By Kate Drane, Techstars Network Engagement Manager
Hey founders: Did you know that at any given time, your startup may be in the process of being considered for a game-changing opportunity? It’s true!
As a Techstars Network Engagement Manager, a critical part of my role is to serve as a matchmaker between our corporate partners and Techstars portfolio companies. My team and I pore through our portfolio a few times a week, searching for amazing companies that best match the needs of our corporate partners. In addition, most corporations and investment teams have at least one team member that serves a similar role, and our need is the same: we are on the hunt for innovative startups (like yours!).
Whether or not you’re part of the Techstars network, if your company’s goals include entering into a strategic partnership with a corporate partner, securing investment, or attracting new customers, here are a few tips that any founder can take to better position their company to stand out:
Tip #1: Optimize your website
Oftentimes your website is the first place a corporate partner will look for information about your company.
- Make it easy for someone to quickly understand your company by having a one to two sentence description that can be copy-pasted from your homepage.
- Include the logos of your clients (especially if they are other corporations). This can serve as a proof point to a potential corporate partner that you have the infrastructure to work with them.
- Many corporations have firewalls that prohibit them from visiting unsecure sites, so be sure to encrypt your website.
Tip #2: Ensure that your social media is up to date
Your social media presence can play a powerful role in helping to create a holistic view of your company.
- Crunchbase and AngelList are two commonly leveraged tools to provide publicly available funding information and more. Visit your profiles on both, and if any of your information is out of date, use these instructions to make updates: AngelList and Crunchbase.
- Routinely update your LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram profiles. Your social presence helps to demonstrate that your company is active and thriving.
Tip #3: Update Connect (this applies to Techstars portfolio companies only)
Here at Techstars we are committed to the notion of “Techstars for Life,” and that means bringing additional value to our portfolio companies both during and after they have completed their program. For Techstars founders, our internal platform, Connect, serves as an important tool to help us identify startups that fit specific opportunities.
- Visit your company’s Connect profile, and ensure that all of your information is up to date. Taking this small action can be a game-changer. For example, some corporate partners may be on the lookout to meet with startups in their region, and when our team has the correct data, it ensures that we can connect them with you (double opt-in, of course).
This list is by no means exhaustive, however taking these small but important steps will help to position your company for the magic of engineered serendipity. Who knows, a game-changing opportunity may be trying to find you right now!
I would love to hear from you. What steps has your startup taken to stand out? Leave your best advice in the comments.
Learn more about how the the Techstars Network Engagement Program helps corporations and startups work together—to the benefit of both.
Techstars is excited to announce its Network Engagement Partnership with QBE Insurance Group. As one of the world’s largest international insurance carriers, QBE is uniquely positioned to support entrepreneurs who participate in Techstars global programs.
The Techstars Network Engagement Program creates opportunities for Corporate Partners to gain access to the Techstars worldwide network of entrepreneurs and build strategic relationships with startups, founders, mentors, and investors to advance their business innovation goals. Partners will refine their corporate innovation methodologies through the program’s targeted portfolio reviews and proprietary innovation tool kits. The program is geared toward corporate partners who are interested in startup engagement for proofs of concept, investments, or mergers and acquisitions.
“By partnering with Techstars, we’re able to take advantage of their proven ability to source and support the world’s most promising startup founders and help them achieve lift-off through initial investment, business development, and mentoring. Through local engagement with QBE subject-matter expertise and leaders, we hope to provide a strong network of mentors and supporters to help Techstars entrepreneurs succeed—at every stage of their journey,” says Ted Stuckey, Managing Director of QBE Ventures.
Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, announced today two new ways that will help Fortune 500 companies engage faster with the Techstars Network to drive innovation and disruption in their industries: Techstars Network Engagement Program and Techstars Innovation Bootcamp.
Long known for its worldwide mentorship-driven accelerator programs, Techstars created the new programs to help large corporations confront the threat of disruption to their businesses faster. Techstars has more than 1,600 startups in its accelerator portfolio with a market cap of more than $16 billion. By connecting early-stage companies with larger corporations looking for innovative solutions, Techstars is helping startups in our network succeed, while also helping large corporations stay closer and engage earlier and more effectively with disruptive innovations.
How? Through two way mentorship. Startup founders provide insights and technology solutions that represent the disruption that large corporations are seeking. Corporations are able to offer startups business development opportunities, market insights, proof of concepts and potentially investments. It’s a win-win partnership.
Take Amazon’s acquisition of PillPack (a Techstars company). PillPack, a tiny start up, moved the entire global pharmaceutical market, putting companies like Walgreens and CVS in danger of losing enormous portions of their core business because they weren’t thinking ahead or outside of the box. Techstars’ new programs puts disruptors in direct contact with large corporates so that they can work together to solve business challenges before they’re in competition with each other.
About Techstars Network Engagement Program
Techstars Network Engagement Program provides corporate partners with unparalleled access to the Techstars worldwide network of entrepreneurs. Techstars Network Engagement Program helps partners identify internal challenges, implement proof-of-concept solutions, scale new technologies and expand their portfolios.
“By partnering with Techstars, we’re able to take advantage of their proven ability to source and support the world’s most promising startup founders and help them achieve lift-off through initial investment, business development and mentoring. Through local engagement with QBE subject-matter expertise and leaders, we hope to provide a strong network of mentors and supporters to help Techstars entrepreneurs succeed – at every stage of their journey,” Ted Stuckey, Managing Director of QBE Ventures.
About Techstars Innovation Bootcamp
Techstars Innovation Bootcamp is a 54-hour internal innovation event that empowers employees at large corporations with an intense, yet fun, process to help identify and rapidly advance new business concepts. Cross-functional teams pitch business innovations to a panel of judges at the end of the 3-days with a goal of further advancing their ideas. Techstars Innovation Bootcamp creates a culture for advancing entrepreneurial ideas, learning startup methodologies, and rapidly advancing new business concepts.
“Equinor piloted our first Techstars Innovation Bootcamp in London earlier this year and, after a successful program, we rolled out additional programs in Stavanger, Oslo, and Houston.
The Techstars Innovation Bootcamps have had three benefits: (1) Exposing Equinor employees to the startup business culture (i.e. toolkit, mentors, pace of delivery), (2) Rapidly assembling a meaningful portfolio of investible innovations and (3) Strengthening the engagement between the Corporate Innovation Function and the Business Lines.
The co-ownership with Techstars on bootcamp outcomes and the ability to create a healthy tension between startup business practices and corporate expectations have been keys to our success.” Laurent Poncet, Head of Business Model Innovation at Equinor.