Connecting #StartupCincy Companies to BigCos Opens New Markets
Exciting things have been happening for the team over at ConnXus. They recently announced a $2.5 million Series A round lead by Techstars Ventures. This is the first time Techstars has invested in our ecosystem and is a great example of how the Cintrifuse Syndicate Fund helps out #StartupCincy companies. With all the good news, we thought we’d look back at how our Customer Connection program helped ConnXus get new customers and break into an entirely new market.
One industry where we have one of the largest concentrations of customers is the healthcare industry. I attribute that to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital taking a chance on us when we were a young startup.”
Rod Robinson, ConnXus CEO
Rod Robinson, ConnXus CEO
Rod Robinson started ConnXus in 2010 with the goal to help women- and minority-owned businesses grow by connecting them to Fortune 1000 companies seeking to expand and diversify their supplier base.
While ConnXus had been successful attracting companies like Coca Cola, McDonalds and IBM, they had yet to land a healthcare provider as a client. And Rod knew that one customer in this hyper-growth vertical would open lots of doors.
ConnXus Gets the Healthcare Industry’s Attention
Breaking into the healthcare industry is difficult for many vendors. Not only do you need to be HIPAA compliant, but healthcare providers also want to know you have experience in their industry. They don’t have the luxury of taking a chance on unproven vendors.
This leaves most companies, especially small startups, with a paradox: How do you prove your company can service the healthcare industry without existing healthcare providers as clients? Cintrifuse was able to smooth the path for ConnXus.
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital was looking for a way to diversify their supplier base and, because of our strong relationship with them (investor in our Syndicate Fund, provider of operating dollars, customer connections partner, etc.), we were able to play matchmaker. An introduction that eventually led to Cincinnati Children’s becoming a customer of ConnXus.
Customer connections and exposure are key. A great example is Innovation Xchange. Because we presented there it has led to follow up discussions with potential customers and potential partners.” Rod Robinson, ConnXus CEO
Servicing this key contract with one of the nation’s most-respected pediatric care facilities, ConnXus proved it can serve healthcare providers of all shapes and sizes. This relationship allowed them to get several other clients within the industry including Premier Health Partners, Kaiser Permanente and The University Hospitals Health System (Cleveland).
Cintrifuse’s customer connections program continues to be a vital service for ConnXus. Most recently, Rod made valuable connections with Cincinnati’s large corporations at one of our signature events, Innovation Xchange. At the event, Rod pitched to representatives from some of Cincinnati’s largest corporations – Procter & Gamble, Kroger, Western & Southern, and dozens more.
As a direct result of Rod’s experience at Innovation Xchange, ConnXus is now in talks with EY to become either a customer or a channel partner.
The Cintrifuse Impact
Acting as a connector, Cintrifuse facilitated the key introductions that allowed ConnXus to break into a new market. Without our customer connections program, ConnXus would have spent countless hours and resources trying to get its first healthcare client.
Cintrifuse’s deep ties to Cincinnati’s large corporations provided, and continues to provide, key customer connections for Rod and ConnXus.