After two and half years of helping to foster entrepreneurship, the Startup America Partnership has announced they will be rolled into Startup Weekend, which is backed by the Kauffman Foundation. The two brands will live under the new brand, Up Global which according to their announcement is backed by the Kauffman Foundation, the Case Foundation, Microsoft, Google for Entrepreneur and Coca-Cola Company.
Founded in 2011, the Startup America Partnership was blessed by President Obama and initially funded by the Case Foundation and Kauffman Foundation as a three year program to dramatically increase the development, prevalence and success of innovative, high-growth USstartups. It was led by Steve Case who appointed Scott Case (no relation) to drive the program. The news of the transition was shared with one hundred regional champions from twenty regions at the fifth Startup America regional summit in Phoenix in mid-April but then reiterated with more details last week.
In Startup America’s first year, the emphasis was on connecting large corporations with startups. It’s second year was about helping to stand-up startup regions and leaders that would drive local initiatives. This year, so far, has involved a few high-profile events such as SXSW and their Summit, but otherwise has been focused on winding the organization down. Last December the group strategized, determining the future of Startup America, as Scott Case explained:
“After evaluating the situation, Plan A was to stick to our knitting and wrap things up (as initially communicated and planned) and option B was to find a ‘go forward’ strategy.”
The Startup America board decided on a ‘go forward’ strategy; to merge Startup America into Startup Weekend and create a new brand called UP Global. Scott Case will remain on board as interim president until the end of the summer, but it appears that Marc Nager from Startup Weekend has already stepped in to lead the new Up Global organization as he delivered the news of the merger on the call last week.