I'm working on a startup, looking to collaborate with another company to build our web based product. I have been looking into proposing the idea to a web based web builder company, to join in collaboration to build a portfolio builder website. I've come up with a win-win barter proposal of how to steer clients to each other. Or, offer bundled promotions using the products/services of each other to boost interest in both of our companies. Will it be a conflict of interest or can we balance in it in terms between us. I have established our direct customer, how we will make money and several exit strategies. Our company culture is to "collaborate to maximize creativity" and so we would like to establish that with in our start-up story, it will ultimately link into our tactic marketing strategy.
I have been in a similar situation with a client recently: a startup with a compelling software solution that needs a large partner to develop and bring it the market. We have done a partner selection together where we looked at strategy, value proposition for all parties (what is the win/win/win?) and evaluated the partners based on 18 criteria. The outcome was an eye opener and led to a great partnership.
Partner selection is the most important foundation for your future partnership, don't do it too lightly! The 3-way value proposition is essential for both partners to be of interest. There needs to be real benefit for both partners and for the end customer in the partnership. Based on what you write I can not judge yet if a barter deal is bringing sufficient benefits. Also do a solid assessment of your partner, beyond just the skills assessment.
We can go more in-depth in a call if you like.
To start a conversation about possible partnership you need to identify some pressing problem your potential partner has and approach them with a solution to that problem. Win/win sounds too neutral... You need to really do something. That they can not do on their own but understand the necessity to do. All the details of "mutually beneficial collaboration" will come up during later negotiations.