Arturo Bañuelos
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Startup Connection Complements Innovation Efforts

Wed, 03/06/2019 - 17:11

Q: What kind of early-stage startups do you work with?
A: We define early-stage startups as those that have already finished their minimum viable project. This means that they already have a product, they have users and preferably they already have sales. If they do not have recurring sales, we ask them to have users and to be in the process of monetizing their product. Although these are not restrictions for startups to participate with us, they are important variables we take into consideration when analyzing candidates. We provide these players with the structure they need to become a global startup. Because of this, another characteristic we look for in startups is that they have a global vision or can provide global scalable solutions. Companies collaborating with us should not only solve a local problem but apply a global-level model that allows for quick scalability.
We work with startups from all sectors and we only ask them to have a technology base. This does not mean they have to be mobile applications or from the IT sector. For instance, we are looking for startups that have a technology base in the solutions they are developing but that can impact any sector or industry. In this regard, we have many startups coming from the health sector that comply with these characteristics.
Q: How can Balero connect companies, investment funds and startups?
A: We try to generate alliances with big corporations because they are heavily invested in topics such as innovation and development. We offer to have their innovation and development departments up-to-date through the work of startups and we try to complement or improve their offering through startups that relate to what they do. With hospitals, for example, we might establish a connection with health or even entertainment startups to the benefit of the patient.
We demonstrate investment opportunities to companies so they can generate new business. It is not oriented innovation, as it does not come from a specific need a company might have. We show companies the innovation portfolio of many startups and how they are impacting different sectors and ask them if they are interested in participating to generate a new business unit.
At the same time, we sit down with startups to understand their core business and the verticals in which they work. Once we have this understanding, we propose additional lines of action that might not be as visible for the company and then we generate an approach to incorporate them into our portfolio and analyze if there is a match with one of our larger partners. Should there be a match, we ask for a “champion” inside the company who can help us and the startup in any area where we might need help. Alongside our corporate sponsor, we plan for a pilot or test run. These tests are paid to the startup. We believe a commercial exchange is important right from the start. If the test run is successful, the company analyzes whether the solution is significant enough to either invest, acquire it or make it a company product. Should companies not find a match among the startups in our portfolio, we can present options that might not be part of our portfolio. We are always attracting more startups that impact certain verticals we know we work with.
Q: What difference does it make for corporations and investment funds to work with accelerated and pre-accelerated startups?
A: We provide structure and formality to any startup that works with us and we help it set an administration board. This allows for a smoother interaction and better understanding between the startup and corporations, which tend be institutional. Working with a company in our portfolio can also help both the corporation and the startup to match their speed in terms of R&D.
Q: What are the obstacles and opportunities that health entrepreneurs face, compared to other sectors?
A: Startups need to comply with regulatory issues and trial periods. On many occasions, this also means obtaining certifications, which requires larger investment sums and more time to see a return on investment.