Hi! I'm Laila Partridge. I’m a serial tech entrepreneur and startup mentor.
Every few years I take on a new project. I used to also make radical career shifts every ten years, but my interests have finally converged. My current focus is on how established companies integrate technology, including new business models.
In my role as Managing Director for Techstars, I run an accelerator in partnership with Stanley Black & Decker. The theme of the accelerator is AI in Advanced Manufacturing. The focus of this blog is Industry 4.0.
My work in the industrial sector began more than 25 years ago as a corporate banker with Wells Fargo doing senior secured debt financings. I underwrote debt financings for paper mills, packaging plants, transportation, gas distribution, steel mills, etc. My M&A (mergers & acquisitions) banking experience led me to Intel, where I was an investor and manager during the formation of Intel Capital. Intel Capital's early investments were in support of its factory supply chain. At Intel, I was the creative force behind Intel's only outside venture fund, described in Harvard Business School's Case Study #N9-800-35. The fund aimed at accelerating the adoption of Intel's new chip architecture. The concept was radical for its time. It organized conferences to introduce Fortune 100 CIOs and CTOs to startup companies for insights on technology innovation.
My third major career shift came as I jumped into entrepreneurship as a Founder/CEO. I held the CEO role in four technology startups. Three startups were funded and two had liquidity events. Several months after I sold my last company to a NASDAQ-traded buyer, I joined Techstars. At that point I had been in the startup world as an investor, tech executive, and mentor for more than 20 years.
Techstars brings together all my past roles and enables me to bring startups in advanced manufacturing to Stanley Black & Decker’s accelerator. I’m excited to start this new journey and document its progress here.