The Program

TechStars Blog

1st February 2013

Announcing TechStars in Chicago

Excelerate Labs is a world-class accelerator in Chicago, led by accomplished entrepreneurs Troy Henikoff (SurePayroll) and Sam Yagan (OkCupid, SparkNotes, Match.com) as well as two of the leading VCs in the Midwest, Sandbox Industries’ Nick Rosa, and New World Ventures’ Adam Koopersmith. In its first three years, it has already earned a place among the very best accelerators in the country.

Brad Feld and I have been close to Excelerate Labs since the very beginning, advising Sam and Troy and mentoring the companies in their three classes. The Excelerate Labs Demo Days have always been tremendously energetic and have inspired us to make the trip to Chicago and get more involved in the local startup ecosystem.

I have personally invested in three Excelerate alums: SpotHero, GiveForward, and Tap.me (acquired by Media Math). Excelerate’s results speak for the themselves: its first three classes have yielded thirty portfolio companies that have raised a total of over $30M.

As TechStars has expanded into new cities, we’ve always started our programs from scratch. But Excelerate made us think differently. We were so impressed with what they’ve built that we asked them to join forces with us and turn Excelerate Labs into TechStars Chicago. TechStars and Excelerate have always been kindred spirits: we both put entrepreneurs first and believe in the power of mentorship.

Troy Henikoff says, “We are excited to combine Excelerate’s deep roots in Chicago with TechStars’ vast alumni and mentor networks. TechStars Chicago will be an even stronger force in Chicago and will add incredible firepower to the TechStars platform.”

“I congratulate Excelerate Labs and I am pleased that TechStars has identified Chicago as one of the best places to start a technology business. This advancement is a huge step forward for the city’s technology economy and will fit hand-in-glove with the other efforts being made to promote entrepreneurship and create new jobs around Chicago.” – Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Please join me in welcoming Troy, Sam, Nick, Adam, and the Windy City to the TechStars family. Applications to TechStars Chicago open today. Apply now and see our full schedule for additional details.