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Techstars Blog

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 small business loans.
Betaout_logo BetaOut is a data-driven customer intelligence and marketing automation platform built for ecommerce sites.
Glidera_logo Glidera enables developers to add bitcoin buying and selling services into their applications.
GrowthGeeks_logo Growth Geeks is a marketplace for growth hackers and marketers.
Hooks_logo Hooks lets you discover and create push notifications for just about anything.
Infiniscene_logo Infiniscene enables gamers to easily create beautiful live broadcasts in their web browser.
Routific_logo Routific offers route optimization as a service for any delivery business.
Specless_logo Specless builds richer, more effective advertising experiences that run anywhere.
Tribe_logo Tribe makes it easy to get anything done with anyone, from anywhere, at any time.
UrbanLeash_logo Urban Leash offers on-demand dog walking services for busy professionals.

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.

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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.

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Check out the full story here.

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

1st July 2015

Meet Amy – Improving Mobility in Detroit

At Techstars Mobility, we’re in the midst of mentor madness with over 150+ mentors and corporate partners meeting our companies. And what better way to facilitate tons of meetings and follow up (and avoid the associated email ping-pong) than with Amy. Wait, you don’t know Amy?

x.ai is an artificial intelligence driven personal assistant that schedules meetings for you. It’s not an app and there is nothing to install or download—users simply cc: Amy (the intelligent agent) and she works with your guest(s) over email to find an agreeable time + location based on your calendar avails and your preferences. She’ll then send the calendar invite to all parties. x.ai proves to not only be a slick use of AI (Amy quite often passes as human), but also solves this big problem and allows its users to be more productive—focusing time and energy on more important matters. Who wouldn’t want to be more efficient in their work day?

From first-hand experience, I can say that Amy has increased my productivity significantly. It allows me to be more mobile as I move from meeting to meeting and conference to conference, as I have a dedicated and seamless way to schedule follow up. She allows me to schedule meetings much faster and in calendar time blocks that help me optimize and control my own calendar. If you don’t prioritize your own life, someone else will.

We’re excited to be able to offer x.ai beta access (which is in quite high demand these days) to all 10 companies making up our first class of startups at Techstars Mobility, driven by Detroit. For that, we owe thanks to Roger Ehrenberg, who serves as both an investor in x.ai and mentor to Techstars Mobility, for helping make this connection happen and giving first.

While we’re focused on technologies that address the movement of people, goods, and services, we see products such as x.ai serve as a nice complement to our everyday work—increasing our mobility and our productivity.

30th June 2015

Techstars Cloud 2016 Applications Now Open

Today we are very excited to announce that applications are open for the 2016 Techstars Cloud program. The upcoming program will be run in San Antonio, Texas from November 2nd, 2015 through our Demo Day on February 11th, 2016. The program runs over the holidays, so there will be a brief two week break to give everyone a chance to spend time with family and friends.

This program will be the fourth Techstars Cloud program, and my second as Managing Director. Alumni companies from the first three programs have gone on to raise close to $100MM in combined funding from investors such as the Foundry Group, NEA and Sequoia. If you are developing a cloud-based technology or developer platform, a product that is complementary to the cloud, or any highly technical product — you are probably a great fit for the program. If you are building a startup that fits this description I would encourage you to apply today.

Companies accepted into the Techstars Cloud program receive $118,000 in investment capital along with mentorship, perks worth tens of thousands of dollars, and access to Techstars’ powerful network of entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors, who are all there to help you achieve your goals. Mentorship is at the core of all Techstars programs, and we have a great group of cloud mentors ready to spend tons of time with you during three months of intense focus on your business.

We accept applications from companies at all stages – some are further along and already have funding and/or revenue, while others are just getting started and don’t have customers or even a final product. Wherever you are in your journey, if your startup focuses on cloud technology, and you are ready to explore the idea of accelerating your company, apply to our next program.

If you have questions about the Cloud program or Techstars, you can always email me: blake.yeager at techstars dot com, or find me on Twitter (@blake_yeager).

22nd June 2015

Barclays Accelerator Demo Day London 2015: Embracing FinTech Disruption

FinTech in London is incredibly hot right now. As our second cohort takes the stage today, it is clear the innovation in financial services is coming from all angles, the existing problems are extremely painful, and the opportunities are huge.

