by Mistilyn Gebow

Challenge

A global financial services company planned to drive service innovation and top-line growth through strategic alliances. At a time when the industry faces disruptive change from emerging technologies, new alliances are both a major opportunity and a risk; most fail to produce the expected results. How to beat those odds? What partnerships work, and why? What can an industry leader do upfront to ensure winning partnerships with emerging players? Knowing that Point B provides a unique mix of operational acumen and venture capital expertise, our client asked us to channel the perspective of potential partners and help unlock the dynamics of successful deals.

Deep, contextual discovery

Before we looked at the outside world, we took a deep look into our client's deal-making context: the organization and its offerings, its partnership track record, its people, and its response to the competitive landscape. We analyzed current priorities, capabilities, knowledge and gaps, assets and strategies.

Archetypes of success

After sharing our findings with a small senior executive team, we curated a portfolio of case studies based on actual partnership successes that were highly relevant to our client. Some drew on Point B's venture capital experience; some leveraged professional relationships through the Point B network to gather other firsthand experiences in producing exceptional partnerships. All were kept strictly confidential. We chose these case studies to represent archetypes that are useful to our client, each with its unique set of motivations and goals. For example, one archetype was the drive to be the "industry standard-bearer" via the new partnership. We shared these case studies in a format that allows our client to use them in building a case for future alliances. We deconstructed each deal—its objectives, synergies, structure, investment, governance and, of course, the results.

Anyone can put together some research on partnering. But according to our client, Point B brought something no one else could: the quality of insight that comes from doing deals with new ventures and drawing on our rich network of firsthand experiences in forming and operating winning partnerships. Our client is now equipped to consider new alliances with clear precedents and conditions for success. By investing just six weeks upfront, the company has become far more selective and capital-efficient with every strategic alliance it makes.