Minneapolis-Saint Paul is a “headquarters economy,” home to the highest concentration of Fortune 500 headquarters in the country. That can be a huge asset for local startups when corporations act as customers, investors, and partners, as well as support programs like local accelerators or events like Twin Cities Startup Week. Partners across the Forge North coalition, including the Carlson School of Management, Target, Medical Alley Association, EY, and others, worked together to interview dozens of the region’s largest corporations and learn all the ways they’re engaging startups today and what more could be possible in the years to come. Join us to unpack the results.
State of Startup + Enterprise Partnerships in MSP
Matt Lewis is the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at the GREATER MSP Partnership, the public-private economic development partnership for the Greater Minneapolis-Saint Paul region. He leads a team that builds and powers coalitions working to address regional economic issues in areas such as talent & workforce, air service, food & agriculture, and more. Matt worked with dozens of partners to build and launch the Forge North startup coalition, led by entrepreneurs, investors, corporate executives, and community leaders across MSP. Matt is a former journalist and earned his MBA and Master’s of Public Policy at the University of Minnesota. He was awarded Young Economic Development Professional of the Year by the International Economic Development Council and 40 Under 40 by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal. Matt serves as Board President of Conservation Minnesota.
Stephanie Rich is Head of Platform at Bread and Butter Ventures where she works to add continuous value to portfolio companies and founders. She is also EIR at Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator in partnership with Cargill and Ecolab. Steph has worked with numerous early stage startups as a mentor and advisor, and has received the Techstars #givefirst award three separate times. She has hands-on expertise in bringing products and companies to market while building, cultivating and sustaining customer bases online and off. She has founded two companies and was employee #1 at Particle, the leading Integrated IoT platform.
Dominic is a Partner at EY and leads EY’s Strategy and Transactions Practice in Minneapolis. He has 20 years of professional service and corporate experience. Prior to his current role, Dominic was a manager of strategy and business development at 3M Company. Dominic serves as the Growth Markets Leader for the Upper Midwest and also co-directs both the Heartland Entrepreneur of the Year and Minneapolis Entrepreneurs Access Network programs. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Children’s Theatre Company.
Al recently joined gener8tor as a General Partner after over 20 years of corporate leadership experience at the intersection of finance, corporate strategy, law and external relations. He spent the first five years of his career working in finance and corporate strategy for a Minnesota-based medical technology company. Since then, a common thread throughout his career has been technology, including working with start-up companies as an attorney and lobbying on policies to stimulate technological innovation. Most recently, Al served in a senior management role for Amazon Logistics, where he provided strategic leadership on key community and operational decisions across a multi-million dollar network of facilities. Al is passionate about supporting entrepreneurs and investing in Minnesota's best and brightest founders. He is an active member of the MSP community serving on a number of boards, including Turning Point - An African American Organization. He is also the former Chair of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission.
Al attended Florida A&M University where he received a bachelor's degree in accounting and Master of Business Administration. He is also a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School where he received a Juris Doctor degree.
Brittany Clements is a Managing Director and founding member of Allianz Life Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Allianz Life. She is involved in all aspects of the investment life cycle, including deal sourcing, diligence, deal execution, portfolio/fund management, and post-investment support of portfolio companies and LP investments. Active investments include Halo Investing, Ellevest, Ladder Life, Vestwell, OnRamp Insurance Accelerator, and more. Prior to Allianz Life, Brittany was a Senior Vice President at Silicon Valley Bank, responsible for deploying over $100 million of venture debt and growth capital solutions to early stage healthcare and life science companies in the Central US. Brittany began her career as a CPA at Deloitte, serving as formative roots for robust financial analysis and modeling skillset and a trust but verify approach to VC investing. Brittany holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Creighton University.