Highline Beta co-founders Marcus Daniels (left) and Ben Yoskovitz inside Cossette’s offices.
Cossette Health, the healthcare-focused practice within Cossette’s integrated agency, has partnered with startup co-creation company Highline Beta to support its innovation-focused business model.
Highline Beta, which launched in July, takes a “co-creation” approach to supporting start-up development, working with larger companies to either partner with a new start-up or create a completely new one to address a specific problem or issue.
As part of the partnership, Highline Beta and Cossette Health will work with clients to identify their market challenges and potential disruptions, then use their combined capabilities to develop new products and innovations to address them.
Having “a start up mindset” has become a prevalent cliche among bigger businesses (agencies in particular) and resulted in many internal innovation plays that attempt to recreate the start up environment – fast-acting, nimble and cutting edge.
But many larger firms can’t escape the “safety net” of having financing, a stable market position and long timelines. A co-creation model is designed to allow established companies to back smaller, more nimble operations that specifically address the business challenges they are looking to solve.
That model is something Cossette hopes will accelerate what it had set out to accomplish with its health practice. Cossette Health was launched last summer to not only provide the traditional marcom services that might be expected from health-focused agencies, but to take more of a digital-first, innovation approach to their work with clients. Part of that was being done through an accelerator program for health-focused start ups.
“What we’ve learned is that the ecosystem didn’t really need another accelerator,” says Joe Dee, managing director of Cossette Health. “What clients really need is people who understand their business challenges and people who have worked in a start up capacity long enough to understand how to operate like one.”
“Start-ups seek what corporations have and corporations seek what start-ups have,” Dee says. “Start-ups need things like distribution power, customers and scalability. Corporations are looking for quicker ways to innovate or to find new business models. We’re trying to bridge those two worlds with this model.”
Dee says there is a particular opportunity for this kind of model within the healthcare space. In addition to giving corporate clients the opportunity to be on the ground floor of new business opportunities and market segments, having the combined knowledge of Cossette and those established clients allows it to navigate laws and regulations in the healthcare space – similar to why many agencies launch specialized healthcare practices.
“That’s been lacking and it’s why we haven’t seen the same level of innovation as we’ve seen in other verticals,” Dee says. “The other side is that anything that we’re creating, it still needs to communicate to the world. When we need to take it to market, that’s when we get back to the core of what great marketers do and will apply Cossette’s larger agency services.”
Dee says partnering with Highline Beta will also bring in the expertise of its founders, Marcus Daniels and Ben Yoskovitz, as well as additional capital to help start ups get off the ground.
“One challenge we had was putting the cost for innovation on the client,” Dee says. “Highline brings some of that initial financing to help get these things off the ground. Our goal is still to create these entities in partnership with a large corporation, but also give them the autonomy to get funding from external partners.”