On Corporate-Startup Collaboration: Farron Blanc of RGAx
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It’s no secret that St. Louis’ size allows for unique collaborations. Startups are able to gain access to corporate leadership and big businesses can feed off of the growing energy in the innovation space. We asked leaders in the startup space, corporate space and community to speak on what each sector can learn from one another and about what’s happening right now in our region.
Farron Blanc is innovation studio lead of Reinsurance Group of America.
What are some things that startups need support on that larger enterprises can provide? What are challenges that larger enterprises have that startups can help solve?
Some view startups as external research and commercialization. Corporations help startups identify problems and corporations have cash!
What are three ways corporate-startup collaborations benefit the region?
Accelerate product-market fit for new businesses’ growth; retain students who study here; attract transplants like myself to the region.
How has your organization or company created or facilitated corporate-startup partnerships?
We’ve launched pilots attacking market problems, funded a few seed and Series A [rounds], sponsored hackathons and made intros to VCs. We’re far from finished though.
What’s one challenge in creating these partnerships?
Securing the people with resources who are dedicated to ensure that a win-win will happen within my lifetime.
In the future, what are some levels of engagement you’d like to see happen at your organization, in terms of startup-corporate relationships?
We’ve built infrastructure to allow startups to work on the insurance industry problems that RGAx finds very interesting, in an easy way. We should be rolling that out in late fall.
Read more about RGAx’s partnerships within the startup ecosystem.