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Techstars Blog

27th July 2015

Meet the Seattle Techstars Class of 2015

We’re incredibly excited to introduce the Techstars Seattle class of 2015! We’ve spent the last several months reading applications, interviewing teams, and agonizing over our choices, but we’re finally ready to announce the eleven companies that are joining us here in Startup Hall, starting today.

As in past years, we’ve selected a class that reflects — and is best positioned to leverage — the deepest wells of technical and entrepreneurial excellence here in the Pacific Northwest. The eleven companies selected this year include teams focused on enterprise software and security, gaming and virtual reality, e-commerce and marketplaces, financial services, developer tools and data science. In addition to a strong cohort of local startups, we’re also happy to be welcoming teams from San Francisco, San Diego, British Columbia, Tel Aviv and Hong Kong.

The individual companies in this year’s class are listed below. We’re thrilled to welcome them to the Techstars Seattle community and look forward to keeping you updated on their progress between now and Demo Day.

AtCipher: Cloud security and zero-knowledge key management solutions
Brand.ai: Automatically maintainable UI components style guide
Candy Jar: Your online candy store
DataBlade: Web-based development environment for data analysis
Fish Bowl VR: On-demand usability testing for virtual reality
Giftbit: Accountable, money-back gift cards for business buyers
Innervate: Building massive communities of online gamers
Lightboard: Graphic design on demand
Matcherino: Crowd-funded e-sport matches
Mentio: Your mobile business mentor
ZIIBRA: Simple e-commerce for outstanding entrepreneurs

21st July 2015

The Techstars Experience Live from London: Hackajob

What’s it like to go through a Techstars program?  Why choose our accelerator over others?

This post in our series, “The Techstars Experience,” features highlights from weeks one and two of the London program from Mark Chaffey, cofounder of and co-CEO at Hackajob, an online marketplace that matches technical candidates directly with employers. Mark talks about validating assumptions, growing his business and finding inspiration from other founders.

Re: Stop Working, Start Thinking

I’m sure many startups get into the flow of working, ploughing away at their endless to-do-lists and trying to hit ambitious targets. The month before Techstars we most certainly were. However, this week we’ve been forced to stop working and start thinking. As frustrating as it sounds for a hungry founder, it’s allowed us to dive deep into our business and truly understand our competitive advantages. I would strongly recommend every startup founder to do this for at least two hours, once a week. Ask why. Find your biggest assumptions and validate them. Don’t get caught in a repetitive cycle, make sure you’re delivering on your KPIs.

Re: Mentor Madness

This week we met 32 mentors for 20 minutes each. From CEOs, to Product Gurus, to Venture Capitalists, anyone you could possibly want to meet was there. I think this is one of the biggest advantages of the Techstars network and programme; giving you access to minds that would be so hard to meet elsewhere. These sessions provided us insight but more than that, I was surprised at how willing these mentors were to introduce us to more relevant people; from the 32 meetings we had, we now have another 13 setup. One week, 45 new contacts to help us grow our business. That’s the power of Techstars.

Re: Inspiring Stories

Every Thursday we get to listen to stories from founders and this week it was William Shu, co-founder of Deliveroo. I love listening to successful people, it always inspires me to work that little bit harder the next day (inspiration much needed, as we will discuss next). William’s story was a great one, a former investment banker who decided to solve a problem he first discovered in 2003, with his best friend from his childhood. I found it astonishing that he first had this idea more than a decade ago but no one had successfully executed on it until he started Deliveroo in 2011. It shows that timing is as important as anything and clearly with the rise of mobile, a solution that provided high quality food delivery was needed. 

Check out the full post here.

Want to apply to Techstars? Check out our Program Schedule and apply today!

16th July 2015

Funding and M&A Activity Across the Techstars Ecosystem

Congratulations to these Techstars companies that were recently acquired:

  • Fosbury (Austin ‘13) acquired by Verve.
  • Klooff (NYC ‘13) acquired by American Kennel Club.
  • WeDeliver (Chicago ‘14) acquired by Deliv.

