I’m excited to announce today that I’m joining Techstars to serve as Managing Director for the new Techstars Retail Accelerator, in partnership with Target, in Minneapolis. I cannot think of a more ideal local corporate partner than Target to help bring the power of the Techstars network to Minneapolis! Target is a proud startup supporter that continues to push boundaries in design, customer retail experience, and, now — technology.
The retail industry is massive — and we are about to disrupt it. Worldwide, total retail sales were more than $22 trillion in 2014. That’s trillion with a “T.” No other industry integrates into every aspect of today’s economy and our day-to-day life. Retail technology is a huge opportunity and to most observers, still in its infancy.
This is not the first time my path has crossed with Techstars, and in a way, it brings things full circle for me since I hastily packed up a truck and moved with my wife to Boulder from Minneapolis in 2008. I had just been accepted into the CU-Boulder MBA program and was looking for new opportunities and a change of scenery. Having recently sold my first business I started while at the University of Minnesota, I was eager to continue my founder journey under the backdrop of the Rocky mountains. Boulder was undergoing massive transformation at the time, and when I left in 2012, this small city was firmly planted amongst the top startup communities in the U.S.
When we made the transition back to Minneapolis, I plugged back into the startup scene and was impressed by the quality of founders and startups here. It was clear that there was something special brewing.
As I surveyed the startup scene in Minneapolis, I wanted to help connect Minneapolis founders to the rest of the world. I decided to create Matchstick Ventures to help fund early-stage tech companies in the Twin Cities and in other startup communities across the country. I also co-founded Beta.MN to showcase local startup companies and provide networking opportunities and connections for founders. Finally, I co-founded Twin Cities Startup Week to further unite and shine a national spotlight on the startup community.
What was missing all that time? Techstars! Which is why this announcement is such an exciting day for me and why I am so bullish on Retail + Techstars + Target + Minneapolis combination. I’ve been involved in the creation of this program helping to drive initial discussions and can’t wait to get it up and running. I’ve seen firsthand how Techstars can be a force for good in the cities it operates in and I’m excited to bring it back home to Minneapolis.
Have a startup that plans disrupt the retail industry? Let’s chat. Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @rbroshar.
The program will kick off in June in Minneapolis. Applications are open – apply here!