Luke is President of OCEAN Programs.
Founder and CEO
Dr. Anthony Sterns – iRxReminder
“Dave Drach is the VP of Corporate Strategy at Techstars, the world’s largest startup accelerator operator and one of the largest seed-stage investors. Dave Drach spoke to the Ocean 7 Cohort about his formula for integrating start-ups with companies. He began by sharing how companies acquire startups and the importance of understanding how a start-up needs to work with corporations to be open to and complete deals.
Two key things that we need to pay attention to are the history of a company working with start-ups, and what reported successes have been shared from the innovation team. You want to see if they are hunting for innovations and broadcasting those successes. Finding these signs is a key indicator that a company can be a strategic partner which then helps the start-up move forward.
Once you have a company you think is open to helping, you need to look to see who in the company is your defined customer. Find out who the people at the company are that have done business in the past with a start-up. This means the person who can sign a deal and who is in your network that can connect you with that person.
There are four people needed in the company to close a deal:
Coach – the domain expert, an outsider who has done a previous deal
Champion – the initial contact, they have an irrational need for you to succeed
Buyer – the person who is justifying the return-on-investment for the company, usually also the person who owns what you are selling
Money – the person who signs the check or purchase order to close the deal
To win this group over you need to establish exactly what it would take to have the company buy and implement your product or service. Dave said “ You have to imagine it working, then you can sell through their wall of no’s.”
The way to execute and achieve a deal is to create urgency for each of the decision makers. Bring to the table something that gives them some personal urgency. The final challenge is always getting agreement from legal. Dave recommended leveraging air coverage to get quick approval from the legal division.
One comment that stood out in Dave’s strategy for capturing a big corporate customer was his idea of “line fishing for traction.” Keep in mind your start-up is not the only one out there. Part of the urgency you need to create is the opportunity to be the first to work with your company. A company that has a critical differentiator. Something that makes you stand out from all the other start-ups clamoring for attention.
iRxReminder is now working everyday as we move toward demo day to find large mental health agencies who can be our ideal strategic partner. This will help us bring our breakthrough technologies to mental health patients to achieve and maintain greater independence.”
Dr. Anthony Sterns is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of iRxReminder LLC, a platform technology for mental health patients to improve engagement, medication adherence, and communicating with their care team. iRxReminder is now recruiting strategic partners to launch the service and demonstrate increases in timely interventions and a 40% net increase in agency revenues.
His academic roles include Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland Global Campus, City University of New York, and Kent State University. He teaches business analytics, decision-making, and organizational management. He also serves as the Secretary General of the International Society for Gerontechnology and pioneers applications of mobile computers/smartphones for improving the quality of life for individuals living with chronic illness. His research has focused on the theme of cognitive prosthetics typified by the cognitive therapeutic intervention “The Memory Magic Program” (http://www.memorymagic.com).