Los Angeles Business Journal

StartEngine Revs Up With Accenture

By Natalie Jarvey Friday, March 29, 2013

Westwood accelerator StartEngine has enlisted the help of global consulting firm Accenture to pair startups and established companies looking for new technologies.

StartEngine quietly announced the partnership on Tuesday.

Spearheading the project for Accenture is Rahmyn Kress, managing director of Accenture Digital Services. Though Kress is based out of the firm's London offices, he said he plans to visit StartEngine at least once every three months to check in with startups and provide mentorship. Members of Accenture’s El Segundo office will also work closely with StartEngine.

“One of the very interesting things that we’re seeing is the amount of innovation and entrepreneurship that is coming out of StartEngine,” Kress said. “The startups that are coming up at the moment that are very disruptive are created in environments like this.”

StartEngine runs a traditional accelerator program where it brings in classes of startups and provides mentorship, workspace and funding in exchange for equity.

But the program has competition from a half dozen other accelerators in town. As each accelerator has settled into its niche, StartEngine has found that some entrepreneurs are applying with ideas that aren’t quite right, said Co-Chair Howard Marks.

In response, Marks started an entrepreneurs-in-residence program for teams that are still searching for a money-making idea. He has been able to connect some of these teams with executives at established businesses to discuss problems that those executives have spotted within their industry. The team is then able to develop technology that can help the company, and it is already guaranteed its first customer.

One of the teams that resulted from this program was DreamShare, which is working on an app to help startups select the most effective Web address.

StartEngine brought in Accenture to help it develop more of these connections.

“Entrepreneurs want to be successful and businesses want to innovate but not be disruptive,” Marks said. “We solve their problem. But we were missing the advice piece. Accenture provides that advice. They are advising us on how to do all of this.”

Marks said that he hopes the entrepreneur-in-resident program will make up half of StartEngine’s startups, while the other half will come from the standard accelerator program.