Australia Post, EnergyAustralia, Optus, Westpac, and Woolworths are among 25 companies that have signed on as founding members of CoVentured, a platform looking to connect corporates with startups that can help solve some of their innovation challenges.
The CoVentured platform, launched by Slingshot, aims to help corporates identify, track, and engage with startups on pilots, proofs of concept, co-creation, and vendor relationships.
Initially, the members will be able to use the platform to conduct filtered searches for startups, chat with them, and post opportunities for collaboration. Features will be added over time based on the needs of members.
"It is a way for corporates to better communicate to a startup audience, specifically around current areas of opportunity within the business for startups to engage," a Slingshot spokesperson said.
Slingshot was not able to disclose the pricing for founding members, however future corporate members will pay up to AU$25,0000 to access the software-as-a-service platform. For startups, a CoVentured membership comes at no cost.
According to Slingshot, which designs and executes corporate accelerator programs, CoVentured helps solve one of the biggest challenges for startups: identifying and accessing corporate decision-makers who would be interested in their solutions.
While strategic partnerships can go a long way in helping startups grow their business, the process of forming partnerships can be difficult and time-consuming -- it involves identifying where collaboration is possible with corporates, persuading relevant corporates to partner with the business, and then executing it.
"[CoVentured] saves startups time as they can gauge whether their business is a good fit prior to outreach," a Slingshot spokesperson said.
Gary Thursby from Westpac Group's Enterprise & Strategy services said partnering with startups allows the bank to "accelerate pace of change".
"These partnerships provide us with more avenues for access to innovation and new experiences for our customers, and enable us to share our expertise with new businesses to support their success," Thursby said in a statement.
Andrew Perry from EnergyAustralia NextGen said the energy retailer is looking to partner with startups who can help its customers "better manage their energy, reduce carbon emissions, and save money". Last year, the company made a AU$9.3 million strategic investment in Brisbane-based solar energy startup Redback Technologies.
Other founding members include Accenture, ASG, Beyond Bank, Downer Group, IBM, Salmat, Spotless, TAL, and the University of Newcastle.