Demystifying Corporate Development for Startups, or Why You Should Talk to Corp Dev

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The corporate M&A cycle can sometimes feel like a black hole of mismanaged time, distracting meetings, and false hope. Paul Graham even went far enough to write Don’t Talk to Corp Dev, in which he compared corp dev teams to robber barons and argued that it is a costly mistake for founders to engage with corp dev teams if they don’t have immediate plans to sell their company.

However, especially given the nature of enterprise technology, this is not always the case for startups selling to the Fortune 500. Corp dev teams can bring a lot of value to the table for enterprise technology startups, and the benefits of interacting early with a corp dev team can extend far beyond acquisitions talks down the line.

From securing champions within an organization, to helping startups navigate a Fortune 500 partnership, here’s what Andrew Stern (VP and Worldwide Head of Corporate Development at F5 Networks), Debra Danielson (SVP of M&A Strategy and Distinguished Engineer at CA Technologies), and Helder Antunes (Senior Director of the Corporate Strategic Innovation Group at Cisco) had to say about working with corp dev teams on a panel at a recent New York Enterprise Tech Meetup:

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3rd Annual CRO Summit - Recap

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We were excited to partner with Bowery Capital a few weeks ago to host the third annual CRO Summit at Work-Bench. With speakers such as Mitch Wainer (Co-Founder & CMO of DigitalOcean), Marc Jacobs (VP of Sales at Greenhouse), and Russell Sachs (VP of Sales at Work Market) among others, we spent the morning hearing from some of New York’s leading sales executives. See below for some of our favorite insights from the morning.

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Enterprise Founders Upfront No. 3 - Recap

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With Mike Olson, Chief Strategy Officer of Cloudera

Coming off the heels of Dwight Merriman of MongoDB and Gaurav Dhillon of SnapLogic, we were thrilled to invite Mike Olson, the Chief Strategy Officer, former CEO, and Co-founder of Cloudera, to speak at the third installment of our Enterprise Founders Upfront series earlier this year. Valued at almost $5 billion, Cloudera provides commercial Hadoop-based software and services. Besides letting everyone know that Aaron Levie has the best hair in enterprise technology, Mike offered three key pieces of advice that we have outlined below.

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What No One Told You About Running a SaaS Business

Last week at Work-Bench, we hosted Michael Pryor, the CEO of Trello, for a Work-Bench workshop on the most important operational lessons he learned in scaling Trello. Used by over 8.5 million people and leading organizations such as Google, The New York Times, Tumblr, Freshdirect, and many more, Trello is a visual collaboration tool that lets teams create a shared perspective on any project.

Michael highlighted a comprehensive array of both general and NYC-specific operational tips that startup founders should be aware of as they search for a commercial lease, hire employees, and scale companies. If you weren’t able to swing by, check out some of these tips and see the full slides below!

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An Enterprise Software Glossary

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Commonly Used Acronyms (CUA)

Enterprise technology is rapidly changing, and here at Work-Bench we're lucky to have a front-row seat to the meteoric innovation happening across our industry. As we are constantly hearing new acronyms and abbreviations, we wanted to share our internal glossary with you in an effort to compile this information in a central repository. See below for some of the newest tech & terms that we are seeing in our companies, investments, and industry. Please let us know in the comments section if we missed anything, and we'll be updating this document periodically!

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Work-Bench Hosts NYC’s First SaaStr Social

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NYC's First SAASTR Social

Last Wednesday, Jason Lemkin moderated NYC's first SaaStr Social with Greenhouse.io co-founders Dan Chait (CEO) and Jon Stross (Chief of Product). The three discussed what to expect from a VP of Product, how to make that hire in the first place, and how the CEO and VP of Product can work together to accelerate operations post initial traction. Below are a few highlights of the evening:

"If you don't think you need it, you haven't seen greatness" - Jason Lemkin

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Bowery Capital's CRO Summit

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"People First - Technology Second"

Our Work-Bench team attended Bowery Capital's second annual CRO Summit yesterday, which featured speakers from startups and Fortune 500 companies sharing best practices and insights in sales and marketing.

Here at Work-Bench, we are committed to accelerating enterprise startups, with a focus on Fortune 500 customer development and acquisition. The most common challenges we see facing enterprise startups remain on the sales-front: improving lead generation (inbound and outbound), building a strong team, and creating a sales process that can scale and repeat from a few corporate customers to many.

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