New Stone & Chalk program speeds up corporate connections with startup ‘gems’

New Stone & Chalk program speeds up corporate connections with startup ‘gems’

Photo: Michael Dziedzic via Unsplash

Australian tech innovation hub Stone & Chalk has come up with a way for corporate investors to home in on startup ‘gems’ to speed up the process of connecting emerging ventures with the capital they need to grow.

Stone & Chalk this week officially unveiled Venture Connect, a program designed to curate and foster mutually beneficial connections between corporations and startups.

The program is said to help corporates looking for ways to accelerate their growth through collaboration and to assist startups eager to establish relationships with potential partners and customers.

Stone & Chalk says Venture Connect streamlines the process by taking a fresh approach to building valuable business relationships.

“We created Venture Connect in response to feedback from corporates who told us they get inundated with hundreds of startup pitches daily,” says Ben Dunn, director of advisory services at Stone & Chalk. 

“They know there are likely some gems among them, but sorting through the volume is extremely time consuming, so promising opportunities end up lost.

“Equally, startups are expending significant time and money trying to get the attention of corporates, often to no avail. In my research, I spoke with startups spending upwards of $10,000 just to attend a single conference, hoping for a breakthrough.”

Dunn says there is a is a ‘clear need’ for an intermediary that can make meaningful connections between corporates and startups.

“At Stone & Chalk, we provide qualitative curation, carefully evaluating startups to identify the most promising ones for partnership opportunities,” he says.

The program facilitates strategic introductions to like-minded startups based on briefs provided by the corporates.

Each unique submission is assessed to advance founders with concepts and offerings that meet the requirements of corporations, and then Stone & Chalk supports both parties throughout the process. 

During its beta phase, Venture Connect is said to have already demonstrated significant success by connecting eight startups with corporations.

Although it is early days, the program has already welcomed participation from nine major corporations across financial services, defense and utilities with more than 400 matches made so far. Over a third of these have led to further meetings, partnerships, collaborations or deals. 

Among the corporations to have signed up for Venture Connect is independent standards organisation Standards Australia which has revealed it has secured successful engagements through the program.

“Participating in Stone & Chalk’s Venture Connect has meaningfully accelerated Standards Australia Future Fund in engaging startups,” says Evan Jones, Senior Investments Manager at Standards Australia.

“The program has generated 30-plus matches and many conversations with founders, a number of which have transitioned to a diligence phase.

“The team’s tailored approach to understand our specific strategic needs laid the groundwork for success, and thought-provoking conversations helped shape our vision for the type of partner we want to be to our portfolio companies.”

Stone & Chalk says Venture Connect also serves as a gateway for international businesses looking to enter the Australian market.

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