A brainstorming session at Movenpick Karachi held on June 6, 2017. Some great insights at the Conclave on Igniting Industrial Innovation, from corporates, start-ups, service firms, and media:

While some corporates like UBL and Samsung have innovation departments, most Boards are risk averse and focused on operations. Only competition, even on brand/repute, or tangible profit prospects or imminent or current problems will motivate them. Telcos and Banks lead. For example, Banks see future Corporate Customers, and Telcos see additional product revenue streams.

Take away: Important for Startups to research and pick right Corporates, with which to match.

A culture of celebrating failure and patience is needed. And an end to the rent-seeking culture of false and distorting abundance. Independent Directors on the Board can drive this change. Gender, age and other diversity are change-enablers.

Take away: Independent directors and diversity in Boards can drive change.

Startups that scale to more than $0.5 mil in revenue will get more receptivity. Series A VC funding is required to attain this. Corporate-Startup collaboration (Corporate VC, acquisitions, incubators, partnerships, customer relationships, prototype testbeds) is distinct and requires a different strategy than CSR.

Takeaway: Profit-motivated and CSR relationships require two different strategies. Customers make the best investors, can start with testing prototypes.

Vertical analysis, reports, and events are needed. Platforms for corporate-startups interaction. Future of Work insight, innovation baseline studies, funding/valuations/exit reporting needed. Funded competitions solving specific business problems. Media branding of successful innovation. Accountants need to understand valuation, modelling and forecasting for Startups. An open end mutual fund focused on startups could be floated. Makers space needed.

Take away: Reports and studies, makers space, media, special accounting and legal support, Series A VC funding, listed open ended startup mutual fund, platforms for corporate-startups-investor interaction needed.

Met with Ignite-funded start-ups, and generated interest in co-investment, mentorship, CSR and participation in Ignite programs.

Takeaway: We missed the boat on past tech opportunity waves like Y2K and the Dot Com boom; looks like we are better poised for the 4th industrial wave. Continued engagement with Karachi needed.

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