Also, congratulations to the Techstars alumni companies that have recently received notable investments!

(And, for those of you playing along at home, that brings us to a running total of 73 Techstars companies acquired and over $1.6B raised by our accelerator companies.)

 do DigitalOcean $83M DigitalOcean (Boulder ‘12) raised $83M in Series B funding this past week. DigitalOcean is a simple cloud hosting provider built for developers.
Realty Mogul $35M Realty Mogul (Microsoft Azure ‘12) announced a $35M raise in July. Realty Mogul is a marketplace for accredited investors to pool money online and buy shares of pre-vetted investment properties. Realty Mogul is crowdfunding for real estate.
Imprimir Distil $21M Distil (Cloud ‘12) raised $21M in Series B in June. Distil analyzes web traffic and blocks malicious bots from entering websites.
logo-mark-sketchfab Sketchfab $7M Sketchfab (NYC ’13) raised $7M in funding in June. Sketchfab is a marketplace for 3D files, whether it lies in creating web-sharable 3D files, browsing them, searching specifically, or buying them.
unnamed EcoVent $6.9M EcoVent (Boston ‘14) raised $6.9M in June. EcoVent is a smart, room-by-room heating and cooling system that features a smart HVAC monitoring and control system that eliminates temperature imbalances and cuts utility bills by 35 percent.
 AdYapperLogo_Web1 AdYapper $4.5M AdYapper (NYC ‘13) announced a $4.5M raise in June. AdYapper delivers the team, technology, and data necessary for brands to quickly reclaim losses due to non-working media, and optimize to the media that best drives results.
Zagster_icon_-_small_400x400 Zagster $3.5M Zagster (Boston ‘12) raised $3.5M in Series A funding in July. Zagster provides bicycle sharing systems for the world’s leading businesses and institutions.
Knyttan Knyttan $3M Knyttan (London ’14) raised £2 ($3M) in seed funding in June. Knyttan is a vertically integrated fashion brand whose unique technology allows it to offer more designs and respond to trends faster than any existing retailer.
Get_Ambassador Ambassador $2.35M Ambassador (NYC ‘11) announced a $2.35M raise in June. Ambassador helps companies like Spotify and T-Mobile manage their referral marketing programs. Ambassador creates, tracks & manages custom incentives that drive referrals and evangelize your users.
Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 3.31.02 PM Spoon University $2M Spoon University (NYC ‘15) announced a $2M raise in July. Spoon University is the everyday food resource for millennials. They cover everything from the best local restaurants and simple, unintimidating recipes to how to navigate your first kitchen, all written by people under 25.

15th July 2015

Meet the Barclays Accelerator Powered by Techstars Class of 2015

Today we welcome 11 companies into the 2015 Barclays Accelerator in New York! This program is a FinTech-focused collaboration between Barclays and Techstars. Having run two successful programs in London, we are thrilled to expand our presence across the pond to New York, where we will be supporting entrepreneurs shaping the future of financial services and beyond.

This class represents a diverse cross-section of technologies and entrepreneurs with half of the companies coming from overseas to join us in NYC. We are excited to announce a dynamic group of problem solvers working to change the world as we know it!

