The Program

Techstars Blog

28th October 2014

Where Are They Now?

Since Techstars began in 2007, 500 startups have gone through our accelerator programs. These companies are changing the face of entrepreneurship and many have made a significant impact on the world. 80% of these companies are still active, and we have seen 53 acquisitions to date.

Our new video series, “Where Are They Now?”, highlights the post-program adventures of some of these companies. Want more video? Please subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Trailer

Rapt Media

Occipital

RoundPegg

24th October 2014

Come Join Us for the NewCo Session in Boulder!

Have you ever wondered what it’s like inside the Techstars’ Boulder office? On Tuesday November 18th, we’ll be opening our office to the community as part of NewCo, a new kind of event experience: a mash up of an open studio tour and a business conference, with the vibe of a music festival.

WHAT IS IT?

In a single day, NewCo Boulder will take participants to Boulder’s most innovative companies for a true behind-the-scenes look at our world and what it means to work here. Although this is the first year that NewCo will be in Boulder, they have had extreme success in the past with events in London, New York, San Francisco, and Detroit. 

WHO’S INVOLVED?

Companies involved are those that have helped build Boulder’s diverse business community. Whether you’re interested in technology, nonprofits, or beer, you now have a chance to learn about it all!

WHAT DO WE GET TO DO?

While at Techstars, participants will experience an intimate tour of our contemporary work setting, hear from one of our own Managing Partners, David Cohen, and learn what makes Techstars, well…Techstars!

We are thrilled for you to hear our story and observe where we explore and create every day!

Register to participate in this free exposition of Boulder’s innovation!

23rd October 2014

Techstars Twitterpitch Competition 2014

Tweet us your elevator pitch to get an interview! 

Techstars in Austin, TX opened applications and is holding a competition on Twitter this year.

Going over thousands of applications takes time, a long time.

Applicants who also give their 140-character pitch will get reviewed quicker.

The most qualified (read our FAQs) will be invited to an in-person interview for the Spring 2015 program. (see program details)

Summary of the rules:

1. Make sure you start with #tspitch

2. Then follow this format
For (who) we (what) to/by (why or how). In (time) we’ve (traction) by (how you sell) – link (product demo video).

3. To be considered, please also complete the full application at http://apply.techstars.com

The company selected will be announced through Twitter by New Year’s!

Full list of mentors:
http://www.techstars.com/program/mentors/#austin
Full list of companies:
http://www.techstars.com/companies/

22nd October 2014

Kaplan EdTech Accelerator Demo Day: 11 Companies at the Top of their Class

Today our 11 edtech startups will storm the stage here in New York City to celebrate their successes, present their educational solutions to investors and thought-leaders, and maybe even share some announcements they’ve been keeping up their sleeves for the big day.

The startups of the 2014 Class of the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator, powered by Techstars, are tackling a broad set of challenges on the K12, higher education, career readiness, and consumer and lifelong learning fronts. They range from learning how to code or speak a new language, gaining STEM skills or data literacy, and getting into college to providing students with real-world, in-demand career skills, assessing children’s cognitive ability or funding their classrooms, increasing educational travel, and validating edtech’s impact on learning.

We are extremely grateful to our Kaplan and Techstars mentors for bringing their expertise, networks, advice, and support to our teams as they raced against the countdown clock to the finish line.

As we all know, Demo Day is just the beginning of what’s sure to be an amazing run for all of the companies involved. We can’t wait to see what’s next.


Please join us in celebrating the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator Class of 2014:

BrM_logo Branching Minds: A web application that brings together learning scientists and learning specialists to help teachers and parents identify students’ learning challenges, match them with research-backed learning supports, and then track and report on students’ progress
logo ClassWallet: A single platform where administration, parents and vendors connect with teachers for peer-to-peer funding and purchasing for anything from supplies to technology to field trips
logo-1 Cognotion: Delivers immersive mobile training solutions for the entry-level millennial workforce on a user-configurable, industry specific, and cloud-based platform
logo-b0cc0e4008c1f7f1944effdcfdcfda3e CreatorBox: Delivers fun projects families build together that inspire kids to learn about STEM
search Edvisor.io: A Global Distribution System that aggregates school data and distributes to global educational travel agencies
learn-logo-cmyk_png-400x102 Lea(R)n: Improves how schools and districts try, buy and use education technology. Designed by and for educators, the online platform collects and quantifies up to five levels of data – including teacher insights and public data on every school – to save time, save money and avoid costly mistakes
logo-04b3e787e8ba505ac69d7dcb56f33ad9 reKode: Developed a proprietary curriculum and specially designed tech centers to spark interest with kids in the wonders of coding and technology
robotslab-logo RobotsLAB: Created award-winning and standards-aligned programs that utilize robots as teaching-aids. The programs help teachers engage students in hard-to-teach math and science subjects by making them tangible, helping students secure their career and college readiness
smarton-1 SmartOn: Online bootcamp for digital skills teaching specific technology tools in areas such as e-commerce and digital & social media marketing through project-based courses leading to certificates
Story To College: Puts students in charge of the admissions process by teaching their proprietary Moments Method® curriculum, leveraging a scalable online writing platform, and connecting students with a network of trained admissions experts.
imgres-3 TuvaLabs: Empowers students of all ages to learn critical data literacy skills around their favorite topics or desired careers

