june, 2019

02jun6:30 pm9:00 pmBusiness Development & Partnerships: Advice from Experts


Event Details


“The thing that makes business development fascinating is that the best deals have never been done before. There’s no template, no cookie cutter grind-it-out approach to making it work. This is why most organizations are so astonishingly bad at it.” – Seth Godin

Business development and partnerships are all about expanding growth opportunities for your startup. When done correctly, they can be a huge driver of growth for early-stage startups, all while providing value to partners and consumers. But, without strategic planning, specific goals and the right incentives, BD and partnership deals can become an enormous waste of time.

How should early stage startups be approaching business development and partnerships? Is there an argument for punting on BD strategy and focusing on sales or marketing? Or does BD have value from Day 1? What kind of assets or resources can a young company bring to a partnership deal? We’ll ask our panelists these questions and cover topics like

  • Developing & implementing a business development strategy
  • Identifying the right partners and building relationships
  • Aligning incentives
  • Negotiating strategies
  • Aligning business development with sales, marketing, and other teams
  • Hiring for BD & partnerships

About the panelists

  • Tory Marlin is the VP of Brand for Finn by Chase, an all-mobile bank with built-in money management tools. Her work is focused on changing the way young people think about and manage their money. She hopes to change the conversation about saving to a more positive one, giving the “starter” segment of Gen Z & millennial customers the tools they need to make money management a joyful experience. Tory’s previous work experience spans custom content, experiential marketing, influencer marketing, and new product development. Most recently at PopSugar, she led the strategy for more than $8MM in revenue, growing the PopSugar brand influence specifically in the health and wellness space and in experiential programming. Previously, Tory was on the founding team of #BUILTBYGIRLS, Oath’s social impact brand aimed at giving young women the tools to pursue careers powered by technology.
  • Michelle Finizio is the Chief Revenue Officer & Head of Partnerships of FounderMade, a platform that takes consumer discovery to the next level, helping entrepreneurs everywhere scale their business through thought leadership, investment, distribution and high-impact marketing initiatives. Prior to this, she was the program lead at XRC labs, where she launched the first XRC Labs cohort. She managed and supported program operations, the mentorship network, demo day, sponsor and investor relations, and portfolio company’s operations, staffing, and program needs.
  • Kristin Ross, SVP Corporate Sales & Partnerships at S’well, a company that makes fashionable hydration accessories that look great and do good. Ross specializes in identifying and building long term relationships with high profile accounts to secure strategic partnerships that will support the overall brand strategy. Swell’s most recent partnership is with Links Unlimited, naming them the exclusive supplier of S’well bottles to the wholesale industry. Prior to S’well, Ross was the Director of Corporate Partnerships for North America at FFP Group. There, she successfully delivered and drove sales development of the Corporate Sales and Wholesale Channels for both Links of London and Folli Follie.
  • Alex Song, is the Co-founder & CEO of DojoMojo, a partnership marketing platform. Alex Song spent several years working in investment banking before tapping into his natural pension for entrepreneurship to launch two of his own companies: Innovation Department, a Soho-based Startup Studio, and later on, DojoMojo. The latter of the two came to fruition after Alex saw an opportunity, through his work in helping to grow brands across a range of industries, to streamline the process of collaborative brand partnerships. By launching this first-of-its-kind partnership marketing platform, Alex, along with his co-founders, has democratized the system of partnership marketing to help well-established and on-the-rise brands alike.
  • (Guest Moderator) Alexandra Adamson is the Executive Director of Women In Sales (WIS), a digital platform dedicated to developing the next generation of female sales leaders. She is also the Head of Organizational Strategy at CloserIQ, the sister company to WIS, where she focuses on human capital consulting and sales talent optimization. Previously, Alexandra was the Director of Talent at Bowery Capital, a seed-stage venture capital fund where she worked with the firm’s entrepreneurs on their human capital strategies including talent architecture, executive search, performance management, and compensation design. Prior to Bowery Capital, she was the Director of Account Management at Betts Recruiting where she scaled sales teams at high growth companies such as Zenefits, Marketo, Rubrik and Meraki.


6:30 – 6:50: Drinks & Networking
6:50 – 7:50: Panel
7:50 – 8:15: Audience Q&A
8:15 – 9:00: More Drinks & Networking


(Sunday) 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm


Alley Chelsea

119 West 24th Street, 2nd Floor