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Big business plays app startups at their own game

Business

If you can’t beat them, join them. That’s the attitude of some of Australia’s biggest companies who are wanting to embrace startups to avoid being disrupted by up-and-coming technologies.

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With Airbnb, Uber, Netflix and Spotify becoming behemoths, big corporates are finding that they need to embrace disruptive technology or risk falling behind.

The findings released in a report by industry body StartupAUS on Tuesday, were drawn from an industry lunch with executives from top 20 ASX companies including Qantas, Scentre, QBE, Telstra and the big banks.

It found big corporates want to use startups either through partnerships and collaborations or by signing up as customers and licensees.

Alternatively, they’ve also eyed buying them out and acquiring their technology and human talent for internal innovations.

Companies also indicated that they would help local startups flourish to combat big international startups entering the market.

StartupAUS chief executive Peter Bradd said that businesses had to open themselves up to innovation to remain relevant beyond the next decade.

“It is essential they work with external entrepreneurs and innovators,” he said.

“In doing so they can bypass internal barriers, outsource a lot of the initial risk, and allow for much more speed and agility.”

A few companies have already begun to embrace “open innovation”, with Telstra and ANZ running accelerator programs and shopping centre provider Scentre group teaming up with a startup to deliver a food ordering service.

Last week, the Commonwealth Bank also signed an agreement with the Israeli government to tap into the hi-tech nation’s startups for cyber-security and data analysis technology.

The report comes ahead of the Turnbull government’s innovation policies announcement which is expected to include measures encouraging business investment in tech.

AAP

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