Ask a simple question: ”can it create a step change in our business?”
If yes, this partner is strategic.
Many definitions tie strategic partners with JV, R&D, governance structure, etc.
But this is the one I like the most, 🚩 because both distribution or product partners could be strategic.
Here is an example of strategic partnerships from Uber and
Deliveroo from our YouTube channel:
It's almost like a separation between your day-to-day running of the business and then the bigger picture, seeing the forest from the trees.
A food delivery platform, for instance, is a three-sided marketplace. You “partner” with delivery riders, you “partner” with restaurants, and consumers are another part of that equation as well. There's thousands of restaurants on a platform.
Working with Alipay or WeChat Pay is going to unlock a vast number of new customers and grow the business in a way that makes a step change.
These companies are strategic partners, that's how we differentiate.
I've covered markets within Asia Pacific and the Middle East where financial inclusion can unlock whole vast segments of customers. And strategic partnerships with payment partners can really create a step change.
When I was working in Kenya and where you have 2% credit card penetration, running a platform business. In a market like that, onboarding payment partners can ultimately change the game.
In building the case for it, we had to look at who our consumers are. what are the broad, high-level market dynamics there. How will integrating with a player like M-PESA Africa, open up our business to a vast number of customers that we didn't have access to before?
M-Pesa had ~89% penetration in a market like Kenya."
This is how they selected a strategic partner.