Bridging the Gap Between Startups and Fortune 1000

Engage is a venture fund, growth platform, and network focused on improving connectivity among investors, startups, and enterprise customers. Their hands-on approach connects promising startups with Fortune 1000 enterprises, eliminating the barriers to build successful companies with a solid product-market fit. 

The startup founders who go through the program receive invaluable advice from high-level executives within Engage's corporate partners.  Some of those partners include AT&T, Chick-fil-A, The Home Depot, UPS, and Delta (visit to view the full list). 

Each corporation's CEO designates a quarterback, or "QB" -- someone with a senior level title at the Fortune 1000 who can quickly get things done. This top-down approach leads to high interaction between the corporation's QB's and the startup founders, which replaces the traditional model of CEOs working their way up the ladder to make connections. 

“It was incredible to see how closely engaged the brands were that we worked with,” shared Jonathan Allen, CEO of Gauge Insights, who was part of Engage’s inaugural cohort. “I was able to sit down with executives, really understand their pain points, and adapt our product in real time, which was great.”

So how are things going in the program's first year?

“The traction is definitely showing,” says Nicholas Richardson, Engage’s program manager. “Ten weeks goes by fast, but it’s going to be really exciting to see where these companies are even six months from now.” 

One standout startup was the least technological of the bunch.

Bee Downtown installs and maintains beehives on corporate campuses to combine environmental protection with corporate sustainability.

“We were this oddball non-tech startup that somehow kept making it through every round,” laughed CEO Leigh-Kathryn Bonner.

“From day one, she had significant traction with the corporate partners,” said Richardson. Bonner is now landing three-year enterprise contracts.

"Doing it together is what's making this really unique. Getting that unique perspective of several companies from different industries and the feedback from that is what makes this special," said Blake Patton, Engage's fund managing partner. 

Curious to learn more, or want to take part? There’s no formal application process for Engage. Reach out to to start the conversation.