If it’s going to survive, a startup needs to grow. In my experience, strategic partnerships are the best shortcut to the kind of explosive growth a new business needs, to get going. Case in point: When our startup, CrayPay, aligned with key influencers in vertical markets, we gained 15,000 new users for our app in only four days.

Of course it's important never to chase a strategic partnership if the end goal is only about money. That kind of thinking gives one partner an upper hand that can limit mutual opportunity in the long run.

Instead, focus on maintaining authenticity and finding the right fit. Steve Case, founding CEO of AOL, pointed to a culture clash as the biggest reason for the historic failure of his company’s partnership with Time Warner. AOL’s aggressive style was in constant conflict with Time Warner’s more conservative, corporate outlook, multiple observers pointed out.