Smart Transportation Startup Co-Innovation

The China VP of Innovation for a global top 3 tire manufacturer was exploring new extension markets and emerging sales channels for their existing product line.
The core business of a leading tire manufacturer was saturated, leading to low single-digit organic growth and high price sensitivity. The company saw two opportunities to increase growth and improve profit margins. The first opportunity involved entering new transportation categories that lack strong incumbents, such as robot traction. The second opportunity was to expand into new digital sales channels that provide more direct access to end customers. In both cases, the client sought to collaborate with startups to accelerate their learning process and market entry.
Asia Growth Partners worked with the client’s innovation team to prioritize product categories and sales channel models for exploration. We then conducted a systematic search of the Asian startup ecosystem to identify startups with demonstrated technology and market traction in these areas. The strategy was to collaborate with 'fast followers' rather than category leaders in order to maintain leverage in the partnership. Collaboration models included joint solution development, channel partnerships, and venture investments.
  • Identify and prioritize new growth opportunities.
  • Scout startup partners and evaluate their technologies, business models, and management teams.
  • Develop business cases for each prioritized partnership and validate them through market research.
  • Introduce startup management teams to initiate discussions with the relevant internal teams.
  • After a rigorous assessment, Asia Growth Partners and the client steering committee prioritized 16 growth opportunities in robotics, fleet management, and distribution.
  • Across these 16 growth opportunities, we identified 94 Asian startups with proven market traction and technical capabilities. Conversations were then initiated between the management teams of 8 startups and internal teams to explore collaboration viability.

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