Finding the sweet spot: how to build a successful B2B start-up


In a rapidly evolving business environment, there are big opportunities on offer for canny start-up founders in the B2B space. Speaking at CeBIT Australia 2018, Fergus Park, Head of Product & Portfolio Management at Amadeus, shared his insights on how to be a successful B2B start-up.

Park says the biggest challenges traditionally facing start-ups were the cost of access to technology and resources. However, that cost has reduced markedly from millions of dollars in the days of the Internet bubble to thousands of dollars today. Reduced costs means more tech entrepreneurs are now entering the marketplace, supported by increasing numbers of high-quality people thanks to educational advances in recent times.

As a result, Park says the traditional model of large international corporates functioning in a singular, closed-door fashion is fast disappearing, with companies now open to collaboration or outsourcing. While big corporates, protected by expensive barriers of entry, used to handle all “business problems” in-house, technology has now made it possible for many of these issues to be outsourced.

And that, says Park, creates opportunities for B2B entrepreneurs.

4 reasons why you should partner with corporates

  1. If you are a start-up founder, partnering with corporates can be mutually beneficial. Not only are you working to tackle business problems outside the larger company’s domain, but you give yourself a chance of becoming a target for acquisition by the very company you are helping.
  2. Even if a trade exit doesn’t materialise, working alongside a trusted corporation gives you important credibility in an often-crowded marketplace.
  3. You can potentially access robust marketing and PR strategies that may save you from falling foul of the sorts of crises that often plague new companies.
  4. The scale of a large organisation provides you with strong distribution channels, significantly improving your situation while also reducing risk.

Park believes that “the sweet spot” for B2B start-ups lies in being able to address “non-urgent” tasks.

Large companies always have a long list of problems or challenges to address. However, more often than not, there isn’t the capacity to look at them all, so projects that get pushed down the to-do list.

This is the great opportunity for budding entrepreneurs. Rather than worrying about sales figures (which Park says should generally be consistent), or spending time marketing to attract new customers, start-up founders can instead focus on serving that one customer with that one product.

The key to success, then, lies in identifying the problem and offering the best solution. So how do you do that?

Park’s top tips for start-up success

  • Familiarise yourself with the industry.
  • Assess the work of competitors.
  • Keep an eye on new technologies and innovations.
  • Consider partnering with a community like Amadeus NEXT, which partners with start-up initiatives, many of which (like Seatfrog, which provides a way of upgrading business travel) have a strong B2B focus.

If you’ve been inspired to start a start-up but would like to get some more tips, our How to launch a start-up e-book can help. Download it today.

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