pervert? Getting excited hearing that someone’s coming to do do the same thing as us? Connecting big companies with startups. Well, some call me a pervert, but not in this case.
We at Hoodie Dude started our business two years ago. It all started from “Hoodie Dude and the business man”, a pamphlet I wrote for EVA (Finnish Business and Policy Forum). My point was to alert our nation: Finnish big companies were doing nothing with startups. There was no exit market for startups inside Finland and the partnerships were almost non-existent.
Finland was in trouble. How could our economy survive when our giants were keeping their doors shut and farting inside their bubbles? How could we afford not to use the energy of the new startup ecosystem to benefit all kinds of industries and companies of all sizes?
But luckily last year things started happening. Big companies started to show interest to startups. The Slush conference of 2014 was a turning point. There has never been an event with as many executives in suits walking through smoke, lasers and gadgets in a history of a human kind. At Slush we published “Different” a study we wrote for EK (the Confederation of Finnish Industries) and Tekes about the experiences of Finnish large companies with startups. The book was not thick. Yet.
Now we all need to start working. Real hard. We need much more companies like us and KoppiCatch to start helping the corporations and Finland to survive. With startups.
We all need to realise that the corporations have to to become friends with startups. The outsourced product development, acquihires, new kind of venturing and friendships with startups will help the big ones to survive. That will also keep Finland alive.
“Going forward, corporate strategy work must encompass a start-up angle”, says Kaj Hagros.
The corporations are now awake. But most of them do not know what to do and where to start with the new growth companies. We need to take their hand.
Call me an idealist. I take it as a compliment.