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The Caterpillar Startup Challenge brings 10 startups from around the country to Caterpillar to pitch their vision.
The Caterpillar Startup Challenge brings 10 startups from around the country to Caterpillar to pitch their vision.
November 29, 2015 9:00 AM CST

10 companies participate in the Caterpillar Startup Challenge

Startups explain why they should have the opportunity to work with Caterpillar


“I think it’s worthwhile to bring in three guys working in a garage; their idea could be the one,” said Michael Young, director of Caterpillar Ventures.

Young is referring to the selection process he and about a dozen other Caterpillar leaders collaborated on as they whittled through a binder full of startup companies that are hoping for a chance to solve customer problems alongside Illinois-based, Fortune 500 companies like Caterpillar.

This diverse group of Caterpillar leaders work in areas of technology and innovation throughout the company. But today, they’re wearing a different hat, as they take their seats on a panel of judges for the Caterpillar Startup Challenge Event. The Analytics & Innovation team, within the new Marketing & Digital Division, is leading the project, with the help of the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition.

The idea behind the project is to bring 10 startups from around the country right here to Caterpillar to pitch their vision – to explain why they should have the opportunity to solve problems alongside our Caterpillar team. The startups will have the chance to form a relationship with Caterpillar, while Caterpillar gains visibility to emerging technologies.

These are companies of all sizes, some with single-digit employees, while others are more established and are operating in the double-digits. They’ve traveled from as close as the Chicago-area, and as far away as Colorado to present ideas such as self-healing polymers, head-mounted displays and small glass solutions, and wireless smart sensors.

“I’m excited for the Caterpillar Startup Challenge Event, and the opportunity to engage with young, innovative companies working in areas of interest not only to Caterpillar, but our customers, too,” said Information Analysis Manager Nigel Smith, the main organizer of the event.

This morning, the 10 startups were welcomed to the Mossville Industrial Design Center to a forum where our internal panel is hearing from them.

After the startups’ presentations, the judges will get feedback from invited audience members, who are additional Caterpillar employees, and in about a week, the judges will select which company or companies they’d like to work with.

While this is an unbelievable opportunity for these young startups, it also helps companies like Caterpillar stay competitive, innovative and in touch.

Watch the video to hear more about the Caterpillar Startup Challenge and why Caterpillar is interested in working with startups to develop solutions for our customers.

About the Author

Sharon Holling is the Marketing Administrator for Caterpillar, Inc.


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