Techstars is announcing a new program today, called Techstars++, that gives the companies that complete its incubator program opportunities to connect with corporate partners for extra mentorship and business development guidance.
Techstars has already lined up a few corporate partners for the new program, including the Mayo Clinic, and Techstars chief executive and co-founder David Cohen said that they have a few more high profile partnerships in the works.
Free to all Techstars graduates, Techstars++ pairs startups with companies in a related industry for two-week stints. The startups are invited work alongside the established businesses — which will be culled from industries like finance, robotics, and social media. After the two weeks, the partners and startups can decide to continue to work together if they choose. Ultimately, Techstars hopes to have relationships with about 20 partners.
As an example of how Techstars++ would work, Cohen cited Boston-based Ovuline. He suggested that Ovuline, a part of the Fall 2012 Techstars class and a developer of fertility-tracking software, would gain a lot from working with an organization like the Mayo Clinic. From the partners point of view, having an innovative startup in-house could help spark new ideas. Cohen said they will have full-time staff members working with both the startups and partners.
To some degree, Techstars has already had something like Techstars++ in place for awhile.
“We’ve always tried to create opportunities for our companies,” Cohen said, and had coordinated many informal partnerships in the past. He said that they’ve reached out to the Techstars community to gauge their interest and have already had 25 to 30 companies express interest in taking part.
“I think we can create a few great partnerships that really give our companies some advantages,” Cohen added.