The Program

Techstars Blog

1st July 2014

Announcing the Barclays Accelerator, Powered by Techstars, Video Series

We are excited to release a new video series on the Barclays Accelerator, Powered by Techstars program! This series will be a week-by-week walk-through of the companies and their evolution during this three-month program. Take a first-hand look at the 11 teams who just got started and all of their amazing work that goes on behind the scenes.  

24th June 2014

Jenny Fielding Joins Techstars as R/GA Managing Director

I’m super excited about joining Techstars and building on the success of the first R/GA Connected Devices program. After several years going into corporate battle, it’s time for me to get back to my entrepreneurial roots and help build great companies. My new role at Techstars will leverage and build on my experiences of the last few years running ventures for the BBC Worldwide and founding Labs, an accelerator focused on the intersection of media and technology.

The decision to join Techstars is really about one thing – the people. Through months of conversations, I started to get a sense of the powerful network that Techstars has created — from founders to mentors to all the folks back in Boulder behind the scenes. It’s this ecosystem that is truly unique and compelling — and clearly unstoppable. As part of the R/GA program, we’re looking for a few exceptional hackstars and associates to join our team, so please reach out if you’re interested!

And in addition to the Techstars family, we also get to shower our start-ups with R/GA’s love. I know first hand the power of effective corporate partnerships, where big company resources can be game changing for start-ups. R/GA is known for pushing the limits around technical, digital and brand innovation, so it’s no surprise that they are leading the way into the connected world and doing so with a start-up friendly approach.

I’ve been working at the intersection of digital, data and distribution — and I think about devices and the Internet of Things as a new means of distributing digital information. As a founder of a mobile start-up early on, and having recently rode the content wave, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to the momentum around connected devices / IoT. With R/GA’s deep involvement in the program, we’ll be working alongside a highly experienced team with access to an impressive hardware lab.

18th June 2014

3rd Annual Techstars Patriot Boot Camp Hosted at Goldman Sachs

2014 Patriot Boot Camp

From May 16th to May 18th, Techstars once again helped active duty service members, Veterans, and their spouses start their own companies through Patriot Boot Camp (PBC). Techstars, in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and SoftLayer, welcomed 80 Veterans and over 60 mentors from around the country to Goldman Sachs in New York City for the three day event.

While there, the participants received a crash course in entrepreneurship and connected with experienced entrepreneurs and industry leaders to accelerate the growth of their companies. Taylor McLemore, founder and director of PBC, describes it as “condensing all the great things about a traditional 3-month Techstars program into a weekend, just for Veterans and military spouses. And at no cost to them.”

Over the course of the three days, participants heard from speakers like Fred Wilson (co-founder of Union Square Ventures), Robin Chase (co-founder and former CEO of Zipcar), and Peter Levin (former CTO of the US Department of Veteran Affairs).

Participants met with mentors, including Shai Goldman (Managing Director at Silicon Valley Bank), Brad Harrison (founder and managing partner at Scout Ventures), and James Schmeling (co-founder of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families). One Veteran entrepreneur said of the event “I learned more than I have anywhere else and [it] got me in front people I would be years away from meeting otherwise.”

In addition to the great networking and education, participants received a host of perks from several sponsors and partners: hosting credit from SoftLayer, discounted access to SendGrid, hot desks at Galvanize locations, among many others.

This year, PBC closed with its first ever pitch competition. Fifteen participants were selected from the cohort of 80 to give their 60-second elevator pitches. A panel of judges then selected 5 of those competitors to give a more detailed 3-minute pitch. The panel of judges then chose the top 3 pitches. Congrats to the winners: 1st place – Jason Cahill from IMPAQD; 2nd place – Tameesha Desangles from Wedding Worthy; and, 3rd place – Terry Wolters with NotifiUs.

To date, PBC has helped over 250 Veteran entrepreneurs with over 170 companies from around the country and abroad. Many of those entrepreneurs and companies have been accepted to the Techstars Risingstars mentorship program.

