The Program

Techstars Blog

12th May 2015

McDonald’s, Honda R&D Americas, Inc. and Dana Holding Corporation Join as Partners in Techstars Mobility, driven by Detroit

Today we’re excited to announce three new partners in Techstars Mobility, driven by Detroit. McDonald’s, Honda R&D Americas, Inc., and Dana Holding Corporation will join existing partners Ford Motor Company, Magna International and Verizon Telematics to help 10 startup companies drive towards the future of mobility and transportation.

Techstars Mobility, driven by Detroit, is a mentorship-driven technology accelerator that will create a Metro Detroit hub for transportation and mobility innovations in downtown Detroit. Its goal is to bring new technologies to market that address the future of movement of people, goods, and services. Techstars Mobility, driven by Detroit will run for three years with a new class of 10 companies each year.

In addition to its proven accelerator model, Techstars is bringing its extensive network of mentors, founders and corporations to Detroit to help support the program. Each partner in Techstars Mobility, driven by Detroit will also provide executive-level mentorship and support throughout the program and beyond.

To help make a positive impact on the community, Techstars is coordinating efforts across the Detroit entrepreneurial ecosystem. To date, over 200 mentors have signed up to support the incoming class of 10 companies. The response across southeast Michigan has been incredible, as Techstars joins in on the goal of turning Detroit into the future mobility hub of the world.

The ten companies selected for Techstars Mobility, driven by Detroit, will be announced on June 4, 2015. The program kicks off June 9, 2015, and concludes with a Demo Day on September 10, 2015 at the Fillmore Theatre where each team will present to investors, industry leaders, and the community at large.

Click here to learn more about Techstars Mobility, driven by Detroit.

7th May 2015

The Techstars Experience: GameWisp’s Story

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

This is the third post in our new blog series, “The Techstars Experience,” with some thoughts from Michael Anderson, Co-Founder and CEO of GameWisp, a platform for gaming video creators and fans to interact around great content. Michael and his co-founders, Aaron Middleton, Andrew Wynans, and Eli Hooten, completed the Techstars Chicago program in 2014.

Here are some highlights from Michael’s post, entitled, “Achievement Unlocked: How Techstars Helped GameWisp Level Up.”

[re: program impact]

Techstars was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. It was also one of the most life-changing and rewarding. Why? I’ll put it simply: the entire destiny of our company (and, frankly, my life) changed over the course of a summer. We took a chance on an unexpected opportunity, were able to grind out a ton of new experience, and invested that experience into new and enhanced abilities that made us much more formidable as a business and as business people. We were able to level up our business.”

The speed of the evolution of our business changed dramatically when we were given the time to all think deeply about our market and how we could solve important problems within it. Having the space of mind to focus on the people we were trying to help with our product allowed us to iterate exponentially faster.”

[re: the people]

The most important thing about Techstars from a participant company’s perspective is the people that are a part of the program. When I look back on our time in Techstars Chicago, it was the relationships that made the crucible of Techstars not only survivable and productive, but invaluable and life-changing.”

[re: Working with Techstars]

The rest of the team they built around them was full of incredibly smart, passionate, and helpful individuals. Everyone provides tremendous value to your business. From board members like Sam Yagan, who bring invaluable advice borne out of their experience, to associates and hackstars (like Kunal, Julia, Jon, Ana, Brendon, and more) who help and guide you through the day to day craziness.

To get the full story of this founder’s Techstars Experience, read Michael’s entire post here.

Want to apply to Techstars? Check out our Program Schedule.

4th May 2015

Techstars at Collision Conference this Week

If you’re at Collision Conference this week in Las Vegas, check out our Managing Directors in Workshops and a Panel discussion.

We will be hosting Workshops from four Techstars Managing Directors (Nicole Glaros, Ryan Kuder, Cody Simms and Blake Yeager) who will be covering the topics outlined below and then wrapping up with an open Q&A session where you can ask them anything related to entrepreneurship, accelerators, fundraising, startups, the program and more:

Tuesday, May 5 from 10-4 in the Startup Workshop Studio in Pavilion 2.

