DEMO Conference in Santa Clara, California - are great opportunities for young companies to not only gain some exposure, but to network with other like-minded entrepreneurs. One company I spoke to at DEMO, Zappli, makes a social shopping app that leverages many existing services through partnerships and APIs - a strategy many young startups could benefit from.Startup conferences - like last week's
- Philippe Suchet
"Why reinvent the wheel?" Suchet told ReadWriteWeb. "The great solutions are out there. Let's assemble them, create a strong social component and it will be very different and insightful for customers."
"Online shopping is an old industry. There are a lot of players out there and we don't want to compete, but we want to leverage the power it can bring," says Suchet. "[The partnerships are] accelerating our time to market. It would have taken us years to launch this on our own."
But how does a small startup go about licensing the data and technology of other larger companies? Suchet says it's all about who you know.
"When you approach companies, the most important thing is to see who is the key decision maker. I've been in the internet space for over 10 years now [...] so I'm one or two degrees of separation away from the key people," he says. "Then it's just a matter of figuring out what is in it for them, putting together a win-win solution and in a few weeks it can be live."
Suchet says Zappli has built its app to play nice with others should they approached for partnerships as well. It also provides an open environment for its users. Instead of creating its own walled-off social network, myShopanion lets users share and connect with their Facebook and Twitter accounts. This is all part of an effort to make the app feel familiar to the user, says Suchet.
Partnerships, APIs and licensing can be valuable tools for launching a product quickly with minimal resources. Conferences like DEMO - where dozens of companies with new features can mingle and scratch each other's backs - are great places for these partnerships to form.