Brenda Spoonemore is a serial entrepreneur, currently co-founder and CEO at vacation rentals and reviews startup Dwellable, but her experience includes a role as senior vice president of interactive services for the NBA, overseeing the league’s digital business, operations, licensing and strategy.
In other words, she has been immersed in business development and partnerships on both sides of the table. She shared her insights at Seattle 2.0 Startup Day, presented by GeekWire this past weekend.
For anyone who missed the event, or wants to relive the highlights, we’re rolling out video and related content from all of the talks by Startup Day speakers as a follow-up.
Watch the full video of Spoonemore’s talk above, see her slides below, and continue reading for a few of our favorite takeaways. You can also access the audio here as an MP3, for listening on your favorite device. A big thanks to the team at Bootstrapper Studios for their help on all of this content.
(Thanks also to one of our sponsors, the University of Washington Technology MBA Program, for supporting the event and introducing this talk by Spoonemore.)
The ingredients for good business development deals: “There are four key factors: sales, licensing, distribution, and branding. The most successful deals will involve more than one of these often supporting each other.”
What startups bring to the table: “What do you have that they (big companies) need? You’re more focused than they are. You have an idea and you’re solving a problem. You’ve developed content or technology and you have a focus that is very difficult to do at a big corporation.”
Cautionary note: “When you walk into a big company with these ideas, they’re like vampires. They see fresh blood and fresh ideas.”
Good for both sides: “It’s important when doing these deals to make sure that the ledger is balanced. Are you and the partner giving and getting things that are of equal value? If that doesn’t happen, you’re not going to get a renewal and you’re probably going to have some pretty unhappy customers.”
Non-revenue benefits: “One of the things that we would look at is, even if a project was revenue-neutral to us but it gave us access to a lot of user data and patterns, we knew we could then drive those users into other products that would drive incremental revenue. Even though it was revenue neutral on a standalone basis the fact that we were deeply engaging with the users and getting more data about their consumptions patterns allowed us to drive other parts of our business.”