It’s been almost 10 years to the day since I started my first company. Back then, there wasn’t much in the way of mentorship and advice in Ireland. What always stuck with me were the people who did help – not the ones looking for 5 percent (or worse yet, 51 percent) of your business, but the folks who took time to have a chat, critique the business and our ideas, and add real value. I always thought that if I was ever lucky enough to be in a position to pay that forward, then I would.
Over the last three years, I’ve mentored at Techstars’ programs in London, Berlin and Tel Aviv, as well as other accelerators as far away as Tallinn, Istanbul, Abu Dhabi and Tokyo. The #givefirst credo is one that’s always resonated with me and it’s why I’m so excited to be joining Techstars Connection, in partnership with AB InBev as Managing Director.
For this program, we are looking for B2B and B2C companies who:
- Seamlessly connect and bring people together for enhanced social experiences.
- Conveniently connect people to products with greater speed and efficiency.
- Enhance consumption experiences through curation, personalization and localization.
- Leverage the hidden benefits of raw materials, fermentation and brewing in products and systems that help people to live well.
Startups in Techstars Connection will interact daily with AB InBev executives and employees who will open doors that are otherwise hard to access, including:
- Distribution, manufacturing and logistics channels
- Inventory management tools
- Access to real-world venues around the world (stadiums, restaurants, live venues, bars, etc.)
- Brand marketing
- Advertising and media distribution outlets
- Agriculture technology
- Big data and analytics
If that’s you and you want to join Techstars Connection, applications are open until July 10. I’m also on the lookout for amazing associates. If you have questions, you can find me on Twitter or book some time in my calendar to find out more. We’ll be sharing a little more on the blog in the coming days, including details on upcoming webinars and office hours in London, Dublin, New York, Boston, Austin and beyond.
Alongside helping the Techstars Connection companies to launch, scale and deliver amazing experiences, I’m particularly excited about three specific elements of this role: connection, storytelling and building products people love.
Connecting People and Countries
Entrepreneurship happens everywhere nowadays, and your users can be anywhere. At Techstars, we have a huge network around the world through the accelerators and Startup programs. AB InBev have a huge global footprint to leverage. We will work closely together to connect people and products to global markets.
Telling Great Stories
My background in Journalism has instilled in me a passion to help people and businesses tell the most compelling story to investors, the media, customers and users. One of the things I will focus on is how to structure and tell the stories of those companies selected.
Building Products People Love
Everyone wants to build something their users love. Our partners at AB InBev have great expertise in that department, and I want to leverage that experience as well as insights from our community to help teams dig into the user experience. I look forward to building products people love with people who love building them!
Also, I talk and write about fun, mischief and whimsy a lot. If you can make someone laugh, chuckle or even just crack a smile – you’ve gone a long way towards lighting up the reward pathways in their brain and creating a memory. In an era of bots, AI, AR, and more, that’s going to be increasingly important. I’m looking forward to helping the teams create those incredible products and experiences.
Finally, a quick thank you: first to my mum and dad for buying me a Sinclair Spectrum 48k computer (and later an Atari ST) all those years ago. It’s been a long way from writing games in BASIC in the mid-80s and naming them after girls I liked (a story for another blog).
To Jon Bradford, Greg Rogers and Chris Adelsbach for putting up with me (you’ve created a query monster now), and to all of the entrepreneurs ready to apply and work with us at Techstars: I can’t wait to kick off in New York later this year!