Fostering Collaboration and Relationship Building With PechaKucha

Feb 26, 2024

400 seconds. That’s how long each founder and partner has during the Techstars Transformative World Torino Accelerator program PechaKucha presentations.

It’s one of Sheila Simon’s favorite parts of the program. 

“It’s a great way to break the ice straight away,” said Simon, program manager for the Torino program, now in its fifth year.

PechaKucha, ‘chit-chat’ in Japanese, is a time-managed presentation style. The 20-slide deck only includes pictures and the presenter has exactly 20 seconds per slide. Because partners participate along with founders, the experience fosters a collaborative environment for strong relationship building from day one. Once the ice is broken, Martin Olczyk, the managing director, looks forward to getting into a productive rhythm. 

“Once partners and mentors start meeting regularly with our founders, they are instantly impressed by their professionalism, energy, ideas, and Techstars programming,” said Olczyk. 


But long before PechaKucha, mentor madness or any connections are made, Olczyk and Simon set clear expectations for both partners and founders. 

“Big corporations move a little slower while the founders are moving at lightning speed,” said Simon. It’s why she invites the partners to present at the beginning of the program to share insight into who they are, how they engage with startups, and the initiatives they are working toward. 

Similarly, Olczyk reminds partner executives and other stakeholders the founders are in the Techstars program to learn, adapt, pivot and potentially build something totally different than what they started. 

“They aren’t perfect yet,” said Olczyk. “But it’s a unique opportunity for the partners to steer the startups in the right direction.” 

Partners meet with founders every two weeks for 30 minutes during the three-month program to stay engaged. They are also tasked with nominating five to 15 mentors, ideally from different parts of the business, varying seniority levels and different backgrounds. These relationships are vital to founders who may need connections and specific help from, say a marketing executive or a connection to someone in the local ecosystem. Partners and mentors are encouraged to be transparent while founders are encouraged to be consistent and coachable. 

“It’s really a privilege to work with our partners Fondazione Compagnia Di San Paolo, Fondazione CR, and Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center,” added Olczyk.

Techstars Transformative World Torino started on Feb. 19.