25 Epic, Must-Read Blog Posts About Fundraising

In my capacity of the Managing Director at Techstars NYC I spend a lot of time with founders on getting funding. Raising money is a complex and rigorous process. It requires preparation and precision.

I’ve been writing extensively on the topic here on my blog. I’ve been also collecting the best articles I find around the web. In this post, I’ve compiled the best writing I found on the topic with brief commentary about each post.

1. Metrics Every Entrepreneur Should Know by Heart

by Elizabeth Kraus of Merge Lane

Having solid metrics is a huge benefit for a seed round and an absolute must for series A and beyond. If the founder can’t articulate metrics & numbers around the business, investors are very likely to pass. Read this post to know what metrics matter.

2. Sixteen Startup Metrics

by Jeff Jordan of A16Z

Team at A16Z pulled together an awesome post on metrics that matter. If CAC, LTV, GMV aren’t in your vocabulary yet, jump in.

3. Startup Growth Calculator

by Trevor Blackwell of Y Combinator

Trying to figure out how much capital to raise? When you will raise profitability? Use this awesome tool from Trevor. Super helpful. Also check out my post on How Much Capital to Raise.

4. Nine seed funding gotchas 

by Alex Iskold of Techstars

First time, and even serial founders make mistakes during fundraising. Most typical? Not being prepared. Other mistakes are doing it too early, or without traction. Read this post to learn what may go wrong in the typical fundraising.

5. Eight Things That Make Investors Cringe

by Lili Balfour of Atelier Advisors

In this fun, and spot on post Lili outlines things that drive investors crazy. Some include lies, stupidity, cluelessness. Read on.

6. Invest in Lines, not Dots

by Mark Suster of Upfront Ventures

Founders and Venture Capitalists have a different view of the fundraising process. Founders want checks fast, while VCs balance strong inclination towards a no with FOMO. In this classic post, Mark explains that the key to fundraising is building a relationship. Check out the related post I wrote about avoiding Happy Ears.

7. Like a First Date

by Joanne Wilson

Fundraising is a little bit like dating. Go too fast or too slow and it won’t work. What to do and what not to do is illuminated by Joanne Wilson, a prolific angel investor in NYC in this Wall Street Journal post.

8. Eight Things You Need To Know about Raising Venture Capital

by Alex Iskold of Techstars

Raising VC is difficult. A lot needs to come together. But what are some of the less obvious things? In this post we talk about things ranging from venture-backable businesses to partner dynamics and fund cycles.

9. Micro VC

by Shaun Abrahamson Greatest Good

Micro VCs are a new type of venture capitalists. They typically right smaller checks compare to VCs but bigger than angels do. Micro VCs play critical role in both seed and series A stage companies. Shaun’s epic post demystifies and breaks down all you need to know about Micro VC.

10. Raising a Seed Round

by Steve Schlafman of RRE Ventures

An epic deck that walks you through what you need to put together to raise a seed round. A ton of awesome information, with bonus material for NYC founders. For additional info on the topic read my post on putting together a Perfect Deck for Seed Round.

11. Everything you ever wanted to know about convertible note seed financings

by Scott Walker of Walker Corporate Law

Ah the convertible debt. Hated and loved by everyone. It’s quick to do but what are the consequences? Scott talks about the good, the bad and the very ugly of convertible debt. For more on the topic read these excellent posts by Mark Suster and Brad Feld.

12. Six Body Language Mistakes You Don’t Know You Are Making

by Shane Jones of The Press Box

Fundraising is as much art as science. When founders meet investors they show them decks and talk about the business. But the deck is not the only thing investors look at. They read founders body language and pay close attention to their emotions. This fascinating post eliminates what not to do during the pitch meetings.

13. Everything you wanted to know about VC Liquidation Preferences

by Bo Yaghmaie of Cooley 

Liq prefs. They are no good, right? Well some are and some are okay. Read this excellent post by Bo to learn all about Liquidation preferences and how they impact your outcome as a founder.

14. Valuation and Option Pool

by Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures

Option pool is a tool for you to attract talent and give them skin in the game, right? Sure. It is that a lot more. Investors ask that option pool is plenty and comes out of so-called pre-money valuation. What does that mean and why? Read this excellent post by Fred to find out.

15. Want to know how VCs calculate valuation differently from the Founders?

by Mark Suster of Upfront Ventures

Founders fixate on pre-money valuation. Investors are all about % of ownership. There are tricks to every single negotiation and VCs know the tricks. Mark Suster opens up and tells you like it is.

