Business Development & Partnerships: Advice from Experts

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Business development and partnerships are all about expanding growth opportunities for your startup. When done correctly, they can be a huge driver of growth for early-stage startups, all while providing value to partners and consumers. But, without strategic planning, specific goals and the right incentives, BD and partnership deals can become an enormous waste of time.

How should early stage startups be approaching business development and partnerships? Is there an argument for punting on BD strategy and focusing on sales or marketing? Or does BD have value from Day 1? What kind of assets or resources can a young company bring to a partnership deal? We'll ask our panelists these questions and cover topics like
- Developing & implementing a business development strategy
- Identifying the right partners and building relationships
- Aligning incentives
- Negotiating strategies
- Aligning business development with sales, marketing, and other teams
- Hiring for BD & partnerships

About the panelists
- Michelle Finizio is the Chief Revenue Officer & Head of Partnerships of FounderMade, a platform that takes consumer discovery to the next level, helping entrepreneurs everywhere scale their business through thought leadership, investment, distribution and high-impact marketing initiatives. Prior to this, she was the program lead at XRC labs, where she launched the first XRC Labs cohort.

- Alex Song, is the Co-founder & CEO of DojoMojo, a partnership marketing platform. Alex Song spent several years working in investment banking before tapping into his natural pension for entrepreneurship to launch two of his own companies: Innovation Department, a Soho-based Startup Studio, and later on, DojoMojo. The latter of the two came to fruition after Alex saw an opportunity, through his work in helping to grow brands across a range of industries, to streamline the process of collaborative brand partnerships. By launching this first-of-its-kind partnership marketing platform, Alex, along with his co-founders, has democratized the system of partnership marketing to help well-established and on-the-rise brands alike.

- Kim Patel is the Director of Global Corporate Strategy for VICE Media. She leads company-wide initiatives across VICE’s digital, cable, production, and global agency businesses, and is a strategic partner to the executive team. Prior to joining VICE, Kim was a Deputy Chief of Staff with AOL, focusing on strategy and operations for the global media portfolio and AOL / Yahoo merger. When she is not leading strategy at VICE, she can be found working with early-stage founders on product marketing, business development and fundraising strategy.

- Shyamali Choudhury is a Director of Business Development at Flatiron Health. Flatiron is a healthcare technology and services company focused on accelerating cancer research and improving patient care. Flatiron’s business development team is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and leading special projects that accelerate growth, enhance the company’s product offerings, and support new market development. Prior to Flatiron, Shyamali has experience working across healthcare, including in life sciences and global health, with a background in public policy research.

- (Guest Moderator) Alexandra Adamson is the Executive Director of Women In Sales, a digital platform dedicated to developing the next generation of female sales leaders. She is also the Head of Organizational Strategy at CloserIQ, the sister company to WIS, where she focuses on human capital consulting and sales talent optimization. Previously, Alexandra was the Director of Talent at Bowery Capital, a seed-stage venture capital fund where she worked with the firm's entrepreneurs on their human capital strategies including talent architecture, executive search, performance management, and compensation design.