Automotive and Startup Leaders: ‘Be Firm and Flexible’ with Partnerships

Listen and truly understand the needs of your corporate partner. Be willing to change and adapt. Accept help, corporate partners must be involved in product development.

These were just a few of the tips provided by the automotive and startup collaboration panel on the Automobili-D stage at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) on Wednesday. Panelists included Motus’ Jim Disanto, Spatial’s Lyden Foust, PolySync’s Josh Hartung, Michelin’s Patrick Kirby, and General Motors’ Alisyn Malek. The panel was moderated by Techstars’ Laura Kennedy.

Together the automotive leaders and startups shared their personal experience, tricks of the trade and advice on achieving success.

“Remember that it’s not only about you trying to sell a product. You have to share ideas, back and forth with each other and truly be open to changing,” Disanto said.

“It’s very important to know the language. With an understanding of the corporate partner’s culture and environment, the process will be that much smoother,” Malek said.

The overall theme of the panel was for future startup founders to stay dedicated and committed to their product.

“There is no guaranteed formula, it’s truly a journey. My best advice is to be like bamboo – stay firm, but flexible,” Foust said.