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Techstars Blog

14th July 2014

Meet the 13 Companies Participating in the Boulder Class of 2014!

Today is always an exciting day for me.  It’s the day I get to tell you all about the companies in this next Techstars Boulder 2014 class – and it’s day 1 of the Techstars program!  But before you read about them,  I’d like to take a moment to tip my hat to the teams who weren’t selected.

I read every single application. I watched every single video. I read about their backgrounds and played with their applications.  I got to know many of the companies and their founders very well which always makes the decision gut wrenching and often heartbreaking.  This year was particularly hard and it seems to get harder every year.

But the thing I always wholeheartedly believe is that not getting into Techstars isn’t a rejection – it’s why we call it internally non-selection.  There are fantastic companies that we don’t accept for reasons that aren’t reflective of the company itself.  For instance, I think a different Techstars program is a better fit for that particular company, or I don’t have the mentors necessary to move the needle for that particular market, or the company has some things it needs to figure out before really being able to optimize around the program.

We have a couple of mantras around Techstars, and one of my favorites is #FoundersFirst.  All of my decisions map to that. And I have a team of people that help me make sure I’m staying true to that mantra.   If you read between the lines, you’ll see that theme in all of the reasons I cite above.

So, I just wanted to throw a little love to all the teams that applied but didn’t get in, for all the people that sent recommendations for them – for all the hard work everyone puts into the Techstars application process.  I can only hope you got as much out of the process as I did.  And I’m looking forward to seeing your application again next year.

No more looking backwards.  Let’s look forwards.  Without further ado, I present to you the Techstars Boulder Class of 2014!

Mobile HR Paperwork and more

Mobile app that manages your products and their warranties, instruction manuals, and customer support

Expense reports that do themselves

A credit card for the 21st century

Management and tracking of executive team objectives and KPIs

Notify an entire local community about a missing child within seconds

Loop: An all-in-one sensor for simplified home security

Platform for B2B freelance salespeople generating qualified leads for businesses

Social media posts for SMBs

Mobile training & coaching for sports

Varsity: Helps students discover events, clubs, and classes they love based on their interests

Hiring decisions made easy

Crowdfunded commercial solar

10th July 2014

Additional Openings for Hackstars for the Boulder Class of 2014!

Part of the fun of accepting a slightly larger than normal cohort of exciting and mind-blowing start-ups is being able to hire a few more Hackstars for the 2014 program!

What is a Hackstar?

A technical ninja who provides teams with his/her time and technical skills to help companies become viable businesses by the end of the three-month program

What do we look for?

·       You are a code-slinging mac-daddy superstar guru at any one or more of the following: PHP, Java, .NET, Python, Objective-C, Ruby, JQuery, OR a rockstar designer or UI/UX pro.

·       You are willing to work full-time in Boulder (or are willing to relocate) during the summer program (mid-July until October 10, 2014).

Why Do it?

·       Community – The staff, associates, mentors, and founders are all part of a very fun and special family.  It is a highly collaborative environment where strong life-long relationships are built.

·       Learning – Everyone learns from each other. You will work side-by-side with some of the country’s most promising new founders and young companies and learn all about startups and funding from our mentors.

If you want to join a startup or if you want to start your own startup, there is no better deal out there.

How to Apply?

Email Julie Penner at julie.penner@techstars.com ASAP.

For more information

http://www.techstars.com/hackstars/

9th July 2014

Meet some mentors!

Techstars is a mentorship driven program.  It’s that simple.  We have about 100 mentors for each of our programs and teams are paired with those they think best complement their business needs.  We’re incredibly thankful for our extensive network of mentors – with more than 1,000 – and the endless dedication they give to entrepreneurs in the Techstars program. These mentors are modern day super heroes and the relationships that founders build with their mentors can last a lifetime.

Here’s the first in a series of videos about our mentors. Check out the trailer to learn more about the program and get to know some of the Techstars mentors. Thank you!

Jeremy Shure, Head of Investor Relations and General Counsel of Pellucid Analytics

Sue Heilbronner, CEO of BoulderIdeas

Paul Berberian, CEO of Sphero

Brad Bernthal, Associate Professor of Law at Colorado Law School and Director of the Silicon Flatirons Center’s Entrepreneurship Initiative

#givefirst

7th July 2014

Meet the Companies Participating in Disney Accelerator Powered by Techstars

Disney and Techstars are thrilled to announce the media and entertainment-focused technology startups that are gathering in Los Angeles this summer to participate in Disney Accelerator, powered by Techstars.

Disney Accelerator combines the magic of The Walt Disney Company with the mentorship-driven model and entrepreneurial network of Techstars to offer a game-changing advantage to startups in the media and entertainment space.  The breadth of impact that Disney provides to culture and business is incredible, and we are thrilled to help these companies leverage this influence and the business leaders, creatives, and technologists at Disney to each accelerate their progress and potential.

The companies we are announcing today represent a diverse cross-section of media and entertainment and join us in Los Angeles from a wide range of geographies.  We eagerly look forward to where they take their businesses next and are honored to be a part of this journey with them.

 

The Disney Accelerator Class of 2014:

Buzzstarter | @buzzstarter

San Francisco, CA

Buzzstarter is the world’s first scalable programmatic content marketing platform.

 

Choremonster | @choremonster

Cincinnati, OH

ChoreMonster is a web and mobile platform that makes chores fun for kids and turns parents into superheroes.

 

Codarica | @CodaricaHQ

Stockholm, Sweden

Codarica serves as children’s first interaction into the world of code with help from characters Cody Coder and Holly Hacker.

 

Cogo | @Cogo_tv

Santa Monica, CA

Cogo provides video monetization solutions for content creators.

 

Jogg | @joggapp

Los Angeles, CA

Jogg simplifies the act of acquiring video from anyone. Users can gather, edit and share much more than just video from their own device.

 

Sidelines | @SidelinesApp

San Francisco, CA

Sidelines fixes the problem of substandard online discussions and comments by sourcing smart, high-quality discussions from its curated team of over 400 experts, and distributing these discussions to publishers based on relevance.

 

SnowShoe | @SnowShoeStamp

San Francisco, CA

SnowShoe makes simple, magical pieces of plastic that interact with touch screens to create the perfect bridge between physical items and digital media.

 

Sphero | @gosphero

Boulder, CO

Sphero is the connected play company, which fuses digital and physical play by creating robots that you control with a smart device.

 

Twigtale | @twigtale

Los Angeles, CA

Twigtale provides parents with personalized, high-quality, accessible expert advice for every major transition a child undergoes.

 

TYFFON | @tyffoninc

Tokyo, Japan

TYFFON is an entertainment app development company and creator of ZombieBooth series with more than 25 million total downloads.

 

Ubooly | @ubooly

Boulder, CO

Ubooly is a learning toy that talks and listens to kids. Ubooly can be customized to know your child’s name, teach lessons, and much more.

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