The Illinois Corporate-Startup Challenge is an award winning program that creates a bridge between the major corporations that serve as the backbone to Illinois’ economy and the startup businesses that will power it through the 21st century. Launched in 2013, the program assembles a class of Fortune 1000 corporations on a semiannual basis and pairs them with startup companies that address their innovation needs through a highly curated matchmaking process.
The pilot round, launched on June 23 2013 and included five major Illinois corporations: Allstate, Molex, Motorola Mobility, John Deere and Walgreens. The summer 2014 round of the program included participation from Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), Exelon Corporation, and Hyatt Corporation. On December 3, 2014, the Corporate-Startup Challenge announced the third cohort of corporate participants (Danfoss, Microsoft Corporation, State Farm, and UL) and celebrated the first major investment that resulted from the program. On July 28, 2015, the Corporate-Startup Challenge announced the fourth cohort of corporate participants (Allstate Corporation, Caterpillar Inc., and Grainger).
By better connecting the corporate world to the entrepreneurial community, the Corporate-Startup Challenge will not only foster more innovation but also advance a stronger Illinois economy.
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.
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Illustration by Dieter Braun