At the same time, the vast number of partnerships announced with Barclays and other banks indicates forward-thinking players are embracing the disruption. Financial services incumbents are responding to the new entrants with more than just an idle curiosity, and many startups are learning how to partner with key stakeholders in order to create a larger footprint.

Looking at our ten fintech companies you might notice three Blockchain startups, eight B2B companies, five founding teams from overseas… but there is only so much that can be quantified and I can hardly put into words never-mind numbers the amazing people that make up these companies and the smiles, sweat, and occasionally tears that represent the last three months. It has been an intense journey and no doubt will continue to be as the tectonic plates of the finance industry continue to feel their impact.

We are incredibly proud to present the Barclays Accelerator powered by Techstars – London Class of 2015.

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 9.25.06 PM Atlas – Mobile banking for the developing world.
      Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 9.25.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-06-21 at 9.32.45 PM BaseStone – BaseStone reduces costs and major errors  from occurring on construction projects – effectively lowering risks to both the project and the capital employed.
Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 9.25.29 PM Everledger – Everledger provides an immutable ledger for diamond identification and transaction verification for various stakeholders, from insurance companies to claimants and law enforcement agencies.
Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 9.25.46 PM Godesic – Godesic’s Cutover platform reduces the risk and cost associated with critical enterprise IT change events.
Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 9.25.54 PM LiquidLandscape – LiquidLandscape is a just-in-time visual analytics environment that provides ‘360-degree instant replay’ for your data to support better, faster, and reproducible decision-making.
Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 9.26.00 PM Origin – Origin is a digital marketplace directly connecting fixed income investors with large corporate borrowers in the bond market.
Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 9.26.10 PM Post-Quantum – Post-Quantum protects the world’s information by enforcing data confidentiality, authenticity and access control for now and the future.
Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 9.26.16 PM Ravelin – Ravelin provides real time fraud detection for e-commerce.
Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 9.26.27 PM Safello – Bitcoin spending platform, which has already enrolled over 20,000 users across Europe.
Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 9.26.34 PM
Stockfuse – Stockfuse is a revolutionary candidate evaluation and talent development platform, employing gamification technology to bring skill-based recruitment to the financial services industry.

17th June 2015

Techstars Austin Demo Day 2015

Today in Austin, the Techstars 2015 companies will be taking the stage at the Austin Music Hall!

Mentors, investors, community members, and alumni will pack the house to hear the 3rd class pitch. As always, there will be a variety of accents representing an amazing cultural mix from the US, to Australia, and Turkey. Expect some common themes like analytics and gaming applied to wildly different industries from fashion to HR to charity.

Here are the Techstars 2015 companies in Austin, TX:

FantasyHub is the only daily fantasy sports website that gives fans the opportunity to play daily games, win cash, and support their favorite charity. We have worked with over 30 professional athletes hosting online fantasy contests for their charities.
Hunting Locator is the marketplace connecting hunters to the people with available hunting opportunities.
MetricStory helps marketers drive conversions and lift revenue by automating the entire process of setting up high value custom analytics which removes the guesswork and errors in capturing and organizing their data.
One Model is a talent analytics accelerator for human resources departments. We take the work out of managing and positioning data from all of a company’s data sources and show them how to effectively measure the workforce.
Pushmote allows companies to be close their customers via iBeacons by providing needed cloud software infrastructure and tools.
Red Fox Clan provides game publishers with quantified community feedback to make better product and marketing decisions.
Self Lender helps people establish and build credit history for the first time. Anyone can get a small, secured loan to demonstrate ability to pay back debt. This impacts what they can do, where they can live, and sometimes even work.
StopLight helps developers document, validate, and collaborate on the APIs that they are building.
StyleSage helps fashion brands and retailers boost growth with data-driven market insights.
Wonders is a visual narratives app for the most amazing hand-picked stories about travel and outdoor culture.

16th June 2015

Announcing the 10 Companies for the Boulder 2015 Class

We are excited to announce the 2015 Techstars class in Boulder! Our program begins June 15th, and will wrap up with a demo night on September 9th.

As in previous years, the quality of applicants and companies we’ve met on our journey to select these 10 companies has been truly inspiring. The caliber of entrepreneurs and product innovations continue to impress. We’d like to recognize and thank you all.

The companies in this year’s class represent the ever-growing and diversifying entrepreneurial ecosystem. Our companies come from all over the country and bring unique skills, background and expertise to Boulder this summer. While individually different, they are all fueled by an unquenchable desire to improve the world by solving big problems.

