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Startup Scouting and Engagement

Effective scouting requires a systematic approach to identify, assess and engage the right companies. Determining the scouting scope in detail helps to accelerate long list identification processes and avoid misalignment with engaged companies. First-round candidates are evaluated by technical and commercial criteria. RFIs are issued to collect information and assess management engagement. Second-round candidates are interviewed using a balanced scorecard across three dimensions: technical competence, collaboration potential and business maturity.

Detailed profiles are then created for each short-listed startup, including guidance on further partnership negotiations and engagement models. Partner scorecards make it easy to prioritize partners for projects and to communicate internally why a partner is suitable. By pre-identifying important characteristics, we can prioritize partners with high potential for specific projects.

Since public information is typically unavailable, startup due diligence relies upon knowing the right questions to ask, and asking the right people. We recommend a due diligence playbook following three main steps: create deal hypotheses, run a detailed assessment, and summarize findings and recommendations for the decision committee. We take a diligent approach to crafting hypotheses to support a well thought through investment or partnership decision.


Engagements typically range from a few weeks up to one or two months.


Chinese, German, English


Who is this for?


Seniority: C-2 (e.g., director, regional head of X), C-3 (e.g., senior manager, manager)
Functions: Innovation (e.g., R&D, accelerator, CDO), Strategic (e.g., strategy, M&A, corporate venture)


  • Systematically track startups that may present co-innovation opportunities or competitive threats.
  • Assess the competence of the startup in key technical and business domains.
  • Establish and test hypotheses to support the objective evaluation of collaboration or investment potential.
  • Align your decision pace and communication style with the startup to improve the probability of arriving at a successful result.


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