Stone & Chalk, Australia’s premier home for emerging tech innovation, today officially unveiled Venture Connect – a program designed to curate and foster connections between corporations looking for ways to accelerate their growth through collaboration and startups eager to establish relationships with potential partners and customers.
Venture Connect transforms corporate-startup partnerships by streamlining the process and taking a fresh approach to building valuable business relationships. The initiative was created with the aim of eliminating common delays and pitfalls experienced in partnering with corporates, which often clash with the agility, maturity and funding runway of startups.
“We created Venture Connect in response to feedback from corporates who told us they get inundated with hundreds of startup pitches daily. 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,” said Ben Dunn, Director of Advisory Services at Stone & Chalk.
“There is a clear need for a curating intermediary to 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.”
The program offers curated and 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 has already demonstrated significant success by connecting eight startups with corporations, with even more success stories on the horizon. Though still in its infancy, the program has already welcomed participation from nine major corporations across financial services, defense, utilities and more. Over 400 matches have been made so far, with over a third leading to additional meetings, partnerships, collaborations or deals.
Stone & Chalk is committed to providing a valuable service in curating and connecting startups with corporations, offering an effective alternative to traditional methods. Strategically this program means that for the first time, Stone & Chalk can extend its reach beyond physical locations providing support to emerging tech startups and scaleups across Australia and beyond.
One corporation signed up to the Venture Connect program is Standards Australia. Evan Jones, Senior Investments Manager at Standards Australia, shared his enthusiasm for the program saying, “Participating in Stone & Chalk’s Venture Connect has meaningfully accelerated Standards Australia Future Fund in engaging startups. The program has generated thirty-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.”
Venture Connect also serves as a gateway for international businesses looking to enter the Australian market, emphasising the importance of qualitative curation and focusing on quality deal flow. This initiative aligns perfectly with Stone & Chalk’s mission, enabling startups to achieve success through various means, including revenue generation.