Our strategic partnership: Cintrifuse + Techstars

If you’ve taken notice to an increased Techstars presence in StartupCincy, you’re not seeing things.

Yes, we lured Techstars here with FounderCon in 2016 and we completely blew away everyone’s expectations, but that doesn’t mean our partnership ended there.

FounderCon2016 - 119819In the world of startups, venture capital and innovation in general, the clout of Techstars is undeniable. It’s a world-renowned brand boasting some of the most-successful startup alumni. That doesn’t diminish any other accelerator’s successes, nor does it make cities without their presence any less valuable.

What Techstars provides StartupCincy is a significant network extension.

When our Cintrifuse CEO, Wendy Lea, joined the Techstars Board of Directors last month, Mike Venerable, President of CincyTech summed it up best, “Her seat on the Techstars board gives our region the collected wisdom and learnings of the Techstars global community and connections that are unmatched in the startup space.”

And it’s not like we don’t already have an impressive startup track record with Techstars:

  • FamilyTech (previously ChoreMonster), Disney Accelerator
  • LISNR, RGI Accelerator
  • ConnXus, Techstars led Series A; CEO Rod Robinson sits on board of Techstars Foundation
  • SPATI.AL, Mobility
  • CompleteSet, Chicago
  • Losant, New York City

So, we say… Let’s work off of the momentum of FounderCon, and the high regard in which StartupCincy is held. Let’s engineering connections with Techstars accelerators that make sense geographically as well as those that complement what our region is known for.

In January, the managing director of the Techstars Retail Accelerator (partnered with Target) was here visiting prospective startup applicants, BigCo partners and investors who could become syndicate partners.  The Techstars Atlanta team came a couple weeks later and Chicago will be here March 15 (stay tuned for Detroit Mobility dates…)

Our strategy has three components:

  1. Be a pipeline TO Techstars accelerators – Think of it like a fast-track or a vote of confidence in their eyes.  To have spent time in StartupCincy puts you at an advantage above any other ecosystem.
  2. Provide a pipeline FROM Techstars accelerators  – Imagine us presenting to a fresh crop of Techstars founders, “if you’re looking to grow and scale your startup, why wouldn’t you come to an ecosystem that’s organized, coordinated and actively involved in startup success? ”
  3. Make our customer connections program the best – Our signature offering at Cintrifuse (and, really, the special sauce of StartupCincy) is the involvement of our BigCos with a desire to be more innovative by working with startups.  Introducing new voices on either side of that equation is critical to having a healthy relationship.  

FounderCon2016 - 117376The one question people ask after they see this model is usually, “why send anyone out at all?”

The answer is simple: they come back.

Regardless of whether or not startups return (and most of them have), it’s proof that what’s going on in StartupCincy is working, and that the Midwest is a viable place to grow a successful company.

It’s also proof that we believe in our town and believe in our ecosystem. The companies born here end up evangelists of the city for life.

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