Cashforce logo black letters floored Cashforce saves money & time of CFOs by generating accurate cash forecasts by processing data from banking and ERP systems.
ChainalysisLogo2 Chainalysis builds the layer of compliance and networking for the future of value exchange on the blockchain.
fmg-logo-1 Alloy has developed an API to handle compliance, customer on-boarding, identity verification, and ACH payment processing for developers.
LOTCrop3 Liveoak simplifies financial paperwork through real-time videoconferencing, collaboration, and in session eSignature anywhere/anytime/any device.
Logrr_logo_color Logrr provides password-less authentication for end users and centralised identity management for cloud services for enterprises.
logo OGY creates a safer, faster and more advanced electronic Bill of Lading for the shipping and transportation industry.
Print Remesh is a SaaS platform that uses Deep Artificial Intelligence to allow organisations to quickly gather, rank and filter voting by a crowd.
newseeds Seeds builds micro-lending into games, converting free users into paying customers through an ad surfacing during the game.
Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 10.51.25 PM Syndicated Loan Direct provides transactional research for the syndicated loan industry, serving banks, law firms, asset managers and PE firms.
VEQURITY_logo_HT_RGB Vequrity is a cloud-based platform for developing, selling and executing live, hands-on cyber trainings on real systems, ultimately creating a marketplace for security trainings.
Logo-To-Print Wayerz offers a fully integrated digital platform that allows banks and their corporate clients to optimize their international wiring processes.

10th July 2015

BBVA Open Talent 2015 Competition

BBVA Open Talent is a startup competition with the goal of identifying the most innovative projects, supporting them, looking for synergy and implementing them. The three concepts that best define the essence of BBVA Open Talent are entrepreneurs, startups and open innovation.

The competition is for entrepreneurs and startups with technological and innovative fintech projects. This is the seventh edition of an international contest aimed for entrepreneurs and startups. BBVA wants to foster innovation in the financial ecosystem, including these topics:

  • Mobile banking
  • Payments and money transfer
  • Consumer Loans
  • Cryptonetworks
  • Alternative loans
  • Risk analysis
  • Investment management
  • Financial inclusion and education
  • Fraud management

BBVA Open Talent takes twenty finalists per region and provides them with an opportunity to present to reputable judges. All finalists will spend the day before the competition interacting with key global BBVA executives and decision makers.

During the immersion course, winners will spend a week in Mexico gaining first hand experience with the LATAM market and international scaling. This is paired with a week spent in London, spending more time with venture capitalists and embracing the local startup ecosystem.

Winners will also have the opportunity to enjoy a unique experience in El Celler de Can Roca with the Roca brothers in the heart of their restaurant and in La Masía, their innovation center.

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 13.03.02

Also, the Special Award for Financial Inclusion of BBVA Open Talent 2015 looks for startups with digital financial solutions for low income customers or small business. The winner will travel to Maputo, Mozambique, to pitch their project at the Global Policy Forum in September 2015 and will also participate in the Immersion and interaction program.

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 13.02.35
How to apply?
To apply, just follow these simple instructions:
2. Fill in your application, and in question number 43, select Techstars.
3. Done!
Good luck!
For more information, go to: http://bit.ly/OpenTalent15
To see this post in Spanish, click here. 

9th July 2015

Meet the Disney Accelerator Powered by Techstars Class of 2015

The printing press. The zoetrope. The cathode ray tube. RSS. The smartphone. Technological innovation has always played a key role in how media is created, distributed, and consumed. As technology grows ever more pervasive in our lives, its application to the world of media and entertainment has likewise broadened.

Today we are excited to announce the 2015 participants of Disney Accelerator powered by Techstars. The ten companies in this year’s program represent a diverse cross-section of technologies, and we are inspired by their visions for the applicability of these technologies in the media space.

Decisive Decisive is a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform that uses real time data to enable advertisers to optimize mobile ad creative and targeting based on user engagement.
Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 10.47.55 AM EMOTIV is a bioinformatics company that uses electroencephalography (EEG) to track mental performance, monitor emotions, and control virtual and physical objects with thoughts.
FemLogoBig FEM Inc. has developed a personalized video engagement platform based on neuroscience and psychology that maps the emotional dimensions of how and why content resonates.
Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 10.48.33 AM HYP3R enables businesses and brands to identify influential customers at their locations and engage them in real time, when it matters most.
Logo-ImPerson imperson provides an artificial intelligence platform enabling fans to have conversations with their favorite movie and TV characters.
Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 10.51.58 AM Littlstar aggregates industry leading virtual reality content with its device agnostic discovery and distribution platform.
makielab-logo MakieLab lets kids bring toys to life by building their own customizable 3D-printed toys through creative games and apps.
Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 10.54.08 AM Open Bionics  is a robotics company creating affordable 3D-printed bionic hands for amputees, researchers and makers.
PunditLogoBig Pundit lets creators host audio Ask Me Anything (AMAs) with their Twitter network, transforming the talk radio experience for the social media age.
statmuseLogoBig StatMuse is developing an artificial intelligence platform to help sports fans explore data using simple, natural language.