21st October 2014

Disney Accelerator, powered by Techstars Demo Day 2014

On Tuesday of last week, ten amazing startup CEOs presented their companies to a theater filled with Disney executives, tech investors, and the entrepreneurial community of Los Angeles at Demo Day for Disney Accelerator, powered by Techstars. The event was a major milestone in the journeys of these remarkable startups, and it was a wonderful celebration of fifteen weeks of hard work and incredible progress.

All ten companies shared the details of pending business relationships with Disney, ranging from advertising campaigns to deep product development initiatives.

And most importantly, all ten companies completed Disney Accelerator having made substantial progress on their businesses. This progress was due in no small part to the efforts of the amazing mentors who participated in the program. More than 60 Disney executives and 70 entrepreneurs and investors from the business community gave their time to help coach and nurture the startups in Disney Accelerator, making a profound impact on each of the companies.

Here is Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, speaking about his experience mentoring one of our companies:

You can watch each of the companies introduce themselves and their businesses here. I encourage you to dive deeply on each them below and get to know them. You’ll find that they are not only compelling companies, but they are also all wonderful people. My life is better for knowing them and I can’t wait to see what they accomplish next. Please join me in celebrating the 2014 companies of Disney Accelerator, powered by Techstars:

 

ChoreMonster unites parents and kids with the most ridiculously fun and motivating family framework, so every home is a joyful place.  choremonster.com    @choremonster
Codarica creates seriously fun games that teach kids to code. codarica.com    @codaricaHQ
Jogg is a mobile video platform that changes the direction of how we engage our audience.  joggapp.co   @joggapp
Naritiv is a marketing and analytics platform for micro-content, starting with Snapchat. naritiv.com   @naritiv
Sidelines is a people-powered content marketing platform that drives brand influence through discussions by expert fans. sidelinesapp.com    @sidelinesapp
Smart Toy is a learning toy that talks and listens to kids. Smart Toy can be customized to know your child’s name, teach lessons, and much more. smarttoylabs.com    @smarttoylabs
SnowShoe creates magic with a touch of plastic. SnowShoe-powered objects unlock digital content through your smartphone. snowshoestamp.com    @snowshoestamp
Sphero is the connected play company, fusing digital and physical play by creating toys and robots that you control with a smart device. gosphero.com    @gosphero
Twigtale builds happier families through personalization and expert-fueled storytelling. twigtale.com    @twigtale
TYFFON makes entertaining apps that put you in the center of the fun — founded by the creators of the ZombieBooth series, with over 30 million downloads. tyffon.com    @tyffoninc

 

20th October 2014

Announcing the 10 Companies for the R/GA Accelerator, powered by Techstars

Today we welcome an exceptional group of hardware and Internet of Things focused startups into the 2015 R/GA Accelerator. This talented group of entrepreneurs has come from around the world to join us in NYC for an action packed 15 weeks. By combining R/GA’s expertise around innovation, technology and design with the mentorship-driven model and entrepreneurial network of Techstars, we offer a game-changing advantage to hardware and IoT focused startups.

The 2013 program was a huge success and we have set the bar high for this new class of startups. I’m looking forward to seeing how the 2015 class develop their businesses and I’m honored to be part of this journey with them.

ASTRO

Astro – New York, NY

Astro is creating an automated home system of devices that requires no installation, no new infrastructure, and no new wireless networks – making it the simplest platform on the market.


BITFINDER

Bitfinder – Seoul, SK / San Francisco, CA

Bitfinder is a portable device and software platform that helps detect airborne and environmental irritants to individuals suffering from chronic conditions such as asthma and eczema.