Several companies also have gone on to find investment or were accepted to accelerators and incubators. Two PBC alumni—who also went through Risingstars—were accepted into Techstars programs: Uvize went to the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator Powered by Techstars in New York City and Nexercise went  through Techstars in Chicago.

If you are interested in participating, know someone who might be, or just want to learn more about the program, please go to the PBC webpage or contact John Hrivnak, PBC program manager, at john.hrivnak@techstars.com.

Patriot Boot Camp is a non-profit program operating with the belief that Veterans and military service members make great entrepreneurs. Their drive, willingness to sacrifice, and ability to manage risk translate perfectly into the startup ecosystem. Techstars and its mentor program, Risingstars, provide resources and support for Patriot Boot Camp in order to help cultivate and grow a stronger and more inclusive entrepreneurial community.

13th June 2014

Come Join us for Techstars Demo Day in London – All are Welcome!

Techstars loves the London startup community, and for the first time ever we’re inviting the larger community to come attend Demo Day on June 20th, 2014. Check out some of the innovative companies you’ll get to hear from!

RSVP here: http://tsta.rs/1tsHkGO 

Following are 10 reasons why this cohort is awesome and you should come and attend.

1. We’re starting to like cricket

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2. We’ve become fascinated with Sainsburys cookies

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3. We work hard – sometimes too hard

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4. We embrace the English weather

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5. We love sharing

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6. We work even at networking drinks

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7. We love Oculus Rift c/o Facebook

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8. Some of us have adopted royal manners

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9. We work only on standing desks

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10. We’ve learned to love English takeaway

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13th June 2014

Happy Father’s Day!

Even though we appreciate our dads all year round, it’s that special time when we get to show them off and celebrate everything they do.  Techstars is made up of a massive & amazing network of people, lots of them being parents.  We interviewed a few kids of Techstars founders to find out what they think their dads do for work.  Happy Father’s Day!

A special thanks to all of the awesome kids in this video, Emily, Rollie, Noni, Lucy, Megan, Eevee, Coby and Carly!

12th June 2014

The First Class of the Sprint Accelerator, powered by Techstars: The Real Journey Begins!

Today’s Demo Day for the Sprint Accelerator, powered by Techstars is a major milestone. It marks the end of the first program, but for our ten companies the journey is really just beginning.

The ten startups are focused on various areas of mobile health, and all are determined to make a real difference in the world. Their products range from helping diabetics better manage their disease, to quickly arranging a doctor house call, to downloading your medical records right onto your smartphone.

During the last three months, some of the companies have completed product development and landed key pilots, while others have significantly grown their customer base. All have made substantial progress and it has truly been my pleasure to work with them. They’re all on a mission to change the world one patient or user at a time, and it shows in their passion and grit.

Please join me in congratulating the inaugural class of the Sprint Accelerator, powered by Techstars. I’m extremely proud to call each of these teams a Techstars company!

  • AkibaH is the world’s first all-in-one smartphone case glucose meter. Check them out: www.akibah.com
  • FitBark is a compact dog activity monitor that provides owners a mobile platform to better care for their pet. Check them out: www.fitbark.com
  • Ollo Wearables makes a voice controlled, wearable cell phone that keeps seniors connected to their families, while monitoring their health and well being. Check them out: www.ollowearables.com
  • Symptom.ly is a clinically validated, symptom-tracking platform that displays real-time, actionable data for patients and doctors, providing timely intervention and reducing hospitalization and ER costs. Check them out: www.symptom.ly
  • Yosko is a mobile collaboration platform for doctors and nurses that increases patient safety by improving physician communication in hospitals. Check them out: www.yosko.com

11th June 2014

Announcing 11 New Companies for Barclays Accelerator Powered by Techstars

Eleven businesses are about to embark on their journey to shape the future of financial services as the Barclays Accelerator Powered by Techstars gets underway next week.

Applications came in from nearly 50 countries, with selected teams representing both the incredible FinTech scene in London and the international nature of the industry including teams from Toronto to Stockholm to Barcelona. In an age where “UK team” consists of a founder from Russia now living in Arundel, a founder from the Netherlands living in Ukraine, and an Israeli living in Australia, all corners of the globe seem to be converging here in London.

