“Partnerships between startups and large companies are very important”

 Jan Meiling, managing director at StartLife, is speaker at IFFI’s startup event the 14th of September. What will he contribute to the event and why is it relevant? “The startup mentality is very valuable”.

Jan Meiling is Managing Director at StartLife, and has been for eight years. StartLife is a company consisting of fifteen people whose core business is to offer support to startups. Educated as a biologist, Meiling worked in the food and agri business for over ten years prior to his current function at StartLife. During three years, he worked as new business development manager at DSM. Adding to that, he’s contributed his skills and expertise to knowledge institutions and hence is familiar also with the academic perspective of food (industry) matters. In terms of innovation, Meiling learnt a lot. As a StartLife manager, he is applying this knowledge as well as his accumulated experience in the food ingredients industry.

What topics will you be covering during the Startup event?

“My job at StartLife consists a lot of forging partnerships between existing parties and startups. Big companies possess a lot of power, capital. They have unique facilities for testing, access to the market and sales channels. Thus, startups have a lot to win by engaging in partnerships with big companies.

From a big company’s perspective, startups are attractive as they have a strong sense of the market trends and adapt to changing trends faster than big companies. That mentality is very valuable.

The question is, how do we bring these two together? But more importantly, how do we create a partnership between the two? What models are available? I will give an answer to these questions.”

What is the relevancy of this event to you?

“I’m very interested in how innovation is organized. For multinationals, we see innovation activities at the internal Research and Development department, but also external innovation by means of buying companies, by investing in startups, collaborations with startups or universities. I am curious about the ways people engage in innovation, about the trends and the status quo.”

What do you value about the IFFI network?

“I am new to IFFI and have not yet experienced any of their events, the 14th of September will be a first! The concept and the idea behind IFFI, I appreciate very much. The idea of erasing the competitiveness between coworkers of the same industry, share knowledge and confront common challenges together is one I stand behind.”

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