This year’s class includes companies that are focused on helping brides get the dress they dream of (while staying within their budget) to enabling any child to make music to wearables that notify a loved one if you feel unsafe to helping home buyers/sellers save money and many more. These 10 companies stood out for their drive and passion to do something great and it’s a true honor and privilege to work with them.

We’re very excited to introduce the Techstars Boulder 2015 class:      Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.37.48 AM

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.37.04 AM adHawk: A mobile app that provides a bird’s eye view of all your digital marketing data in one place.
Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.37.21 AM Blazing DB: An SQL database at supercomputer speeds that’s incredibly easy to use.
Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.37.31 AM Borrowing Magnolia: Bringing the sharing economy to the wedding industry by enabling brides to rent and resell their used wedding dresses.
Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.37.38 AM Edify: Empower every kid in the world to make their own music.
Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.37.56 AM Flytedesk: A platform for buying and selling uncollected media, starting with college newspapers.
Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.38.01 AM HobbyDB:  The definitive database for collectors and hobbyists to manage and monetize their collections.
Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.38.07 AM MadKudu: Data science that helps sales and support teams fight customer churn.
Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.38.14 AM Revolar: The world’s smartest personal safety wearable device keeps you safe anytime, anywhere.
Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.38.21 AM Stryd: The world’s first running power meter that helps runners improve their performance.
Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 11.38.26 AM TRELORA: A commission-free real estate company, replacing percentage-based commissions with one flat fee.

16th June 2015

Techstars Acquires UP Global Including Startup Weekend and Other Programs

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Today we are excited to announce that Techstars has acquired UP Global, including the organization’s Startup Weekend, Startup Week, Startup Next and Startup Digest programs.

Techstars and UP Global have a long-standing relationship dating back to 2007 when the idea for Startup Weekend was born out of the Techstars basement in Boulder, CO.  Startup Weekend was created as a community event for the first Techstars class to get to know each other — we’ve always had a close relationship and share a similar vision of empowering entrepreneurs worldwide.

Together, we’ve built programs and resources for every stage of the entrepreneurial journey – from community catalysts who are focused on early stage grassroots community development to entrepreneurs looking for more formal opportunities that provide education, a powerful mentor network, acceleration, funding and beyond.

All UP Global programs will now become part of Techstars but will remain open and independent in their execution at a community level. The programs will continue to run as they do now, and we expect additional expansion of these programs, as well as our existing accelerator programs, in the future. We’re excited that Google for Entrepreneurs will continue to partner with us by powering the Startup Weekend and Startup Next programs. Furthermore, effective immediately, fees previously associated with Startup Next, UP Global’s pre-accelerator program, have been eliminated – enabling more entrepreneurs to take advantage of that resource to help them scale.

By joining forces with UP Global, Techstars can continue to accelerate the pace of innovation by strengthening the path for entrepreneurs, providing better support for entrepreneurial communities, and helping to grow the worldwide entrepreneurial ecosystem. We will also continue to collaborate with other accelerators in the UP Global network, as we believe this will benefit all startups, not just those that are part of Techstars.

We are excited about the newly merged organization and the injection of top talent. Marc Nager, CEO of UP Global, will continue in his role as leader of the UP Community as Chief Community Officer. Marc will continue to lead most UP employees, with other core functions (marketing, IT, finance) combining teams.

The combined organization is global in reach, diverse in makeup, broad in expertise, and rich in startup experience. We are stronger together.

With today’s announcement, the entire team at UP Global will be joining Techstars and will continue supporting the community so that we can remain focused on managing and expanding our existing accelerator programs. Techstars will remain the high quality network and programs we know and love today.

We are committed to the lifelong impact that entrepreneurs have on the world, no matter where they choose to live. We believe this partnership is great news for entrepreneurs everywhere. Together, we will leverage each other’s areas of expertise and combine resources to provide more sustainable support for communities and the entrepreneurs within those communities.

To everyone in the UP Global Community — welcome to the Techstars family! Techstars is for life. We are proud to be joining forces with you and look forward to working together towards our combined vision of creating the world’s first truly global ecosystem for entrepreneurs to bring new technologies to market.

For more details, here is a link to UP’s announcement.

To learn more about UP Global’s 1,800 worldwide events, check out their impact report.

If you have questions about TS+UP, please visit http://www.whaTSUP.community/ for FAQs and more information.