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Retail tech startup accelerator with Techstars working with Target…
Ryan Broshar, Managing Director of Retail at Techstars (a global ecosystem of entrepreneurs revolving around a startup accelerator program in Minneapolis, working primarily with Target) – (bio), joins Pavan Bahl, Rob Sanchez, and Marc Raco on location in Las Vegas for Shoptalk 2017. This episode is powered by Olapic.
The draw and density of the Minneapolis ecosystem, why the retailers’ ears are open, and qualities of successful Techstars companies
Ryan’s background as a VC, the draw for startups to Minneapolis, how Techstars has no state run incentives, and how Minneapolis is a hot bed of innovation, with Target, Best Buy, and domination of nearly 20 Fortune 500 companies, the highest density in the world. Startups are paired with more than 150 mentors, providing R and D and new thought processes, the retailers’ ears are open. Looking at the goal and putting the pieces together to find and support amazing entrepreneurs, giving exposure to Minneapolis market, and finding retail companies who want to work with big box retailers. How 70% of all startups can get involved in the program in some way. Five qualities they look for are team, team, team, market opportunity, product (team is important). Enterprise platforms that support the retail machine, notable participants such as Inspectorio (a mobile-first inspection platform replacing pen and paper inspections in factories for apparel, adding transparency) and Branch Messenger (a private communications tool across employees of a store).
The next frontier, brand/startup communication, and impressive stats
What’s coming next, Broshar’s perspective that the final frontier is the return industry and how to get things returned, an attention on retention, and customer experience to creating a reason for people to come to and return to the store. Collaborating with other accelerators, how the engagement levels of major retailers is stepping up, and how Target realigned with Tech Stars. Helping brands communicate with startups and innovators, and vice versa, and how less than 1% of applicants get into Techstars, looking at the fact that 1,000 companies have gone through Techstars so far to solve problems of major companies, how they’ve raised $2 Billion, and created a portfolio value at $7 Billion.
Give first, the Techstars business relationship, and playing the MBA card
Considering Techstars is stage agnostic, how the application process impacts the other 99%, what’s consistent about the winning companies and founders, and the ethos of” give first”. Plus, the business relationships for companies with Techstars. A round of Off the Grid Questions hits the personal side with the first idea Broshar ever acted on, trading up, shenanigans, smashing pumpkins in rural Iowa, playing the card of being an MBA student to access amazing people, and starting a business as an undergrad.