  • 10-11 a.m.: Blake Yeager on Innovation and Cloud Startups
  • 11-12 p.m.: Ryan Kuder on Trends in Robotics Startups
  • 12-1 p.m.: Lunch
  • 1-2 p.m.: Cody Simms on Startups and Hollywood
  • 2-3 p.m.: Nicole Glaros on How to Pitch
  • 3-4 p.m.: Ask Me Anything Panel with all MDs

On Wednesday, May 6 at Noon on the Startup University Stage, be sure to catch Nicole Glaros as part of the following panel discussion:

12:05 – 12:25 p.m. The Evolution of Choosing Your Workforce

  • Vivek Ravisankar, HackerRank
  • Nicole Glaros, Techstars
  • Mikal E. Belicove, Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Amanda Kahlow, 6Sense

Learn more about Collision.

1st May 2015

Apply to the Techstars New York City 2015 Fall Program

We are delighted to open the applications for our Fall 2015 Techstars class in New York City!

The application deadline is June 28th, and the class will kick-off end of September, finishing off with Demo Day in December.

Techstars NYC Fall 2015 Recruiting Calendar

Below is the calendar of our recruiting events. We want to meet with you, tell you more about the program, and discuss how Techstars NYC can help you accelerate your business. Here is how you can connect with us:

Twitter: Hey, @techstars @alexiskold I’d love to get feedback on our business.

Live casts: Ask Techstars NYC livecast. Connect with us on Wed at 6:30PM during these dates: 4/29, 5/6, 5/13, 5/20, 5/27, 6/3, 6/10, 6/17, 6/24, and also 6/27, 6/28.

Calendar: All events are in this Google calendar.

May 1:    Applications Open

May 5-8:    Techstars NYC in Stockholm (confirmed)

May 14-15: Techstars NYC in Amsterdam (tentative)

May 20: Techstars NYC in Croatia (confirmed)

June 2: Techstars NYC in Los Angeles (tentative)

June 9: Open House (will be Live streamed)

June 28: Applications Close

 

Techstars NYC Updates

To date, we’ve done six programs in NYC and have 100 Techstars companies based in NYC. We just graduated a great group of companies, and our most technical one to date. Here are blog posts about them: Techstars Winter 2015, 7 Innovations from Techstars NYC and a Full Demo Day  Recap.

In 2014 fifty Techstars companies in NYC have collective raise over $180MM in funding. ClassPass is a Techstars graduate and one of the fastest growing Techstars companies in NYC. Here is a video ClassPass CEO, Payal Kadakia, addressing the attendees at the latest Demo Day.

Why Apply?

We have written about Top 10 Reasons to Join (or not Join) an Accelerator. In addition, here are the things that are particularly great about the Techstars NYC program:

  1. You get AMAZING mentors

You will have access to NYC founders and CEOs, top angel investors, venture capitalists, as well as amazing mentors with background in product, engineering, marketing and finance.

  1. You really grow & accelerate your business

The program is rigorous and metrics driven. We help the companies make tangible progress and help grow & accelerate their business. Our approach is based on numbers, because numbers and facts are a lot more fundable than just stories (we love stories too, but we love stories with numbers more).

  1. You get a network for life

Techstars is not just a 13 week intensive program. It is one of the largest and fastest growing networks of entrepreneurs around the world.  Once you are a Techstar, you are a Techstar for life, and you get to be part of the network that helps you go faster and accelerate your current and future businesses.

  1.  You are at the center of NYC tech scene

New York has become a great place to build a startup. We have a ton of smart business people, engineers, entrepreneurs, executives, and investors who are working together to create valuable and lasting companies in NYC. By joining our next program you put yourself at the center of it all – literally, our brand new 13,000 SQ FT space is overlooking Times Square and the Empire State Building.

We are calling on all passionate entrepreneurs with big vision and focus on execution. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to apply. We particularly look forward to seeing companies building unique, interesting technologies and companies with revenue and real traction.

29th April 2015

Where Are They Now? Featuring FullContact

Check out our newest “Where Are They Now?” video featuring Techstars Boulder 2011 alum, FullContact.

FullContact provides cloud-based contact management solutions for businesses, developers and individuals. Today FullContact released its most-requested feature – it’s now simple to have identical address books across multiple Gmail accounts.

Learn more about their success post-Techstars and their “Paid paid vacation” policy, where they actually pay their employees to go off the grid!

