Startup founders need to put themselves out there and actively seek partnerships with the big players in order to rapidly grow, Liven co-founder William Wong says.
The Melbourne-based restaurant deals company has just secured a big partnership with startup giant Uber that’ll see the ridesharing service integrated directly into the app.
Wong says this will provide huge access to customers and brand awareness, and is an avenue more startups should be pursuing.
“You have to remember: if you never ask the answer will always be no,” Wong tells StartupSmart.
“There’s real value in reaching out. The worst thing that can happen is they might say ‘not right now’.
“Once you start going down that path it opens up a lot more doors.”
Liven offers users exclusive discounts from a range of partnering restaurants and venues in Melbourne.
After launching last year the startup picked up more than 30,000 users in its first 12 months of existence, and has also partnered with a number of charities so users can donate extra savings.
Wong says the startup first began talks with Uber last year.
“Uber were saying we were perfect for them and consistent with what they’re looking for,” he says.
“On-demand restaurant service and on-demand ridesharing go hand-in-hand.”
It’s all about taking little steps to prove your company’s worth to a bigger brand, according to Wong.
“Initially we didn’t expect much,” he says.
“You have to follow the rule that if you want to achieve something big, start small. You have to prove to them that it’ll work.”
Liven began the partnership by simply offering a free first Uber ride to its members before delving into a “deeper” partnership.
“They said we were doing fantastic and that gave us the credibility and allowed us to go into further partnership opportunities,” he says.
“For a company that big to be telling us that our app is a perfect fit is a huge endorsement for us.”
Buoyed by the new partnership, Liven will now be looking to rapidly expand around Australia.
“Uber wants to push us and we want to take it to the next level nationally,” Wong says.
“We aren’t national yet but Uber is, so the natural progression is to expand to other cities and take the experience to people outside of Melbourne.”