16. Venture Capital Deal Algebra

by Brad Feld of Foundry Group

The exact calculations of any funding round are kind of like voodoo science. Well not kind of, it is that. Complex spreadsheets, army of lawyers, and a ton of back and forth. Brad sheds light on how the calculations actually work.  While at it, go read another excellent post by Brad on what he thinks about seed investing.

17. Dial-For-Dollar Calls From Some VC Associates

by Bilal Zuberi of Lux Capital

Got a call from an Associate – take it or pass? Who are these Associates and what is their agenda? Read this great rant on the topic from a former associate and now partner.

18. Why Maximizing Your Valuation Maybe Minimizing Your Chance for Success

by Micah Baldwin of Amazon

Founders are obsessed with valuation, while VCs are focused on ownership. Micah explains in this fantastic post why it makes sense to raise on the lower valuation in the earlier days of the company vs. raising high early and then struggling to grow into the valuation. For another excellent take on this, read Fred Wilson’s The Valuation Trap.

19. Beware of Post Money Trap

by Albert Wenger of Union Square Ventures

How investors think about post-money and why it is important to keep it as low as you can. Sage advice from Albert. Fred Wilson also comments.

20. VC Asshat Move #1

by David Cohen of Techstars 

Beware of competitive dynamics when you raise. There are plenty of bad actors out there. David Cohen puts it eloquently in this post.

21. Fatal Pinch

by Paul Graham of Y-Combinator

Got 6 months or less in the bank? You are running out of money and it is not a great place to be in. Actually it is much worse than you think. Read this dark and sober post by Paul Graham to find out what your real options are.

22. Three Questions For Startups To Answer For Themselves In A Volatile Fundraising Environment

by Tomasz Tunguz of Redpoint Ventures

When Winter is here, how do you think about capital and financing of your startup? Read this excellent, short post by Tomasz.

23. Drink When Served

by Mark Solon of Techstars

Should you raise more or less capital? Mark Solon, Managing Partner at Techstars argues that it makes sense to raise more capital if available. Given current cool climate and series A crunch this is a sage advice.  Also read my post on this topic – Why it makes sense to raise more capital when you can.

24. What Seed Funding Boom Means for Raising Series A

by Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital

Raising Series A is a lot harder than raising a seed round. Seed capital is abundant, while series A bar is really high. In this awesome, nuanced post Josh Kopelman, Founding Partner of First Round Capital gives the founders advice on how to think about the Series A funding landscape.

25. The Babe Ruth Effect in Venture Capital

by Chris Dixon of A16Z

Why do VCs obsess with Unicorns? How do VCs make money, anyway? Chris illuminates the rise of large funds and the dynamic of venture capital and puts it in a simple and accessible form. This post is likely to bring you closer to understanding why VCs say NO to so many opportunities.

 

What are your favorite posts on fundraising? Please share with us and we will update the post in coming weeks.



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The Perfect Investor Deck for Raising a Seed Round

There are several ways to build an investor deck to get seed funding, but there is no perfect way, of course. The common thing between all successful decks is that they are short and clear. Be sure to read 9 seed funding gotchas and 8 things you need to know a about raising venture capital before you start working on your deck.

In this post we will talk about what goes into a typical seed round deck.

The outline

Here are 3 different outlines. One from Nicole Glaros, my mentor and Chief Product Officer at Techstars, one from Steve Schlafman from RRE Ventures, and the last one is my own.

Nicole’s outline:

1. Logo with 1 liner
2. The Problem
3. The Solution
4. The Demo
5. Business Model
6. Marketing / Sales Effort
7. Market Size
8. Differentiation
9. The Team
10. Timeline / Milestones / Traction
11. Financials
12. The Ask / Close
13. Contact Info

Steve’s outline:

1. Title & Contact Info
2. Problem
3. Vision / Mission
4. Product / Solution
5. Market Size / Trends
6. Distribution / Acquisition
7. Monetization
8. Roadmap / Timeline
9. Traction / Milestones
10. Projection / Metrics
11. Team / Advisors
12. Funding

My outline:

1. Team
2. Vision
3. Problem
4. Solution
5. Demo
6. Traction
7. Business Model
8. Differentiation
9. Market Opportunity
10. Financing + Milestones

As you can see they are mostly similar with some minor differences in the amount of information and the order. Most items should be 1 slide. It is fine, of course, to add two or more per item, but don’t have too many slides. Th perfect deck is a short one.

General pointers

DO:

  • Clearly label each slide – Problem, Solution, Team, etc to make the deck easily scannable.
  • Make slides simple. Don’t put a ton of text.
  • Use larger fonts, and bigger graphics.
  • Make charts and stats clear and awesome.

DON’T:

  • Include unrealistic growth forecasts charts that are hockey sticks in the future.
  • Describe how many engineers you will hire.
  • