RetailXelerator from Sprosty Network and Microsoft Work Together to Help Startups Scale

We are pleased to announce that Sprosty Network and its RetailXelerator (RX) program have joined forces with Microsoft Accelerator in Seattle to move later-stage startups in the Microsoft program to scale. We will work together to coach and prepare startups to meet and do business with a wide range of potential client retailers and strategic partners. This rigorous business development focus is squarely aimed at tackling one of a startup’s biggest challenges: moving from startup to scale-up, by growing sales before running out of money. It’s that simple.

Why is this critical? A good answer can be found in the UK, where the government commissioned the Scaleup Report, by Sherry Coutu. This report describes the ecosystem gaps that fail many startups, and describes the economic impact of those failures. With a more robust public/private support network, the report estimates an improved scaleup ecosystem could generate between 45,000 and 150,000 more jobs, plus contribute between £53.9 billion and £173.25 billion to the UK economy by 2034.  While no similar data exists for the U.S., the scaleup gap here could be three to four times that of the UK.

Both RX and Microsoft are helping to build that improved scale-up ecosystem in the U.S. Microsoft Accelerator has evolved from a more traditional, earlier-stage accelerator to focus more on later-stage, “market-ready” startups. Microsoft’s global customer and partner network provides an invaluable, and unmatched opportunity that opens doors for startups in the program – and gives them faster access to sales essential to scaling up.

“We found, over time, that our unique ability to connect startups with key customers was a huge asset,” said Tim Enger, program lead for Microsoft Accelerator in Seattle. “We are more focused than ever on connecting our cohort companies with our global network.”

Sprosty Network expands that network, and provides coaching and insight that guides the startups to solve real-life problems for the prospective clients. So the leverage with both Microsoft and Sprosty Network strategic accounts can quickly connect startups with the right companies to help them scale.

Additionally, the RX program – which grew out of the startup launch work of Sprosty Network, as well as its deep executive retail experience in the U.S. and around the world – was created to support startups in arguably the most important – and least supported – phase of their development: the scale-up process. The RX program offers startups a 12-week graduate school that centers on the idea of “retail readiness” – the wherewithal and preparation to work at retail pace. RX also provides a Retail Pitch Day, and a long-term business partnership to support their growth. Startups become scaleups through the RX program.  

The measures of success for RX startups aren’t rounds of funding or new investors – they’re retail merchandising leads and product purchase orders for online and in-store channels. With 97% of all U.S. consumer purchases still take place through traditional retail, RX helps startups land the sales needed to truly scale. There’s nothing quite like it in the industry.

Together, Sprosty Network and Microsoft Accelerator create and host a portfolio day in Seattle, inviting in a wide range of companies to meet with the startups in the program. The first portfolio day had startups presenting to companies ranging from Walmart and Walgreens, to Intel and AMD, to United Health Group and BBDO. It was scaleup/corporate match-making on a global level, and success for the startups was found in the ongoing conversations with these businesses, thanks to the tailored introductions made during the event.

While the work of RX with Microsoft’s U.S.-based Accelerator just scratches the surface of the UK Scaleup Report’s recommendations, it’s an example of something remarkable and needed for startups to move to scaleup. We are excited to collaborate with Microsoft Accelerator to expand the startup incubator/accelerator landscape – and increase the chances for startups to truly grow and succeed.