Voices: Abby Cohen of Sparo Labs on Corporate-Startup Collaboration

Estimated reading time: 1 minute(s)

It’s no secret that St. Louis’ size allows for unique collaborations. Startups are able to gain access to corporate leadership and big businesses can feed off of the growing energy in the innovation space. We asked leaders in the startup space, corporate space and community to speak on what each sector can learn from one another and about what’s happening right now in our region.


Abby Cohen is co-founder of Sparo Labs.

abby-machine-shop-1What are some things that startups need support on that larger enterprises can provide? What are challenges that larger enterprises have that startups can help solve?

Larger enterprises to startups: Be the first customer to startups, helping to lend credibility. Startups to larger enterprises: Help think about solving problems more creatively and in a leaner way.

What are three ways corporate-startup collaborations benefit the region?

Encouraging a shared talent pool; economic development—STL companies working with STL companies employing people in STL; talent retention–keep people here because they have diverse pathways.

How has your organization or company created or facilitated corporate-startup partnerships?

We have worked with Express Scripts to better understand trends in the industry, get feedback on our approach, and spread awareness about St. Louis’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

What’s one challenge in creating these partnerships?

Difference in speed–startups are used to moving a lot quicker than larger companies.

In the future, what are some levels of engagement you’d like to see happen at your organization, in terms of startup-corporate relationships?

More fluidity between our talent pools; more financial investment in local startups through strategic investment; becoming a customer.