Last week, I had a terrific opportunity to join Tim Hatch, VP Innovation & Technology of Stanley Black and Decker, and Jenny Lawton, COO of Techstars to share information about the new Stanley+Techstars Additive Manufacturing Accelerator in Hartford, CT at our first ‘Ask me Anything”. For those who missed it, I thought I’d share an overview of some of the questions that came up, and what we covered. You can also check out a recording of the AMA here.
For the most part, questions fell into a few areas:
- Why is Stanley Black and Decker doing this?
- Who will be involved? What are the benefits?
- What types of companies is Techstars looking for?
- Why Hartford, and what will the space be like?
In regards to the “why” Tim relayed how Stanley Black and Decker is on a mission to find the best 3D printing companies out there. Stanley Black and Decker has been using 3D printing for more than 30 years, and is looking for new ways to implement additive manufacturing within the production process.
He shared that Stanley Black and Decker has made approximately 10 investments in the space in the past year alone, and is currently talking to a number of companies; some of which they hope will be able to participate in our program. In short, he said, “We want to learn from you, we want you to learn from us, and we want to create a partnership to move forward.”
Jenny Lawton, who has an impressive track record in the 3D and additive manufacturing space, was previously COO of LittleBits and was most recently the CEO of Makerbot, which was acquired by Stratasys, before joining Techstars as COO about a year and half ago. She described her extreme passion for additive manufacturing and for making sure that the world is changed through 3D printing and additive manufacturing. In addition to gaining access to Techstars, which is the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs success, this particular accelerator provides access to an industry leader, Stanley Black and Decker.
Who will be involved?
Selected companies will have access to mentors from both within Stanley Black and Decker, and from experts across the industry. When a company joins Techstars, they are joining a worldwide network, so the impact is the sum of all the parts. In addition to potential access to capital from the partner, Techstars has a large investor network and an unprecedented network that people will gain access to that provides the best opportunities to help entrepreneurs succeed.
What types of companies?
Techstars is looking for innovative teams from anywhere in the world, working to make a big impact. The program itself is stage agnostic, and applications will be screened based on the potential of the team itself. In addition, while the focus for the program is additive manufacturing, this covers a wide variety of potential companies including those focused on software solutions, materials, and/or hardware solutions.
In regards to Stanley Black and Decker, Tim expressed that they are really hoping that companies selected will be people they can work with post program.
Why Hartford, CT and what is the space itself like?
Hartford is a city with a rich history, an increasingly vibrant center and universities, midway between New York City and Boston with only an hour and half distance to either one. So participants will gain access to the benefits of the lower cost of housing of the Hartford region, while being only a short train ride away from two international cities. As we continue to work on the program, we’ll be sharing more specific information about the types of resources available on site. However, to provide a preview, the following is a picture of the site under construction.
Stay tuned for more updates, and if you are as excited as we are about the potential impact of this program, please do apply today by clicking here.
If you’d like to schedule 1:1 time with me to share more about your company, and learn about the program, you can sign up for in person and virtual office hours here.
I’m looking forward to meeting more amazing companies in the weeks ahead!
This post was originally published here.
One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to be the person I needed when I was younger. That’s why I’m super excited to announce that I am joining Techstars as managing director for the Stanley+Techstars Additive Manufacturing Accelerator.
As anyone who’s connected to the startup scene knows, starting and growing a company can be a lonely endeavor. When I founded a company several years ago in West Hartford, Connecticut, I was extremely fortunate to build relationships with leading organizations, to provide solutions that mattered, and to raise capital.
After two rounds of funding, I found myself in a whirlwind. My company was acquired by an industry leader, which shortly thereafter asked me and some members of my team to relocate to Boston. Since then, I have had countless opportunities to help the company with digital innovation, software development, process mapping, infrastructure modernizations and outreach into the startup community. In the past year, I’ve also joined the Board of Directors at a growing equity-backed company doing amazing things, and serve on an advisory board for another.
Techstars: A Worldwide Network
Techstars is a company I remember reading about and admiring in 2010 when I was working on my own company, but I wasn’t quite sure how to work with them from where I was at the time. Since then, they’ve continued to grow at a phenomenal rate, with countless success stories (SendGrid, DigitalOcean, etc.) and truly are the worldwide network helping entrepreneurs succeed.
If I had the opportunity, I know I would have greatly benefited from participating in an accelerator with Techstars as I was building my business, and am excited by the idea of helping other entrepreneurs work with Techstars now. So when I recently learned that they were launching an accelerator in Hartford, CT with a Fortune 500 company and industry leader Stanley Black and Decker (NYSE: SWK), I was intrigued.
The Hartford area is filled with smart, educated people who are doing big things across many industries. But it doesn’t have quite the startup scene of Boston or NYC… yet!
A Central, Vibrant Location
I moved to Connecticut in middle school, and have loved it ever since. After college, I spent time in other places including Rhode Island, Oregon and New York City, but when my husband and I mapped out where we wanted to ‘settle down’, we made our way to the Hartford area. Equidistant between New York City and Boston, Hartford is filled with many notable companies, has access to major universities, is loaded with history and a downtown that continues to be revitalized.
Innovating Additive Manufacturing
Additive Manufacturing, the industrial version of 3D printing, is in use for many companies already. In the past few years, advances in the space have started to radically shift how companies are using the technology, and the application of it has the potential for massive disruption. In fact, industry research from IDTechEx indicates the market may reach $40 billion by 2027. In the past two years, there have been significant investments in additive manufacturing companies and some acquisitions.
With additive manufacturing, companies can now share parts more easily across digital networks. But this same ease of transmission also creates an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the security and protection of data along the supply chain. Potential applications for the use of additive manufacturing are endless and include prototyping, advances in materials, and tooling. This vertical has created a new opportunity for startups seeking to understand and improve systems, or in some cases, to disrupt them. Forward thinking companies like Stanley Black and Decker are being strategic in identifying what innovations are happening out in the field and investigating ways to work with them.
The #givefirst mission of Techstars, combined with Stanley Black and Decker’s objective of finding innovative companies in the additive manufacturing space, got my attention and drove me to action. The entrepreneurial strength of an organization like Techstars and the industry expertise of a company like Stanley Black and Decker is certain to attract innovative, groundbreaking companies ready to disrupt business as usual. This combination of strengths will lead to an exciting accelerator and make great things happen for startups, for Hartford and for Stanley Black and Decker.
We can’t predict what any one company will develop, or the impact that it will have. And while ideas are many, execution is the key to success. So I’m energized by and appreciative of the opportunity to join Techstars to help find companies who are inspired and motivated to build the next great thing, and I look forward to the long term impact they will have.
Applications are open now. Regardless of what stage you are at, if you are an innovative company working in the additive manufacturing space, consider applying for a spot in this summer’s Stanley+Techstars Additive Manufacturing Accelerator. Be sure to join us for an interactive AMA on February 26th to get all your questions about the program answered!