What Is Startup Scouting?

Whether you are an innovation manager or working in a corporate development environment, finding innovative ideas or startups for your company is always part of your agenda. A great way to innovate is to make sure you add startup scouting activities to your global innovation strategy. In case you are asking yourself, “what is startup scouting?”, let us tell you what we know about it.

Startup scouting is part of the corporate venture engagement, more specifically, it is the process of identifying, evaluating and selecting the best startups to work with. The purpose of it is to make sure that the right startups will enter your radar in due time. Sometimes it is just to know they exist and watch how your market is evolving, but often it is also to establish a relationship with them (purchase or sell a product or services), invest equity stake or even acquire them. Possibilities are –almost– endless.

How do others view startup scouting?

According to one of our client’s, “startup scouting is similar to a radar”. She further explained that, as an innovation manager, this radar needs to be good to identify a new blip, then help you understand if it is an enemy or a friend and lastly, decide whether it’s worth following or engaging with that blip on the radar. You may  also read how other companies, such as Aguettant and Etex, use these services.

Novable- startup radar

How do you scout for startups?

There are many ways of scouting for promising startups, at Novable we organize them in 4 categories.

Search in directories and databases

Startup databases like Crunchbase or Pitchbook are genuine goldmines to find lots of financial data on innovative companies. When you know what to look for or if you want to get information on a given startup, they are super useful. There are hundreds of thousands of companies registered in these directories and it’s often painful to search for a needle in a haystack. 


Companies also attend or host startup events (trade fairs and shows, hackathons, corporate labs, contests, etc.) This is a great way to meet entrepreneurs in person and get a lot of insights in a short period of time. Of course the sanitary crisis put a stop to this kind of events, and their reach is also limited to the startups attending.


You have at your disposal consultants specialized in innovation and startup scouting, ranging from large international consulting firms to smaller innovation boutiques.

Startup scouting services- learn more

Startup scouting platforms

You also have startup scouting platforms that combine database search models with the consultant service thanks to artificial intelligence, and this is exactly what we do at Novable.

In order to be efficient in a startup scouting activity, innovation managers and corporate venturing professionals usually rely on a startup scouting stack, which is a combination of the above-mentioned methods.

Now, the most recent startup scouting platforms leverage artificial intelligence and human expertise to deliver full-scope professional solutions like an extension of your team. The benefits are really tangible: while technology delivers results at light-speed on a much broader reach, the consultants’ expertise complements it with innovation and startup literacy – leaving you the final cut. Think of it as a Pareto-rule: 80% of tedious searching tasks are delegated to the machine in a matter of seconds and, at the end of the day, you get better results, faster. 

What is startup scouting