It will come as no surprise many of our founders have prior lives in banking, some with decades of experience as traders, financial analysts, or even former COO of an Egyptian bank. What we had perhaps not predicted is one founder’s stint as a stand-up comedian, or another confessing in his final selection interview: “It’s a little embarrassing when people realise you have a cash register in your bedroom.” The enthusiasm for financial technology here knows no bounds.

And now, with Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins and his ExCo joining us for our kick-off, let us introduce our teams to you.

The Eleven Teams:

Aire – Enabling financial access for consumers through a next generation credit scoring algorithm.

ClauseMatch – First cloud platform for matching and negotiating master agreements for trading over-the-counter derivatives and commodities.

Crowdestates – We are the UK’s first peer-to-peer secured lending platform for residential mortgage deposits.

DoPay – Provides financial access to people through their corporate payroll.

Gust Pay – Makes music festivals and more cashless using NFC wristbands and smartphone apps.

Katalysator – An in-store experience and payments platform, Katalysator makes it possible to send targeted messages to shoppers based on proximity to products.

Market IQ – Provides actionable intelligence for investment professionals based on both structured (company financials) and unstructured datasets (Social, News, Blogs).

NoviCap – Enables businesses in credit tight markets to quickly access growth financing by auctioning their outstanding invoices to investors.

Tryum – The “Oyster Card” for the restaurant industry – a simple way using one smart card or one app to gain loyalty, redeem rewards and pay for food and drink at your favourite places.

Virtual View – Providing augmented reality, together with interactive 360 degree images for social, retail, and commercial use.

Wagevance – providing an ethical and affordable alternative to payday loans, through wage-backed pay advances.

10th June 2014

Announcing 11 New Companies for Techstars in Austin

We are excited to announce the eleven companies that will be joining Techstars in Austin for our 2014 summer program. We kicked things off this week on June 9th and are deep in our three month sprint to Demo Day on September 3rd. Save the date!

Heading into the second program in Austin, we’re fortunate to have many of our 2013 Austin alumni on the ground as well as almost 100 incredible mentors. Thank you, mentors! We’re incredibly grateful for your support last year and your continued time and guidance. We couldn’t do it without you.

We love this city and know 2014 is going to be an amazing year for both Techstars and Austin. Let’s do this together!

Without further ado, here’s the Techstars Summer 2014 Austin class:

Brewbot – A beer brewing robot controlled and monitored by your smartphone.

Burpy – Delivering same-day groceries and home essentials from a variety of local stores.

Cloud66 – Deploy and manage Ruby apps on any cloud.

Common Form – Do your taxes in 5 minutes on any connected device.

Experiment Engine – A/B testing with a marketplace of conversion experts.

Fashion Metric – Using big data to enhance fit and sizing for apparel retailers and brands.

Free Textbooks – Equips student influencers with software to replace their bookstore.

LawnStarter – The easiest way to order and manage lawn care.

NMRKT – Powering eCommerce for blogs, online magazines, and content creators.

Pivot Freight – Rate comparison engine and discount broker for freight shipping.

Smart Host – Intelligently price your short-term and vacation rental.

5th June 2014

Good luck, Techstars NYC 2014 Class!

Today we graduate our 5th class in NYC and my very first one as the Managing Director. It has been a fantastic experience – one of the best, most intense 3 months of my professional career.

The companies in this class spawn a world of ideas and industries. What unites them is their passion for what they are doing, and the incredible hard work they’ve put in during the class. Companies made real, significant progress and we are proud to be part of their journey.

Codestarter is the first non-profit ever to go through Techstars. Their mission is simple. Give each kid a laptop so she can learn how to code. Imagine all the kids today who can’t afford a computer.

Imagine giving them the opportunity to learn how to code. What do you get in 10 years? Code Starter thinks you will get founders of Techstars companies and other startups.  And we agree.

