Startup founders have many choices these days. Bootstrapping? Venture or seed or angel investors? Accelerator or incubator? If an accelerator, which one?
At Techstars, we believe entrepreneurs can change the world. We believe collaboration drives innovation and that great ideas can come from anywhere. We act with integrity and #givefirst. We have committed to funding 1,000 women or underserved minority CEO founders by 2026.
Our corporate accelerators help build collaborative, productive relationships between founders and Fortune 500 companies around a specific industry vertical and theme. A terrific discussion about what that means can be found here with my blog summary here.
If you are an Industry4.0 entrepreneur or founder focused on selling an AI/ML solution to the manufacturing sector, consider the STANLEY+Techstars Accelerator.
Stanley Black & Decker is a $14 billion global manufacturing leader with an exceptional understanding of and commitment to innovation – both internally and in partnership with global leaders and the startup community. Chief Technology Officer Mark Maybury talks about ‘extreme innovation’ here and has created a 10 year roadmap to help accelerate the adoption of Artificial Intelligence in Advanced Manufacturing. That white paper was created collaboratively with 70 global leading technologists from industry and academia and forms the basis for a Speaker Series with the startup community. This monthly series, hosted by Techstars, ties that theory to practice; it is a platform where STANLEY Black & Decker, its ecosystem, and manufacturing peers to communicate their needs to entrepreneurs who can build deployable solutions. The kick-off session for that series and a the most recent discussion, which includes Rockwell Automation, can be found here and here, respectively. My blog summary can be found here.
I work with Stanley Black & Decker because I believe that a well-curated collaboration between an early stage startup and large company can drive meaningful, lasting impact. One metric for that market impact is financial success. Financial success for all does not simply come from unicorns. A properly capitalized early stage company can drive good financial outcomes for all, not just investors. At Techstars, we are passionate about our founder advocacy and thus, our equity stake is common stock, aligned with the founders. If the founders don’t make money; we don’t make money.
What constitutes productive collaboration between startups and Fortune 500s?
There are the general considerations and industry-specific opportunities. The general considerations discussed in the above referenced video, are based on the idea that startups need to innovate to survive while large companies are designed to align large assets and resources towards common goals. Thus, an optimal collaboration is about a merger of the best of both and requires openness by all. Openness in the world of business requires conscious, thoughtful action. In terms of manufacturing, a successful interaction can mean helpful insights by domain experts and might provide access to certain data sets. Productivity metrics differ among startups, depending on their need. A serial entrepreneur’s needs vary from a first-time entrepreneur and a company looking for product validation has a different focus than one trying to scale production. What matters most is the willingness of mentors, communities, and partners to step in and #givefirst.