Smart corporations are aggressively looking to engage with startups through partnerships, investments, and acquisitions. But they need to do so in structured ways that allow them to manage the apparent chaos… 85 percent of corporate respondents said that collaboration with startups and entrepreneurs will drive success for their organization in the future.
Created in 2013, the Illinois Corporate-Startup Challenge is a national award–winning program that connects global corporations with the entrepreneurial community for mutual benefit. To date, we have connected over 15 global corporations to 130 innovative startup companies.
What we do
We work with Fortune 1000 corporations to understand and organize their innovation needs. We then go to market to find the startup companies that best address their business challenges. This highly curated scouting process helps both parties forge impactful partnerships, such as pilot engagements, investments, and strategic collaborations.
How it Works
The Corporate-Startup Challenge creates business outcomes for innovative businesses, big and small. See how our process works below:
Corporate-Startup Challenge in the News:
- Caterpillar demo day highlighted in the Peoria Journal Star, WMBD, Pekin Daily Times, and Peoria Public Radio (November 2015)
- Grainger, Caterpillar, Allstate highlight Corporate Startup Challenge (Chicago Tribune, July 28, 2015)
- Microsoft-CPL demo day coverage in Chicago Tribune’s Blue Sky Innovation and tech blog Chicago Inno (April 2015)
- UL, the Illinois Corporate-Startup Challenge and the power of vetting (Chicago Tribune, April 7, 2015)
- State Farm, Microsoft sign up for startup speed-dating (Crain’s Chicago Business, December 3, 2014)
- Molex Industries Invests in Wireless Charging Startup NuCurrent (ChicagoInno, December 3, 2014)
- Program links ADM, emerging businesses (Herald & Review, October 3, 2014)
- Reboot Partners and Exelon Corporation Tap Into Entrepreneurial Movement (Reuters, September 16, 2014)
- On September 15, 2014, the Corporate-Startup Challenge won an “Excellence in TBED” award from the State Science & Technology Institute (SSTI) for the 2014 “Most Promising TBED Initiative.” Read the story here.
- Startup matchmaking effort shows early wins, expands (Crain’s Chicago Business, June 24, 2014)
- How connectors maker Molex drives innovation (Chicago Tribune, February 25, 2014)
- The complex dance of connecting corporations and startups (Chicago Tribune, February 15, 2014)
- Playing matchmaker between startups and large companies (Crain’s Chicago Business, January 4, 2014)
Corporate Insights Report
In early summer 2016, we published an insights report into best practices learned from three years of corporate startup matchmaking efforts. Read the full report here.