28th April 2015

Techstars vs. Y Combinator: From a Founder Who’s Been Through Both

The following post is written by Weiting Liu, Founder & CEO of Codementor, a live help marketplace for developers.  Weiting is a serial entrepreneur and an alumnus of both Y Combinator (YC ’07 SocialPicks, ’12) and Techstars (Seattle ’13 Codementor).

Make Something People Want and Do More Faster.

Being one of the rare founders to be both a Y Combinator and Techstars alum, I’ve had the privilege of going through two of the top accelerators in the world. Unlike YC and 500 Startups which seem to have more common overlaps, there have been very few founders who’ve gone through both YC and Techstars programs.

Over the years I’ve been asked countless times about what my experiences were like going through the programs, how helpful the networks were to my startups, and how I’d recommend fellow founders to choose which one to join.

I have the utmost respect for Paul Graham, Sam Altman, David Cohen, Brad Feld, all YC partners and Techstars directors. YC and Techstars are the two earliest accelerators ever created, yet they are now being run with very different visions and philosophies.

Depending on what your goals are, you might find one of them to be a better fit for you and your startup….

Read full post.

p.s. Techstars founder David Cohen is hosting an office hours on Codementor to answer your questions about Techstars and more. RSVP here.

 

27th April 2015

The Techstars Experience: SpotHero’s Story

At Techstars, we’re often asked what it’s like to go through our program. Founders want to know how our accelerator program is different than others – what makes it better?

This is the second post in our new blog series called “The Techstars Experience” with some thoughts (originally posted on Medium) from Mark Lawrence, Co-Founder and CEO of SpotHero, a mobile on-demand parking app and website that helps drivers find parking and reserve a spot.  Mark and his co-founders, Jeremy Smith and Lawrence Kiss, completed the Techstars Chicago program in 2012.

Here are some highlights from Mark’s post, which as he describes as, “a retrospective on the 7 reasons why joining Techstars was one of the most important decisions of my life.”

[re: time to market]

“Techstars showed us that speed is the greatest asset a startup has. We learned how other successful companies bring products to market in a short amount of time. This reinforced that the sense of urgency and the ability to move fast and change quickly is what can allow a small company to seize an opportunity like no other.”

[re: Mentorship]

“Mentorship might seem like an obvious part of an accelerator, but we were surprised by how many incredibly talented mentors we had access to during the program. From the founders of OpenTable, GrubHub and CDW to the CEOs of publicly traded companies, we spent time learning from some of the most successful people in the world. We met with about 100 mentors 1:1 so we could really get to know them better, pick their brains and learn from their experiences. Whether it was entrepreneurs, marketers, salespeople or lawyers, each one forced us to start thinking about how these different specialities come together to form a profitable business. We developed strong relationships and suddenly we had people, besides our families, who were invested in our success.”

[re: Raising Capital]

“Techstars helped us understand the ins and outs of bootstrapping, raising seed capital from angels, going the institutional route and courting VCs from around the world. We became smarter at raising capital by learning which types of investors seek certain types of deals, how they approached the process and what they need to hear from you. In addition to helping us better understand the investment process, Techstars provided us with the opportunity to pitch to our company to a wide range of investors, including some of the biggest VCs in the country and we gained great exposure.”

[re: Working with Techstars]

“Through participation in Techstars, I’ve grown as an entrepreneur and learned invaluable lessons about growing a business, fundraising and thinking bigger.”

“Three years, three offices, 12 cities, 30+ employees and $7 million in funding later, I am incredibly grateful for all that Techstars has done for SpotHero.”

To get the full story of this founder’s Techstars Experience, read Mark’s original post here.

Want to apply to Techstars? You still have time! Applications for Chicago, London, and Seattle close at midnight this Thursday, April 30. Barclays NYC applications close on Tuesday, May 12.

(Are you a founder with a story to tell? Contact us at info@techstars.com and tell us about your Techstars Experience!)

 

27th April 2015

Startup Fundraising 101: A How To Guide

You have your hands on an awesome product and you’re gearing up to launch your business, but you need seed funding to get it fully off the ground. What type of funding is available for your startup, and how can you access it?

We’ve partnered with the folks at General Assembly to break down the different types of funding available, starting from early-stage options to growth-stage options, and go over the pros and cons of each one.

What is bootstrapping? What is an angel round? What are accelerators? What is venture capital?

Navigate fundraising options with ease. Get the Guide and Get Growing.

