HPA is launching a new program designed to get large corporations to figure
out how to work with entrepreneurial startups in the midwest. Managing
Director Karin O Connor and Board Member Joel Krauss put the program
together. Our first Industry Partners will be coming to the HPA meeting this week to
kick it off.
As far as HPA knows, it’s the first time that an angel group
has formally enlisted large companies to find ways to work with startups.
Working together can come in many shapes and forms. HPA doesn’t exactly
know how it will all work out, but the companies and startups we are working
with have a few initial goals.
talent that can help solve business problems for startups. Power2Switch,
Food Genius, and Supply Vision have all been mentored by executives, or
former corporate executives with knowledge of their industry.
2. Business Development. Corporations can become customers, or they can introduce their suppliers to startups so those suppliers can become customers of the startups. Simple introductions can be a big business driver for the lean entrepreneurial company. UICO has been introduced to
supply chains of larger companies and has forged some great relationships
“corporate venture”, where they make strategic investments in startup
companies that can benefit them in some way. By working with startups
earlier, they learn a lot more about the industry space, the team, and the
company and can make a better investment in later rounds of fundraising.
They help de-risk the deal. YCharts has received follow on funding from
4. Exits. Corporations are excellent acquirers of startups. When a
startup fits into its business model, purchasing it is a viable way to
expand the corporate footprint. HPA has already seen this happen when
Gradebeam and FeeFighters were acquired.
Additionally, HPA can introduce corporations to best practices with regard
to innovation. Corporations can interface with startups and then take some
of those practices and internalize them to create within their own
companies. They can also learn a lot from each other, and peer interaction
is another piece to our program.
As this program develops, HPA will learn a lot about what big companies need
to become more innovative, and how they can utilize the midwestern
entrepreneurial ecosystem to drive that innovation. There is no limit to
where it could go.
We are very excited about the potential of this new program. It can be
integral to adding depth to the entrepreneurial ecosystem here in the
midwest. If you are a corporation trying to figure out how to interact
with the emerging startup community here in the midwest, please reach out
and contact HPA. We can help show you the way