Meet the Team: Chad Shuford
Q&A with Silicon Foundry’s Partner
Chad Shuford is a Partner at Silicon Foundry with over twenty years of venture capital, private equity, corporate development, operations and strategic advisory experience in Silicon Valley, NYC, and beyond.
What were you doing prior to joining Silicon Foundry?
Most recently I co-created and launched the Corporate Innovation Consulting practice for Capital Factory. It succeeded beyond expectations as we were able to engage some of the largest organizations in the world with the innovation ecosystem in Texas, including Exxon Mobil, Daimler, Bose, Army Futures Command, etc. Prior to this, my work experience was relatively diverse: CEO of a cloud accounting provider, Founder of two successful companies where I served as President through their acquisition, private equity executive with Thoma Cressey (now Thoma Bravo) and investment banker with DLJ. This diversity of work experience and responsibilities has given me helpful tools for what I do now, including a far-reaching network to help bring about unique solutions and opportunities.
How’d you choose corporate innovation advisory / Silicon Foundry for your next professional adventure?
It’s only in the past 10 years that corporations have begun looking to startup companies for their innovation tools. This used to take place in R&D departments or government X labs. Now it’s happening in startups. Since this is a relatively new phenomenon, there are no reliable roadmaps available for corporations to effectively navigate the global Innovation Economy, which is why corporate innovation advisory is blossoming. I saw the demand for this service while at Capital Factory, and moved to Silicon Foundry because it’s viewed as the Goldman of innovation advisory firms. This has everything to do with our access, credibility, experience and Member community.
What “superpower” do you bring to the team?
Empowering corporate leaders to pursue new challenges. It’s exciting to help some of the world’s leading organizations navigate the future by providing them with relevant insights, connecting them with appropriate resources, and engaging them with the most talented Founders. We’re helping solve unsolved problems and bringing new life to some of the most influential organizations.
What’s an example of a great corporate innovation or transformation process that you’re seeing in your current work?
More so than any individual corporation, I’m enjoying working with economic development organizations (EDOs) and seeing the transformation of cities like Detroit, Phoenix and Dallas. We are working with several EDOs to help them build bridges between their location and the larger Innovation Economy. These ‘bridges’ have two purposes: 1) to expose the corporations in their region to imminently relevant innovation insights and opportunities and 2) to attract startups that are maturing beyond their roots in places like Silicon Valley, NYC, and London, and are looking for a more favorable location to expand. It’s particularly fun work because EDOs have no ‘corporate immune system’ that resists change and their interests are not as investors but as being great ambassadors.
What industry reads, podcasts, event series, etc. are you following most closely?
I have an ever-evolving list that I follow, most recently adding The Information into the mix. I also follow certain region-specific information sources (i.e. Dallas Innovates, PlanetM, etc). Reading about local innovation progress and perspectives is a helpful way to see what innovation tools are being adopted outside the larger innovation hubs, which is relevant information for our Members. I also get great insights from conversations with Founders, investors, corporate executives and co-workers. We’re in a fortunate situation at SiF where every day we have very candid conversations with decision-makers about what’s working, what’s not working and what their vision of the future is.