In just last two weeks, Codestarter secured 111 laptops. Thats 111 kids that can learn how to code! To learn more about their vision and to help, head over to http://codestarter.org.

Concert Window is an online music venue. Musicians can play a show from anywhere using their laptop. Fans tune in, pay what they want, buy merch and chat with each other during the show.

Each month Concert Window hosts over 350 shows and music festivals. In recent months the number of artists signing up with Concert Window increased 3x and the company’s sales increased 5x. Last week was the highest total sales week in the history of the company.

Concert Window’s vision is to be a major player in the rapidly growing $31BN live music space.

Hullabalu uses technology to create next generation interactive stories for kids. Their first story series, featuring Pan the purple panda, has hit #1 in Books in 38 countries. Over 150,000 kids play in Hullabalu’s world and use their apps every month.

Hullabalu’s vision is to build the future of stories. They use proprietary technology, tools, and data to tell better stories and make their content more engaging over time.

By understanding what characters kids engage with, what paths they take through the stories, and how they explore each scene, Hullabalu is creating a new kind of story experience – one that is immersive and truly tailored to every child.

Infinit is a fast and beautiful application for transferring files. Instead of sending files via email or Dropbox, you can send them a lot faster using Infinit app for Mac and Windows. It really is as simple as dragging and dropping a file, totally painless and elegant.

Under the hood Infinit is built using world class peer-to-peer file transfer technology. Because of the way it is implemented the app is 2-3x faster than competitive solutions. The company also announced a coming mobile version and with that, it aims to be the best and simplest way to send files between all your devices.

Lynxsy is a mobile recruiting platform that helps companies hire junior talent on demand. Lynxsy is already generating significant sales, and has grown sales 30% month-over-month. They have worked with more than 40 companies, including Digital Ocean, BetterCloud and Skillshare.

Lynxsy is starting by helping connect startups with college grads who are looking for entry-level, non-technical roles.  Managers can post available jobs that get pushed out to pre-screened candidates through a simple and easy to use platform.

Lynxsy’s pre-screening and matching process reduces the time to hire to 7 days from the average of 23 days. In addition, Lynxsy’s platform handles all payments and paperwork, further reducing the risk and hassle of hiring.

MakersKit is an interactive media and e-commerce company that pairs fun DIY kits with fun instructional videos. To date, they sold over 40,000 kits of which 25,000 just in last 60 days. The company has been growing sales 40% quarter over quarter. Makers Kit now has nationwide distribution deals with Urban Outfitters and Nordstrom. They also have partnerships with HSN, Macys, Zulily and Birchbox.

MakersKits is taking the makers movement mainstream by helping everyone become more creative. The kits come with everything you need to make the project, you don’t need to ever go to the store. Instead of boring instructions, each kit comes with the interactive videos featuring MakersKit founders Mike Stone and Jawn McQuade making the whole experience of doing the project a lot more fun.

Matter.io is building flexible manufacturing for the next generation of designers, makers and creative businesses. Instead of dealing with dozens of vendors and costly, unscalable processes, designers can use matter.io – a one-stop modern factory for small batch production.

Matter.io is starting with jewelry market and has 5 customers already live. For these designers, the process is simple – upload your CAD design, select from a set of options such as material, finishes, and delivery options. Matter.io automaticallly calculates the prices and turn around time. Once all the options are configured, designer gets a simple link that she can embed on her site.

Matter.io handles all the logistics of making and delivering pieces on demand, when customers actually buy them.  To handle the production, Matter.io relies on a blend of backend processes from 3D printing to rubber molding, but all of this is invisible to both designers and customers.

Pathgather is the new approach to enterprise learning that helps employees learn more, share what they know, and connect around their professional development. Pathgather is already generating significant revenue and counts Qualcomm and HBO among its customers.

Several things make Pathgather unique and exciting. First, it is employee driven, and actually empowers people to learn. Secondly, in addition to making available all the corporate learning content, Pathgather comes pre-built with the best learning content from around the web. The software is also really beautiful and easy to use.

