New-technology startups seeking pilot customers: Crafting a pair of value propositions

Marc Wouters, James C. Anderson, Markus Kirchberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


A corporation that employs an “outside-in” startup program needs to screen a large number of potential startups and assess each time: What is the value of the startup’s offering to our business, and what resources and support will the startup need so we can actually obtain its offering? However, many startups are not very good at communicating their customer value proposition in a way that helps the customer firm making such assessments. This article recommends that startups construct two sequential value propositions. The Innovative Offering Value Proposition communicates how the startup’s offering creates superior value for the customer. It answers the question: What is extraordinary about the startup’s offering that will enable the customer to solve a significant problem it has or achieve a top priority it has? The Leveraging Assistance Value Proposition conveys what the customer firm will get in return for providing support and resources to the startup. It answers the question: What will make it worthwhile from the customer’s perspective to support the startup to realize its innovative offering?.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-124
Number of pages24
JournalCalifornia Management Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


  • Innovation
  • Startup
  • Technology
  • Value propositions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management


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