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How we’re #team startup

Mona Vernon  Chief Technology Officer, Thomson Reuters Labs

Mona Vernon  Chief Technology Officer, Thomson Reuters Labs

Thomson Reuters is not a startup, but we are a company that holds innovation and partnership as key tenets of our culture. We see great value in closely engaging with the startup community and adopting startup principles and behaviors. While it may seem an unlikely pairing to some, we know that corporations and startups can make a very powerful team, and Thomson Reuters is incredibly proud to be part of thriving startup ecosystems across the globe, working with early stage businesses in a number of capacities:

As startup partners

Sometimes our relationship with a startup is as partner, co-creator. We work closely with a startup to jointly address a specific market need. For example, in the case of our partnership with ThinkData Works, we had mutual customers ask us to work together on a proof of concept to bring together ThinkData’s cache of open data on government purchases with our wealth of financial data to give clients a more complete view of companies. The result? Our mutual customers – in this case, big Canadian banks – are able to spend more time on business intelligence and lead generation, and less time on data integration.

Like all good partnerships, we make sure our collaborations with startups are a win-win. Each of us brings something to the table and each gets something from it. For example, Thomson Reuters can give startups access to our vast data store, to our APIs, and most importantly, to our customers. In turn, startups help us tap into new technologies and new markets.

Examples of data exhaust that can be used to pinpoint and take down players in the illegal sex industry at Thomson Reuters hackathon.
Startups and students partner with Thomson Reuters to discover new ways to use data to end human trafficking.

As startup growth agents

Sometimes our role is to provide startups with support, recognizing great ideas and fueling their potential. Our model is typically less about funding or taking equity; rather, we invest our time, energy and other resources to help early stage companies grow their business. Such is the case with recently launched Incubator program, which offers select startups free use of our office space in Baar, Switzerland; access to Thomson Reuters proprietary content and technology sandbox; and access to our experts.

As startup mentors

As an established business, we have a wealth of expertise that early stage companies can draw upon. Across many activities, from development to marketing to fulfillment and service, it’s likely that in all Thomson Reuters years of doing business, we’ve been there, done that. We can share our knowledge, lessons learned and give much-needed insight into an area of business the startup may not have any experience in, which can be critical to their success.

Aside from giving counsel and acting as a sounding board, we can also provide startups with valuable connections – to industry experts and forums, potential partners and even our own customers.

As startup students

Often, we are also a student of the startup. Through our engagement, we’re able to learn about new technologies, new approaches and new ideas. We have the opportunity to think about the market (and our own data) in new and exciting ways. Startups can also teach us a great deal about things like agile development, building a culture that resonates with millennials, working with efficiency and making lightning-fast decisions.

Blockchain solutions innovator Axoni's office space and developers
Developers at blockchain startup Axoni partner with Thomson Reuters experts to develop a new blockchain solution.

As future _____ ?

One of the most exciting aspects of working with a startup is we don’t (and can’t) know exactly where it will lead. Perhaps they’ll develop a technology that will be a major disruptor and we’ll have played a key role. Maybe one day we’ll be their biggest customer, or they’ll be ours. Perhaps we’ll forge a long-standing partnership that will yield countless benefits for each organization and the markets we serve. Or just maybe our collaboration will be so well aligned that the startup will eventually become part of our organization.

Working with startups, the future is wide open, to be both discovered and developed – and that’s what makes it so compelling, so rewarding, and so potentially beneficial for Thomson Reuters and other successful corporations.

Watch this space

In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing more about Thomson Reuters engagement with the startup community – from baking startup touchpoints into our business model to checking in with some of the startups we’ve partnered with to learn about their experiences. Watch this space.

Learn more

Visit Innovation @ to learn more about how we are pairing technology with human expertise at Thomson Reuters Labs™ and The Incubator.

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