Yes, having a knowledgable (and well connected) board member is crucial for success of a strat-up in high tech industry.
There are another key component of a strat-up success in high tech industry i.e. strategic investor. An investor who no only brings money, but also brings doamin/ market knowledge as well as connections to the start-up. In high tech industry promoters of most of the start-up makes money when their company gets acquired. A strategic investor can play a vital role in that
You are absolutely right: the strategic advisors/board members often are the ones that drive the start-up founders to build key relationships to create an ecosystem around the company. These relationships building should start early and can result in M&A opportunities.
I think below are key partnerships a start-up in EDA and IP area should work on. When I mention partnership I mean the other partner should have some potential upside in the success of the product and ready to contribute to some extent for that success (one form is defnitely work against equity, but there can be other options)
Schenario 1: Start-up based in US/ Western Europe/ Taiwan/ Japan - These locations have customer base for the product, but these locations are high cost
The required partner:
a. A services company at low cost geography: For EDA and IP the engineering cost is a significant proportion of the product development cost. Hence driving the cost down which in turn result in lower product price and hence most probably higher market share is critical
Schenario 2: Start-up based in India/ Eastern Europe/ China - These locations have low cost, but virtually no customer base
The required partner:
a. A sales and marketing partner, based in customer location, who can help to have at least one customer tie-up at product development phase and can take the products to many potential customer when the produt is ready. In high tech industry it is always advisable to make a product with a potential customer, otherwise the chance of product success decreases dramamtically
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