CHARGIFI

Chargifi – London, UK

Chargifi provides wireless, location based charging stations that include a platform for promotional or interactive content.


DIA

Diagenetix, Inc – Honolulu, HI

Diagenetix brings us Smart Dart, a low-cost, portable diagnostics tool providing food producers, processors, and buyers a start-to-finish view of their pathogen risk.


FREEDOM

Freedom Audio – Orlando, FL

Freedom Audio makes fun, durable and waterproof wireless audio products to enhance life’s best experiences. The next rugged speaker product will be fully connected to your favorite music providers via built-in cellular + wifi connectivity and a touchscreen interface.


LATCH

Latch – Washington, DC

Latch is a keyless entry security platform that uses beacon technology to update current telephone-operated access systems, providing building owners and residents with a low-cost and reliable way to manage building access.


LISNER

LISNR – Cincinnati, OH

The LISNR supersonic beacon platform uses completely inaudible and encrypted tones with the ability to trigger content, second screen experiences or data to mobile devices from any source with a speaker.


1MM

One Million Metrics – New York, NY

1MM creates connected systems for workplaces. The first product is a device that tracks the physical movements of industrial workers who engage in strenuous tasks, helping to ensure safety in the workplace.


PINO

Pinoccio – Reno, NV

Pinoccio is an IoT maker kit that allows users to build wireless, web-enabled projects that are mesh-networked, open source and Arduino compatible.


SKYSPECS

SkySpecs – Ann Arbor, MI

SkySpecs’ Air Bumper technology is a hardware-enabled software system that helps drones avoid collisions automatically, making drone usage more accessible for industrial and consumer applications.

17th October 2014

High School Students and Future Entrepreneurs

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Last week we had the pleasure of spending a day with 22 students from the Lakeside school, who joined the 10 Techstars teams for a micro internship day. Each company had 2-3 students help them solve real business tasks. This is our 3rd year running the Micro internship and it continues to be a great success. The students get an insight to being an entrepreneur and get hands on experience with coding, market research and marketing, in return the companies receive unique insights and help from the students. One of the students, Mary Thomas, wrote a great blog post about her day working with Crowsnest.

Mary Thomas: I nodded my head wisely, hoping that my façade of understanding was convincing, as the founders of Crowsnest, the startup that I was to work with for the day, explained their product. Between the use of acronyms like API (which I wouldn’t have recognized even if they had spelled it out) and talking about plugins, which I at least gathered they didn’t mean the electrical socket kind, I was utterly lost. And then— they asked me what my skills and interests are. I balked, only needing a quick assessment of the situation to realize my normal answer to that question (that I play viola) was probably not what they were looking for. Instead I responded with a confident and articulate “Uhhh…” But my initial trepidation soon subsided when the founders were eager to answer my questions, and throughout the day continued to happily pitch in to explain what they were doing. To my relief, the day was not filled with computer coding. In fact one of the founders shared with me that, to his dismay, he had barely done any coding since they began the project. Indeed, I saw first-hand that there is much more to a software startup than just creating the product. Marketing research took up most of our day, researching hardware companies and startups that could possibly use the software that they were making and then conducting interviews to see what issues those companies were facing and whether or not Crowsnest’s product is something there is a widespread need for. After lunch, I joined the founders of all of the startups in watching a fascinating and entertaining presentation by Rand Fishkin, The Hard Truths of Entrepreneurship, in which he shared valuable insight that he had learned from going through what all of the startups at Techstars are going through. His advice addressed some of the things that people often forget about human nature and working with people. Ideas which are important in all areas of life, but he was able to testify to their specific importance when starting a company. All day I saw how much more there is to a startup than just creating a product. Huge amounts of time and effort have to be put in to researching the needs, expectations, and abilities, of both the people consuming, and producing the product. Instead of just a factory of code monkeys, the software startups of TechStars are businesses by people, for people, just like any other.

I am always impressed by these kids, and it’s great they get exposed to entrepreneurship at an early age. Too many students graduate from college not realizing entrepreneurship is a career path. My hope is partnerships like this can help inspire more young people to start their own companies and help make the world a better place.

