Those who have been following along with the Target + Techstars Retail Accelerator will recall the contractual term between these two respective companies has come to a halt after three years and some ~30 startups later.
Updated 12/13/2018 11:30 CST: Earlier this month, the questions was answered: YES, and…
- “Certified by Techstars” is a first of it’s kind pilot for everyone involved.
- Target and METRO will tap into Techstars, but lead the program in house.
- Split between Minneapolis and Berlin.
- A Focus on partnering with later-stage startups better positioned to pilot and rapidly scale collaborations.
- Techstars Managing Director Ryan Broshar is leaving and will be replaced by Garan Goodman.
As originally published on 11/12/2018 11:30 CST:
Target, for their part, ran the query up the PR chain following demo day 2018 and provided a generically inconclusive response that was reinforced again this past week:
“We’re excited about a successful third year partnering with Techstars and continuing to support the participating startups and program alumni. Regarding future accelerator programming with Techstars, we don’t have any plans to share at this time,” wrote a spokesperson for Minsok Pak, Target EVP, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer.
Techstars Director of Marketing Joanie Kindblade echoed Target’s statement practically verbatim:
“Techstars doesn’t have any plans to share at this time, but stay tuned. We are excited about a successful third year partnering with Target and the results coming out of the program.”
….meanwhile Managing Director Ryan Broshar, who sits of the middle of things, says nothing about it on the record.
None of this is a good prognosis for the program’s future in Minneapolis considering the natural state is for it all to be over now that the initial three year deal has been met. So unless and until someone from either company explicitly says otherwise, there is no more Target + Techstars Retail Accelerator in Minneapolis going forward…the default is the end.
Everything that went along with it for the past 36+ months – the entrepreneurs, the startups, the mentors, the demos, the investments, the acquisitions, the goodwill for both Target and Techstars in Minneapolis, and the energy + excitement they brought to Minnesota’s tech industry and beyond – is all in the rear view. And should it stay there, it will be remembered and respected for making such a positive impact all around.
Internally, they might just be knee deep in the midst of some sensitive re-negotiations that no one on the outside can understand or appreciate what’s at stake. Or, it could just be a matter of both sides considering if and how to make any public announcements of the closure, buying some time while applying their attention towards alternative future concerns.
For Target, that’s “innovation”. For Techstars, well, they’re on to the next one – next retailer, next town, next batch of startups; their ever-expanding machine won’t be affected nearly as much as Target’s reputation in the tech world would be. But there is no blame, for without knowing the internal dynamics, neither side is uniquely responsible.
Like any true partnership both sides must come together and stay together for it to work out, to continue creating the same outcomes for entrepreneurs in and outside of Minnesota’s tech industry – which from this vantage point – is the what made it so special to begin with.
So while we watch and wait, here’s to hoping these these influential corporations have the ability to come together again and make it happen!