23rd April 2015

The Techstars Experience: Knowtify.io’s Story

At Techstars, we’re often asked what it’s like to go through our program. Founders want to know how our accelerator program is different than others – what makes it better?

Today we are kicking off a new blog series called The Techstars Experience with some thoughts (originally posted on Medium) from Dane Lyons, Co-Founder and CTO of Knowtify.io, an Engagement Marketing platform that helps software businesses easily and effectively market to their existing customer base. Dane and his team recently completed Techstars Cloud program in San Antonio.

Here are some highlights from Dane’s post:

[re: Techstars the company]

You could define Techstars as an accelerator for early stage startups. In reality, it’s a lot more than that. Techstars is a family of incredible people who understand more than the Xs and Os of starting a company…

[re: The Application Process]

Techstars was far and away a better experience. I’m obviously biased in my assessment but the biggest difference for me was transparency. To kick things off, I had a face to face meeting with Blake Yeager, the 2015 Cloud Managing Director, before ever submitting our application. From there, he made himself available by email and Google Hangout for the next few weeks in case we had any questions. That alone made it a better experience… The vibe just felt right…

[re: Mentorship]

“The first month of Techstars is like speed dating for companies and mentors. You talk to as many entrepreneurs as possible from the Techstars network. The goal is to find 3–5 people you like working with to help grow the company over the next 2 months leading up to demo day….I’m sure we easily talked to more than 50 people… In the end we paired up with 4 pretty amazing mentors…The second month of the program was about spending a few hours per week with each mentor and really cranking away on messaging and the product. This is where our vision really started to come together.”

[re: Give First Philosophy]

Brad Feld, one of the founders of Techstars, lives by this wonderful ‘give before you get’ philosophy. The idea is not born out of pure altruism where you give but don’t get. It’s hard to pay bills without the getting side of the equation. What this means is don’t worry as much about being transactional and clearly defining what you get for what you give. Instead, just focus on giving first. If the relationship evolves then getting will follow.”

To get the full story of this founder’s Techstars Experience, read Dane’s full post here.

Want to apply to Techstars? Learn more here.

 

22nd April 2015

Announcing New MDs for London, METRO Accelerator and Boulder

As Techstars continues to expand, we are bringing on new talent to help manage our global programs – now totaling 18 programs in 13 locations. Read on to learn more…

Meet Max Kelly, our new Managing Director of Techstars London. Max has a long background running innovation and entrepreneurship at Virgin. While there, he was responsible for the strategy of the group and for starting several companies which eventually exited for over $500M. Alongside his Virgin commitments, Max also co-founded lastsecondtickets.com which had a successful exit in 2014.

(Not to worry, Jon Bradford isn’t going anywhere. He is helping Max get up to speed through the next program before taking on a broader role in the Techstars organization.)

In Berlin, we recently brought on Rob Johnson as the Managing Director for the Techstars METRO Accelerator. Rob was co-founder of Makers Academy which quickly exploded into Europe’s largest coding boot camp and was recently ranked by the Guardian as the #1 place to learn to code in London.

In Boulder, Nicole Glaros will continue as a Partner in Techstars Ventures as well as moving into a Chief Product Officer role where she will be responsible for assuring that we continue to maintain a high level of quality across all of our programs. Nicole is passing the baton for Techstars Boulder onto a team of two new Managing Directors, Zach Nies and Natty Zola (clearly, it takes two men to fill Nicole’s shoes).

Zach Nies is the former Chief Technologist for Rally Software. His entire career has been dedicated to entrepreneurship at startups and inside large companies. He uses that experience, guided by his core value of Learn, Do, Teach, Learn, to help companies of all sizes successfully bring new products and services to market. Zach has served as a Mentor with Techstars since 2008.

Natty Zola is the co-founder of Everlater (an anagram of e-traveler), a consumer travel blogging platform and a CRM tool for tour operators, which was acquired by AOL in 2012 and merged into MapQuest. Natty brought his company through Techstars Boulder in 2009 and understands the entrepreneurial journey first-hand.

We couldn’t be more excited to bring them on as co-MDs who have been an integral part of the Techstars program for many years.

Check out this new video which gives more details on the transition of our Boulder program.


Welcome Max, Rob, Zach and Natty. Good luck to all of you and to Nicole in your new roles!