– Andy

Techstars Seattle Demo Day, Nov 6th, from 2pm-6.30pm at Showbox SoDo. Reserve your ticket today, read more here 

Launch Party Nov 6th, from 6:30-11:00pm at Showbox SoDo – Buy your ticket now

15th October 2014

Announcing the Qualcomm Robotics Accelerator, powered by Techstars

Today we announce the latest Techstars vertical program with the Qualcomm Robotics Accelerator, powered by Techstars. Qualcomm will host approximately ten companies on their campus for a four month Techstars program building the next generation of robots and intelligent machines. Techstars will be running the program with a full Techstars staff as with all of our other vertical programs. Techstars has seen plenty of success in the past with robotics companies like Sphero and Romotive. We are excited to work with Qualcomm to provide the kinds of resources required to truly innovate into the next generation of intelligent machines. We expect to see smart machines that combine mechanisms, computer vision, sensors, autonomous navigation, and wireless communication. We expect a diverse selection of product opportunities from toys to appliances and new drone solutions.

As with all Techstars programs, we will engage the Techstars mentor network including Matt Grob, CTO of Qualcomm; Ian Bernstein and Paul Berberian from Sphero (formerly Orbotix); Brad Feld, Managing Director, Foundry Group; Nagraj Kashyap and Patrick Eggen from Qualcomm Ventures; Bre Pettis, CEO of MakerBot; Mark Solon, Managing Partner at Techstars; Peter Seid, founder of Romotive; Tim McConnell, the Head of Hardware Engineering at 3D Robotics; Kwindla Kramer, Co-Founder of Oblong; and Vitas SunSprial from the NASA Dynamic Tensegrity Robotics Lab. We will continue to add mentors as the program develops. Many Qualcomm executives and technicians will also be engaged in the program.

The Qualcomm Robotics Accelerator, powered by Techstars is the first Techstars program that Techstars has operated in San Diego and we look forward to engaging with the San Diego startup ecosystem. Each company will receive $120,000 in funding and connections into investors, corporations, experienced entrepreneurs and hundreds of other Techstars founders. In addition, the program will provide access to 3D printers, CAD systems, a FabLab, and electronics hardware.

Details on the program are at QualcommAccelerator.com. The final application deadline is February 22nd, 2015. Selected companies will be contacted by the end of April and the program will begin the end of May. Apply Now!

9th October 2014

Techstars Boulder Demo Day 2014

Today 13 incredible companies will take the stage at the Boulder Theater to celebrate the culmination of their Techstars experience. Demo Day in many ways is the distillation of all the lessons, laughs, struggles and accomplishments that have been jam-packed into these past thirteen weeks, and we couldn’t be more excited for this cohort of entrepreneurs and what they’ve accomplished in such little time.

Under rapid-fire, marketing plans have been created and executed, videos have been produced, logos and branding have been refined, pitches have been reiterated at least a thousand fold, and that just scratches the surface. These growing pains, though familiar, are usually par for the course. The real magic has been in just how cohesive and generous this class has been in helping each other not just succeed, but thrive.

This year’s Boulder Techstars cohort, however, is remarkable in many ways. 10 of the 13 companies are comprised of serial entrepreneurs, meaning this isn’t their first rodeo, and perhaps that’s most telling by the fact that 9 of 13 are already generating revenue.

Beyond these benchmarks, these companies are tackling big issues, ones that touch almost every aspect of our daily lives: they’re helping communities save missing children; they’re creating new markets for renewable energy; they’re reimagining how we manage our credit; and they’re rethinking how technology can be a pathway for more authentic connection.

Please join us in celebrating the Techstars Boulder class of 2014.

 

All4Staff moves traditional employee onboarding to a mobile first solution that workers complete before they arrive.@All4Staff
Bawte connects manufacturers who sell through retail to their end customers.@Bawte
ExpenseBot is artificial intelligence for enterprise finance, starting with expense reports that do themselves.@ExpenseBot
Final is a new type of credit card that creates dynamic card numbers, radically reducing fraud.@Final
Kapta helps CEOs track and manage the most critical priorities of their business.@Kapta
Lassy Project notifies an entire local community about a missing child within seconds.@LassyProject
Native is a fun and beautiful mobile app for college students to find, create, and share activities in their local community.@Native_App
Notion is a multi-function sensor engineered for complete home intelligence.@Notion
QuotaDeck is a marketplace for the 8 million salespeople to receive warm introductions to their target buyers.@QuotaDeck
ShareableSocial is content on cruise control! We create and post industry specific social media content for small business owners.@ShareableSocial
Sportsy is a mobile training and education platform for sports.@Sportsy
Wellhire is a mobile first app that matches enterprise company opportunities with highly compatible job candidates.@WellHireNews
Wunder is a marketplace that reimagines solar project finance by connecting investors with thoroughly vetted opportunities.@WunderCapital