Pathgather’s vision is to unlock the learning potential of every organization. Imagine knowing the actual skills of every employee; knowing who is an expert in what topic; finding an answer or an expert within an organization on any topic. Thats the new enterprise learning vision from Pathgather.

Rival Theory is working on applying artificial intelligence to digital characters that learn, interact and play with you across multiple apps and games.

Rival Theory’s platform is used by more than 6,000 developers and is #1 AI engine on Unity, which is #1 tool for building video games. The new version that the company is working on will introduce unique and exciting ability to create emotionally intelligent characters.

Rival Theory is building apps that showcase the capabilities of this new platform. These apps will feature IO, the first emotionally intelligent character that has persistent memories about the player, and uses them to personalize the game play across multiple games.

Standard Analytics makes the world’s science accessible via structured API. Until today, science is still published as plain text – without underlying data, code and dependencies. As a result, key concepts inside articles cannot be identified or connected. Its hard to verify, reproduce and connect scientific knowledge.

Standard Analytics is creating the world’s largest repository of structured science. It has indexed more than 20MM papers, 5.5MM unique concepts, and offers an API to pharmaceutical companies, publishers and individual scientists to help them access science in smarter, more efficient way.

SocialSign.in enables businesses to leverage their guest WiFi to learn more about visitors and build relationship with customers. SocialSign.in is already generating significant revenue and has doubled each month this year. The company has tripped the number of venues that have their software installed to 158. Current customers include The Bean, Schubert Theaters and City Winery.

SocialSign.in transforms guest WiFi into a marketing channel. It offers its in-network businesses dashboards with insights into foot traffic, visitor demographics and tastes of the customers.  They already offer many existing integrations with CRM and email services.  Guest experiences are branded and tailored by the business or sponsor and the channel converts customers to other marketing channels like email, Facebook, Twitter and apps.

SocialSign.in’s vision is to build a massive network of 3,000,000 venues in US and bring the joy of free WiFi and easy connections at the places we love to spend time at.

Tutum is a new type of cloud computing service that uses application container technology. Over ½ of all IT budgets are spent on deploying and managing applications, yet it is still very time consuming and inefficient. Current solutions include Platform-as-a-service (PAAS) and Infrastructure-as-a-service (IAAS). Both have tradeoffs between simplicity and flexibility.

Tutum is Containers-as-a-Service, and no longer requires users to compromise between simplicity and flexibility. In the past few months developers around the world launched more than 2,000 applications using Tutum’s public beta. They see the benefits of deploying and managing their applications using container technology instead of traditional virtual machines – containers make applications portable and deployments efficient.

Tutum’s vision is to create the next generation of cloud computing: simple, flexible and cost efficient.

Please join me in wishing Techstars NYC 2014 class best of luck!

4th June 2014

Techstars Coming to Kansas City

Techstars is coming to Kansas City!

The very first Techstars class of the Sprint Accelerator will present their companies next Thursday, June 12, at the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts in Kansas City. These ten innovative mobile health companies moved from all over the US and even as far away as Brisbane, Australia to join Techstars and Sprint in the heart of the country, right here in Kansas City.

Joining the ten mobile health companies on stage will be three of the four co-founders of Techstars – David Cohen, David Brown and Brad Feld. David Cohen is the CEO of Techstars and David Brown is the President of Techstars; both are active mentors of the Sprint Accelerator program. Brad Feld is co-founder of the Foundry Group and author of several books including Startup Communities, Venture Deals and Do More Faster, co-authored with Cohen.

The Kansas City startup community is no stranger to Brad Feld since he purchased his house in the Kansas City Startup Village (KCSV) last year. Referred to as the Feld House, Brad offers his three-bedroom home to entrepreneurs free of charge. KCSV has become a thriving community for startups in Kansas City, with 24 startups currently running companies out of this neighborhood. I guess you could say that Brad Feld knows how to help build a startup community!

Please join us at demo day June 12 at the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts in Kansas City. Hear presentations from ten of the newest companies leading the mobile health revolution, meet the teams, and do your part to help support a startup community in Kansas City that would make Brad Feld proud.