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Six secrets for startups to successfully partner with Thomson Reuters

Hella Hoffmann  Data Scientist

Hella Hoffmann  Data Scientist

As a startup, partnering with an established business has lauded benefits for both parties, not least of which are agile product development and broad client reach. Knowing where to begin, however, can be daunting.

Our team at Thomson Reuters Labs™ – Waterloo Region and open data provider ThinkData Works in Toronto have strategic partnerships boiled down to six simple ingredients for success.

What made ThinkData Works ready for engagement?

1. A market-ready solution

A clear direction and business plan make establishing a trusted partnership simple.

ThinkData Works has data products deployed or in pilot with a number of financial intitutions, and has integrated their search engine into the open data platform run by the Canadian Open Data Exchange (ODX), a partner of Thomson Reuters.

2. Mutual customers

Common target audiences are essential for effective partnerships. ThinkData Works is currently deployed with one of the “big five” Canadian banks and in pilot with another.

3. Strategic overlap

It’s not enough to have a common audience; that audience needs to be interested in the outcome.

In the case of ThinkData Works, our mutual customers expressed interest in a joint data offering. This naturally led to exploration of approaches for increasing the value of open data.

What principles are key for successful partnerships?

We follow a set of key principles when engaging in startup partnerships. The collaboration should be…

4. Good for the startup

One of our key objectives at Thomson Reuters is to protect the startup. We make sure that the sales cycle is short, that we align with the startup’s strategic direction and that we remain mindful of financial constraints.

Through strategic partnership, the startup can gain access to our broad customer base, market-leading tools, high-quality content and domain expertise.

5. Good for Thomson Reuters

We look for our own success in partnerships, too. Through collaboration, we receive access to emerging technologies, innovative solutions, new business models and new markets to explore.

6. Good for the customers

Customers get the best of both worlds through a successful partnership. By combining the innovations of the startup with our vast pool of data and product offerings, customers get access to solutions that would otherwise take decades to develop and may not ever get to market.

Project Background

Since its launch in October, 2015, Thomson Reuters Labs – Waterloo Region has been working under two primary objectives: innovation and partnership. Innovation is delivered through data science and rapid, low cost, customer-driven prototyping. Partnership features collaboration with universities on academic research and discovering relationships with startups that benefit the startup, Thomson Reuters and our customers.

The objective of our strategic partnership with ThinkData Works is to evaluate and ingest open data, explore monetization of open data and enhance Thomson Reuters offerings to customers.

How we applied the process to ThinkData Works

We walked through the following strategic planning steps with the startup:

Understand the existing offering

What content does the existing data cover? What is the use case? Through questions like these we evaluated the existing data offering from ThinkData Works.

Define a possible joint offering

The next question to answer is: How can we make it better?

For this project, we collaboratively identified the potential for a joint offering that incorporates Thomson Reuters PermID – our open data set of machine-readable unique identifiers – into the ThinkData Works product.

Prototype the possible joint offering

In less than two weeks, we collaboratively developed a PermID integration with the full data sets from ThinkData Works.

Vet the prototype with customers

The PermID enriched data set is currently deployed for feedback with two Canadian financial institutions for two very different use cases.

Build business case (WIP)

We are currently building the business case to determine the value and demand for a joint offering and potential for on-going partnership.