RocketSpace: A place in Silicon Valley where giants meet dwarfs

Why do big corporates need startups? Why do startups need corporates? What’s in it for them? Well, it seems that both of them are struggling through some challenges and there are real benefits of working together. And at RocketSpace they both find the institutional partner to set the the stage for cooperation. Uber and Spotify are some of the first 16 unicorns of RocketSpace and more than 90 worldwide corporates, such as at&t, RBS, Cisco, Samsung, Volkswagen are in their portfolio.

“Real innovative companies do not have a secret sauce to copy”

George Craig, Inside Sales Executive, presenting the evolution of RocketSpace starting Q1 2011

Some of the challenges a corporate faces nowadays is disruption. They are too large and too slowly to be disruptive, but they all acknowledge the power startups have in disrupting an industry. So, their main reason to address RocketSpace is to be in contact with startups working in the same industry and learn from them in order to prevent disruption. On the other hand, startups need corporates to test and understand the market, to fund their operations and have access to marketing and other supportive services. RocketSpace is not just a place where the parties meet, but they have to follow a process of Learn-Discover-Experiment-Partner that experts of RocketSpace enable. No matter if the parties came to an agreement and sign a formal partnership or not, the intellectual property is not an issue: there is not a secret sauce to copy from a startup. If they are not getting fast to the market and win, they die, as Arman Zand, the director of Business Development of RocketSpace, told us.

What differentiates RocketSpace from other co-working spaces and business accelerators?

When you want to go big, you have to work hard on a sunny Friday afternoon
When you want to go big, you have to work hard on a sunny Friday afternoon

There are plenty of co-working spaces in Silicon Valley and our learning journey took us to many of those. Even large companies that have offices on their own prefer to be present with 2-3 desks in a co-working space in Silicon Valley, so the industry of co-working spaces is at its bloom. RocketSpace is a tech hub that hosts only tech startups that already have some products in the market, clients and financial stability and, as a business accelerator, it does not have equities in the startups they host. The reason is to keep their objectivity and not try to influence the result of putting startups and corporates in partnership. If the parties do not reach an agreement after they pass the experiment phase, they are still in good terms with both parties. They are also preventing corporates to waste time on searching the right startups in the field by pre-selecting the startups that meet the corporate’s criteria and avoid that big corporates came to Silicon Valley, “pet” the startups and never contact them.

In less than 5 years the business model of RocketSpace allowed them to host more than 150 startups, raise more than 20 billion dollars by their startups, raise 16 unicorns as alumni and they have plans to open a hub in London in the first quarter of 2017 and others in China next year.

Author: Raluca Androne