7th July 2015

Introducing the 10 Companies for the Chicago Fall 2015 Class

The entire Techstars Chicago team (Troy, Brian, Dan, George, Matt) is excited to introduce you to our 2015 class.

We had nearly a thousand applicants and interviewed hundreds of companies before selecting our final 10. Each year, our selection process gets harder and harder, and we’re so grateful to all of the companies that pour their heart into applying to Techstars. Thanks to each of you.

While many of our class were born and bred in the midwest of the U.S., some of the companies hail from India, Spain and Canada, and all bring their collective talent, passion and character to this year’s program. Our B2B companies are diving deep into fintech, advertising & marketing, productivity & collaboration, and operational effectiveness. Our B2C companies are helping people save time, stay up to date and have more fun.

We are proud to present our 2015 Techstars Chicago Class:

Akouba_logo AkoubaCredit provides lenders an algorithmic underwriting platform that reduces the cost and time required for banks to issue a small business loan. The platform, customized to each lender’s underwriting principles, allows small businesses to apply and track their application electronically, with results delivered within 48 hours. Banks that use Akouba love it because they get more happy borrowers faster.
Betaout_logo BetaOut is a customer intelligence and marketing automation platform built specifically for ecommerce businesses.  We make it easy to track and segment users based on their interaction data, and arm our customers with smart marketing tools across email, sms, and on-site engagement, so that every user gets the right message at the right time every time.
Glidera_logo Glidera brings US dollar to digital currency conversion capability to hundreds of digital currency wallets and applications, making it easy for any wallet developer to offer bitcoin buying and selling services directly in their applications. Using our straightforward and secure API, developers can integrate this functionality in just days, and we handle all of the compliance, banking, liquidity, and fraud challenges. Different than all other conversion services, Glidera never holds customer funds and is specifically built to work with any secure bitcoin wallet.
GrowthGeeks_logo Growth Geeks is a marketplace for growth hackers and marketers. We make it easy to discover and hire freelance marketing professionals to grow your business, on a hourly or project basis. With thousands of vetted geeks already on board, and our 100% money back guarantee on every project, Growth Geeks makes shopping for marketing talent fast and foolproof.
Hooks_logo Hooks lets you discover and create push notifications for just about anything, and configure the notifications based on your needs. Choose from thousands of subjects and types, from television, music, sports, social media, weather, and more. Hooks has already sent more than 30 MM notifications worldwide to more than 100K people just like you.
Infiniscene_logo Infiniscene enables gamers to easily create beautiful live broadcasts in their web browser. Design, produce, and direct from anywhere with no experience or expensive hardware. Seamlessly connect game data and third party services – displaying stats and community updates live to your audience. Infiniscene puts every gamer just clicks away from becoming a streamer.
Routific_logo Routific offers route optimization as a service for any business with deliveries, pick-ups or multiple stops a day. Our dashboard and mobile app enable business owners and fleet managers to plan their daily routes across an entire fleet and dispatch to their drivers in just minutes. Businesses using our platform save not only hours of time, but up to 40% in fuel costs. Routific’s mission is to cut waste in the trillion dollar transportation industry.
Specless_logo Specless unlocks the potential of your advertising creative with richer, more effective advertising experiences that run anywhere imaginable. For publishers, Specless provides the freedom to easily test and deploy higher value custom ad formats. For advertisers and agencies, Specless means managing fewer creative assets, yet more flexibility to run campaigns in any type of media.
Tribe_logo Tribe makes it easy to get anything done with anyone, from anywhere, at any time. Tribe works naturally in emails, text, and chat so that coworkers, clients, and contractors can stay coordinated working in their tool of choice. Tribe is like a personal assistant who never forgets to keep you on task!
UrbanLeash_logo Urban Leash offers on-demand dog walking services for busy professionals. Use our mobile app to get instant notifications, GPS track your dog on the walk, read notes of what happened and see pictures of your pet. With fully vetted, trained, and insured professionals, you can rest assured your pet is in good hands.

