Why collaborations with big business is a path to start-up success

Small start-ups should not be afraid to seek collaborations with big business and international partners to fully realise their potential.

At our medical technology business (Osteopore), we put a collaborative nature at the forefront of everything we do – both internally and in our attempts to develop partnerships worldwide.

Participation in discussion and problem solving is promoted by management in an environment where one can ask questions and suggest solutions without feeling judged.

Our journey from Singapore start-up to a company with a growing list of global partnerships provides lessons for other emerging businesses.

Collaboration for Osteopore includes working directly with companies such as Terumo BCT or finding compatible clinical use scenarios with products and technologies produced by companies such as Johnson and Johnson, B Braun, Stryker, Zimmer Biomet.

Our goal is to provide maximum value to patients, surgeons and the hospital systems around the world through our 3D bone healing implants, but we recognise we can’t do that alone. In our case we need partners in biotech, manufacturing, research and elsewhere.

So what is the key to a successful collaboration when you’re a relatively small fish in a big pond?

Mutual-benefit

Collaborating with a bigger company doesn’t mean rolling over and allowing yourself to be gobbled up. The partnership should deliver value to both parties, regardless of their individual size and history.

Enhanced delivery

Businesses rarely have all the answers and solutions. One business or organisation may hold one piece of the puzzle, while another has a matching piece.

Together they can fill gaps and create better products or services.

The important thing for smaller companies looking for partnerships is to back themselves and to be prepared to talk to bigger companies about collaborating.

For Osteopore, that means actively seek opportunities to work with – and alongside – world-leading companies, complementing their products and specialist equipment with our 3D printed biomimetic scaffolds.

Osteopore’s collaborative approach doesn’t stop at big business – it extends to working with research institutes and universities.

Sharing our collective knowledge and skills allows us to continue to develop world-class medical products that improve the lives of thousands of people around the world.

It’s a collaborative approach that many start-up leadership teams shy away from. Some feel like they have to go it alone to be successful on their own terms or they fear takeover.

Establishing a strong culture of collaboration internally and externally leads to continued growth and success.