ForgeX Building Innovative Partnerships Between BusinessesBusiness Profiles — By Susan Post on July 21, 2014 at 8:00 am
Marrying innovative entrepreneurs with established corporations, ForgeX is building a network aimed at accelerating high-growth businesses. Entrepreneur and mentor Victor Thorne is the connector behind the network looking to build disruptive technologies.
Thorne describes the principle behind ForgeX as two ends of an hourglass. One end is large corporations with employees with ideas. The bigger the organization gets, the less room there is to innovate from within without disrupting the internal flow of a large business. The other end of the hourglass is people from small companies with ideas and expertise whose voices aren’t always heard. The tipping point is internal corporate sponsors meshed with people in the private sector that can help vet these ideas. Put simply, ForgeX is strategically engaged with companies that are interested in utilizing ideas that entrepreneurs have.
ForgeX strives to create a network of everyone from subject matter experts, to consultants, to entrepreneurs, to investors to help develop businesses. “We can create more high-growth businesses and help them start and grow and accelerate faster,” Throne says.
With the variety of people he hopes to get involved, “ForgeX is really focused on being open to people with ideas,” Thorne says. Strategic alliances will develop within the network to identify opportunities. Instead of directly competing with each other, smaller companies will have the opportunity to band together to create an even larger project within an established corporation. “This network would be the platform that these groups can come together and align resources,” Thorne says.
The network will take on the risky and potentially disruptive projects big corporations can’t always handle. “Existing businesses that are market leaders, or have been around a long time, are really good at insight into their core business,” Thorne says. They are also good at foresight and reading what’s next in the industry. “The opportunity here is cross-sight,” he says. It’s the chance to develop potential disruptions in the industry, without disrupting what the established company is currently successful with. Sometimes operating under the premise if it’s not broke, don’t fix it, ForgeX can be developing potentially disruptive technologies for bigger corporations.
As Thorne describes it, big companies have to stay in their lanes, but ForgeX can help cover the flack.”We want to have very, very large businesses supported by ForgeX that are accelerated in their path to growth and scale by being a part of the network,” he says.
Thorne left his role at Columbus2020 where he focused on building connectivity and helping high-growth companies get engaged with investors, customers, strategic partners and talent, to pursue ForgeX. “The genesis for jumping was actually more of an extension of what I was doing and getting more hands-on in the private sector,” he says.
Serving a similar mission, ForgeX will continue to be strategically aligned with Columbus2020. “My whole mission is to amplify all the good things we are doing in this community and in the Midwest,” Thorne says.
ForgeX has officially launched and is garnering interest from multiple partners including corporations, entrepreneurs, subject matter experts and service providers. Thorne says the concept has been met with interest, curiosity and excitement.
He expects to have the first three to four high-growth companies that will be a part of the ForgeX portfolio in the next month. Although open to ideas, Thorne sees a sweet spot around tech, looking to build on what Columbus already has strength in in the region. Healthcare IT, big data and cyber security will likely be three early focal points.
For more information, visit pillartechnology.com/forge.