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Jayshree Naidoo

Startups misjudge complexity of dealing with corporate says Standard Bank head

Startups should understand the complexity of dealing with large corporations. Failing to do so could put a strain on their resources, cautions Jayshree Naidoo, the head of the Standard Bank Incubator.

In an interview with Ventureburn on how startups can best prepare themselves to pitch to corporates, Naidoo adds that entrepreneurs should take the necessary steps to protect their IP before presenting to a corporate.

She adds that many corporates won’t enter into an NDA unless they see potential value in the solution for their respective corporate.

Startups should understand the complexity of dealing with large corporations, says Standard Bank exec

She says the bank gets on average at least 10 to 15 requests a month through various channels. Read more below on the advice she has for startups who plan to pitch to the bank.

Ventureburn: What are some important tips for startups looking to approach Standard Bank with their idea for an app, widget or platform? 

Jayshree Naidoo: Startups should look carefully at what problem their solution is trying to solve. Has their idea been validated and is there a working prototype or proof of concept with measures and replicable used cases?

They should prepare wire frames and a solid business case that includes technical specifications in addition to the traditional business information required. They should ensure that they have gathered sufficient data to illustrate the benefits in line with the organisation’s strategic direction.

VB: What channels should they go through and what kinds of things should they have prepared and got in order before approaching the bank with their ideas?

JN: They should approach the group’s procurement department, specifically the sourcing and selection divisions to ensure the basic paper work and requirements are addressed.

In addition, they should have evidence on the results of their working prototype and be prepared to present those results and findings. They should have at least a high-level framework of their minimum requirements of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) and be clear on their cost and pricing structure.

VB: What is the process one usually follows when trying to sell a product or service to the bank

JN: Startups should approach the bank directly with their idea and/or concept. This usually results in a series of presentations with potential clients before the organisation can enter into any agreement.

In some cases, startups approach their personal contacts through LinkedIn or unsolicited emails. In others, they approach the Standard Bank Incubator or the bank’s innovation divisions.

VB: In general, how can startups improve the way they deal with corporates? Are there certain things that make them look more professional?

JN: They should create a professional corporate profile. If their solution is technologically driven they should have a platform that they could use to illustrate the offer and they should be in a position to issue a temporary licence or access to the platform to a grip of users.

Startups should understand the complexity of dealing with large corporations and they should ensure that they take the necessary steps to protect their IP prior to presenting to a corporate. Many corporates won’t enter into an NDA unless they see potential value.

VB: What are some common mistakes made by startups that want to sell tech products or services to the bank?

JN: They undervalue or overvalue their solution or product. They underestimate the complexity of dealing with a bank and this can put a strain on their resources.

VB: How many pitches do you currently get from startups per month on average and what kinds of services and products are they usually pitching

JN: Due to us being the incubator, the types of services and products cut across multiple sectors and are not restricted to fintech. We get on average at least 10 to 15 requests a month through various channels.

VB: What kinds of (innovative) services and products is the bank looking for?

JN: The bank is always looking for disruptive fintech solutions as well as digital products and services and non-traditional products including those that support the Fourth Industrial revolution such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and cryptocurrrency, among others.

Keen to read more? See the below stories from Ventureburn’s series on pitching to corporates.

Read more: Nedbank no easy sell for your app or platform, executive tells tech startups
Read more: Pitching to Woolworths? Not just about idea, but team behind it – online head
Read more: Wanna pitch to Vodacom? Don’t come with vague ideas, executive tells startups
Read more:
 Show your work, don’t just share ideas, Capitec innovation head tells startups
Read more: Startups, have an app or web platform you want to sell to Old Mutual?
Read more: Looking to sell that app or platform to Barclays Africa? Here’s what to consider