The last year has accelerated the tech innovation cycle unlike anything before it. Over the past eight months, as professionals across the globe transitioned into working from home, technologists and creators capitalized on the extra time to develop new ideas and launch new partnerships, investments and cross-collaborations.
While the last decade was defined by social media, the phenomenon and the ecosystem in general, I believe the coming years will be defined by deep collaboration and partnerships. You have to look no further than Salesforce’s acquisition of Slack to see this in action. While Salesforce had the enterprise connections, Slack had the water-cooler tech for today. Together, they will change the scope of how enterprise companies operate in a remote/hybrid environment. However, this is just the beginning. Whether as acquisitions or loosely coupled partnerships, this will be the future.
Let’s take a look at a few more examples.
LivePerson and “Over the Wall”
2020 saw more small businesses launched than ever before, and entrepreneurs across the board find themselves needing guidance to navigate uncertain waters. This guidance can’t come just from siloed motivational drivel. It will require a collaborative approach. “Over The Wall,” a brand new podcast from LivePerson CEO Rob LoCascio, will feature interviews with multi-disciplinary guests, from psychologists to thinkers like Deepak Chopra. On the show, LoCascio shares his own 25-year entrepreneurial journey and invites industry titans to discuss their biggest mistakes and lessons learned. The podcast will look beyond the glamour and glitter of entrepreneurship and focus on the grit LoCascio developed after founding a multibillion-dollar company and more than 20 years running a public organization.
Coca-Cola and OneDine
Coca-Cola recently partnered with Teneo, a global CEO advisory firm, on conducting a survey reviewing how the pandemic has impacted restaurants. The results were eye-opening: only 45 percent of restaurateurs are very confident they will stay in business for the next 12 months. As a result of the survey, Coca-Cola launched their “MarketPlace,” where restaurant owners can access discounted apps and services that create a more contactless dining experience, such as OneDine’s scan-to-order solution. Due to the partnership between Coca-Cola and Teneo, as well as the collaboration between Coca-Cola and OneDine, restaurant owners are more informed about new options to serve their customers.
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CognitiveScale and RedHat
CognitiveScale, an enterprise AI software company with solutions that help customers win with intelligent, transparent, and trusted AI/ML-powered digital systems, recently partnered with RedHat, a multinational software company providing open-source software products to the enterprise community. Specifically, CognitiveScale’s Cortex Certifai product examines decisions made by AI models and measures the accuracy of those decisions. RedHat Openshift customers can now deploy and manage Cortex Certifai at scale in the cloud.
ATB Ventures and Radical Ventures
As organizations are pulled into increasingly competitive market demands, tactical acceleration (through acquisitions and venture capital investments) allow for inorganic growth to seed progressive strategies. Technically-focused venture funds, such as Gradient & Radical Ventures allow for investment into the emerging technologies responsible for rewriting innovation architecture. We’ve seen this strategy displayed through the Alberta-based innovation arm of ATB Financial, ATB Ventures, through their strategic investment in Radical Ventures to accelerate ATB’s innovation function within applied AI and machine learning. Radical is an early stage, AI-focused venture capital firm that supports entrepreneurs using artificial intelligence to transform industries. This partnership underpins the recent growth and success of Alberta’s tech and venture capital ecosystem, a region to watch this year. Through this relationship, ATB Ventures continues to codify its position in the startup ecosystem and the critical nature of data & AI within emerging ventures. Effective partnerships and connections to firms like Radical ensure that ATB and AI-startups continue to grow and compete globally.
Whether joining forces with strategic partners or collaborating with like-minded brands, top-performing companies will continue to leverage alliances in 2021. Business leaders will find that they must proactively seek out and nurture such industry relationships in order to sustain continued growth post-pandemic and beyond.