Economies require two things – supply and demand. So when we think about building a technology economy in Greater Cincinnati and in Ohio, it’s paramount that we think about our supply (startups) and our demand (customers). And IXCincy is one of the best tools we have to build this economy.
On June 15th 2016, Cintrifuse invited 17 startups from our active network (local startups, startups from our Syndicate Fund portfolio and startups from our Fund’s network) to interact and engage with over 30 BigCos. Representatives from P&G, Ohio National, Cincinnati Children’s and many more had the opportunity to hear pitches from startups working on Data Analytics, Smart Office/IoT, Marketing Tech and Fin Tech.
The audience was also treated to a talk from Anand Sanwal, CEO and founder of CB Insights. Anand spoke about the challenges around startups and BigCos working together. He stressed the importance of using data to drive innovation as opposed to opinion and pundits. Further, he highlighted how pivotal it is for large corporations to use startups as a source of innovation. Overall and according to Anand, corporates need to understand that every industry is becoming unbundled and every industry is susceptible to disruption. Those companies that get ahead of the game will be better for it.
Which is why we switched things up for this year’s IXCincy. In past Innovation Xchanges, we’ve curated startups we thought could help solve the problems our corporate partners face. Then the startups had a chance to “speed date” with representatives from the big companies. Essentially one-on-one five minute pitches. The model saw some successes but we thought we could do better.
So this year we asked asked our BigCos for innovation briefs that clearly outline the problems they face and the solutions they are looking for. From there, we distributed the briefs throughout our network. Sifting through the hundreds of responses, we weened them down to 17 companies. And from there, we let the magic happen.
It’s too early to tell if this approach is better than what we did in the past. But, from the feedback we’ve received, we’re pretty sure we’re headed in the right direction.
Continuous work has to be done, on both the supply and demand side, in order to create a tech-based economy here in the Queen City. Events like Innovation Xchange help us educate, engage and ultimately strengthen startups and their BigCo customers.
Thanks to everyone who made the event possible and stay tuned for IXHealth in the Fall where we’ll focus on the challenges in the digital health space.