From the World Cup to Dealmaking, Why Partnerships Drive the Competitive Edge

The 2018 World Cup has been exciting so far. In my view, however, the most riveting play is yet to come. Not the finals. I’m talking about the World Cup heading to North America in 2026.

27 July 2018


This North American World Cup will be only the second to have more than a single host and the first to be split among three countries. Ten matches will be played in Mexico, ten in Canada, and the remaining 60 in the U.S.

I have a special appreciation for everything that went into bidding for this event and all the planning it will take to see the multi-nation partnership through. In my role at Intralinks, I work with other members of the corporate development and partnerships team to bring key potential partners to the table.

Just as Carlos Cordeiro, president of U.S. Soccer, had to hammer out details with his peers from Mexico and Canada before submitting a joint proposal to FIFA, my team connects with our counterparts at other companies to see if there’s a fit.

Take, for example, the recent announcement of our partnership with Axiom, a global leader in managed legal services. They provide technology-driven, highly efficient due diligence applications. Our customers will benefit from Axiom’s Contracts Intelligence Platform and its ability to improve the due diligence process. In turn, Intralinks Virtual Data Rooms (VDRs) can secure negotiation processes for Axiom’s customers. Together, we’ll help deals get done faster – and that’s what everyone wants.

Like a joint FIFA bid, the process is not as simple as identifying synergies and agreeing to work together. There are many stakeholders who have to buy in. On both sides we need to coordinate sales, finance, product teams, marketing and communications – all parties that will have to execute in lockstep to make a partnership work.

Over the years, we’ve established partnerships with Microsoft® for their collaboration, productivity and mobility solutions; Okta, for secure user identities; Kira for AI contract review; financial printing and communications company Toppan Vintage; and others. These partnerships give our customers seamless access to a host of powerful services that help them execute their deals.

I look at what the U.S., Mexico and Canada had to do to close their deal. I can also envision what’s to come: the machinations required for three countries to prepare 23 stadiums for 48 teams and more than 1,000 players; all competing for millions of fans. And let’s not forget the planning needed for training sites, lodging and transportation. It’s a huge endeavor.

So, as you watch the rest of the 2018 World Cup, remember that not all of the intense action is on the pitch itself. So much has already happened to get that game on the field. I’m already looking forward to 2026.

Read more about our partnerships here.

Brian Hwang

Brian Hwang

Brian S. Hwang is Director of Strategic Business & Corporate Development at Intralinks. Brian joined Intralinks from RR Donnelley Global Capital Markets where he primarily worked with clients in the Midwest and Northeast, consulting on initiatives related to disclosure issues for SEC financial reporting, US Proxy compliance and transactional due diligence. Brian started his career with New York City law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, where he was involved in the due diligence and execution of transactions, valued at over $350 billion.

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