Overall, I am an enormous fan of proper partnerships, if they are structured properly and both parties are incentivized to see the success of your business. I built both of iExplore and MediaRecall with equity-owning strategic partners: National Geographic for iExplore and Getty Images for MediaRecall. Today, we will: (1) determine a strategic relationship; (2) showcase plusses and minuses of associations like this;, and (3) lists critical what to consider when contracting these human relationships.
First of all, exactly what is a strategic partnership? They come in multiple shapes and sizes. Some are in dev-human relationships with combination marketing simply. Some are revenue-share relationships. Some are equity-owning relationships. To me, the deeper the better, to meet the criteria as a proper relationship truly. So, you shouldn’t be afraid to spread the equity to partners that can material change the upside of your business. We structured a deal where National Geographic acquired 30% of iExplore, for cash and promotional support.
- 1,631 1,465 1,607 1,660 1,631 1,610 (0.3%)
- Deep hands-on experience with CI implementation
- Company size
- Processes associated with capacity
- Stock may not arrive on time
On the face of it, it appears like a big quantity (as in my experience-strategic equity owners are typically in the 5%-20% range with respect to the level of support). But, a strategic romantic relationship is more than just giving equity to partners that can help you materially range up your business than you could by yourself. It is also ensuring the proper partner is contractually on the hook for the marketing support you will need to apply that growth.
But, after 9/11/01, when iExplore found itself in a cash-tight position, we quickly found that that deal had not been properly structured for a drawback scenario where we didn’t have cash to invest. Accessing NG’s immediate mail list required money to produce direct mailers. Buying printing advertisements in NG’s journals, even if at 50% off rate card, required money. So, if you are structuring deals, make sure the promotional support will be in good times and in bad there.
Part of that means, making sure the day-to-day managers of the relationship have a vested curiosity about your success. We organized our deal with the CFO and CEO of the National Geographic Culture. Overall, as I mentioned above, I am an enormous fan of strategic partnerships and spreading equity to players that can materially change your destiny. But, as always, the devil is in the facts!
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