Samantha Urban On Partnerships

Jan 30, 2018

Welcome to part two of our three-part Entrepreneur Conversation with CEO of Urban Translations, Samantha Urban. Urban Translations is the leading provider of an in-room digital concierge platform for casinos, resorts, and hotels, as well as a CONNECT Springboard Graduate and Capital Match Company. In this post, Samantha gives us some insight into her partnership with Samsung and offers tips on how your start up can form mutually beneficial partnerships too.

Partnering with Samsung: How It All Got Started

One of the qualities that is most important to Samantha’s success is her ability to build relationships, not just contacts. It was this quality that led her to gain several mentors that have guided her through her journey in business. One of these mentors introduced her to Samsung, leading to their subsequent partnership. Urban Translations’ partnership with Samsung grew from technical to more involved as the companies found each other to be mutually beneficial.

Samantha’s Top Four Tips for Partnering with a Large Corporation

  1. Make a Wish List – When making this list, don’t think practically, dream. Think about what your company could be, no limits, and what it would take to get there. Though many startups think primarily of liquid capital as being the main objective for strategic partnerships, Samantha encourages companies to get more creative. “The partnership doesn’t always have to be monetary, but make sure it is worth something,” says Samantha. Many partnerships come with equally important benefits such as access to events, knowledge, clients, and resources that your company may not have. “Partner with people already in the industry and have them collaborate with you to improve your business, rather than just give you direct financial investments.”
  2. Ask for What You Need – Creating the wish list means that when there are potential partners, you will be able to present them with details of a clear and thought out plan for the partnership. “Know what you want out of a partnership-and then ask for all of it,” says Samantha. “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” Before finalizing partnership details with Samsung, Samantha and her team made a master list of all the aspects and features that they hoped to find in a partner. Because they had such a specific and detailed plan, Samsung was able to easily comply with this list and create a solid partnership with Urban Translations.
  3. Make Sure the Partnerships are Mutually Beneficial – Ask yourself why you want to partner with this company and why they would want to partner with you. “Samsung is partnering with us because they feel our software adds value to their hardware.  They believe in us and know we are going to be successful selling our products together,” says Samantha. Find a partner that sees the value in your company and is willing to be part of the process with you, while you also help them on their journey. For example, Urban Translations partners with smaller businesses such as ad agencies that they refer companies to, as they pitch the agency’s hospitality clients in return. “Think outside the box about how a partnership can creatively benefit both you and your partner.”
  4. Be Patient – “As everyone can guess, forming a partnership with a large organization is slower than you may prefer,” says Samantha. “Be patient.” It is important to provide your side of the negotiations as quickly and efficiently as possible in order for the process to go smoothly. The long process is also not an excuse for you to wait around. “Keep track of all the deliverables you’re waiting for, and do the necessary follow-ups. Don’t wait for them. Be proactive.”

Check back soon for our FINAL installment in our blog series on Samantha Urban. Are you a company seeking financing from investors? Apply to CONNECT’s Capital Match Program – Urban Translations did!