6th July 2015

Introducing the 11 Companies for the London Fall 2015 Class

Techstars welcomes its fourth cohort in London and I am proud to announce the 11 companies that will be joining us for the Fall 2015 Class. It is going to be a diverse group of entrepreneurs from five countries, including Estonia, the Czech Republic, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

From the sector perspective, companies range from collaboration, music and hiring, to personal security and 3D printing. A full list of companies participating in Techstars London Fall 2015 are listed below:

Ambie is a legal, personalised, music streaming service for businesses.
      Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 9.25.37 PM Deekit is a virtual whiteboard to help remote teams work seamlessly.
Hackajob is an online marketplace that matches technical candidates directly with employers and then the candidates apply by completing job-specific challenges.
Headliner is a marketplace connecting event planners with the world’s live entertainment to easily book acts for weddings, celebrations or corporate events.
NomNom lets you aggregate, organize and categorize all customer feedback in one place.
PingWHEN is a ‘smart’ personal safety mobile app.
PrintToPeer automates fleets of 3D printers in commercial or university production labs.
Sorry as a Service is a customer retention solution that enables businesses to send apologies, measure, track and optimize their retention activities and reduce churn and negative sentiment.
Spot Tech builds mobile communities around chronic illnesses. Their first product, Cancer Spot, connects fighters, survivors and supporters of cancer.

TeskaLabs provides enterprise-grade security solutions for industrial and consumer mobile applications.

Weave.ai is a new computing layer between the OS and the apps that reinvents what search means.

2nd July 2015

The Techstars Experience: Wonders’ Story

What’s it like to go through a Techstars program?  Why choose our accelerator program over others?  This is the next post in our blog series, “The Techstars Experience,” with some thoughts from The Wonders’ Team.  Wonders is a visual narratives app for the most amazing hand-picked stories about outdoor culture.

Here are a few highlights from their recap of the Techstars Austin 2015 program.

wonders-5210-1

Re: The Value of Mentorship

It was both humbling and motivating to get to meet all these people who had been in the trenches before and knew exactly what mistakes we were about to make. Their wisdom and guidance provided us with the strength to do more–and to do more faster. They pushed us to strive for great things, to stand up when we fall, and to brush off the dirt and keep going. Most importantly, they made us believe in the significance of what we were doing. This mentorship-driven approach is one of the key pillars that makes Techstars one of the best startup accelerators in the world.

Melemetns_Wonders-149

Re: Techstars Community and Network 

Techstars gave us a family in the last 3 months that we’ve been in Austin, TX. We’ve learned how valuable it is to affirm our peers, both in the things that they do and in the wisdom that they impart. A lot of the people that we were surrounded by helped us somehow in some form, in big and small ways. For that, we will be grateful for a long time. This is just the beginning for most of us, but Techstars is for life.

Melemetns_Wonders-101

Re: The Road to Demo Day

The last month of the program, we started gearing up for Demo Day and preparing our investment collateral for those companies that were fundraising. Yes, it was a lot of work. Yes, tensions were high. However, it was the time when we most felt the impact of these formed relationships. During this tough stretch, it was then that everyone freely gave more insight, countless advice, and unending encouragement. We were all in the same boat, and at this point, nothing mattered more than to support each other and nail Demo Day.

Melemetns_Wonders-178-1

Check out the full story here.

Want to apply to Techstars? Check out our Program Schedule and apply today!