A first effort to get technology startups connected with Illinois’ biggest businesses has resulted in 18 getting in the door.
These are the results of the Illinois Corporate-Startup Challenge, the idea behind which was to establish connections between Illinois’ biggest companies and startups that might be able to help them. The 18 have “some level of engagement,” is the way the results were announced today (Monday), meaning they might have a contract, or they might be at a stage where the big company is fine-tuning what it wants from the startup, or haggling over price, with the expectation of a relationship but no signed contract as yet.
The 18 were from a field of more than 200 startups that entered.
It can be hard for startups to get someone’s ear at big companies, says Brad Keywell of the Illinois Innovation Council. “All the people that have come together on this have really used the power of their megaphone to encourage our big companies to make opportunity available to our small companies,” he said.
Five big companies took part – Allstate, John Deere, Molex, Motorola Mobility and Walgreens. In the next round, ADM and Hyatt will be involved.
Is there profit for these startups? Not yet, though they say this is really about job creation.
 
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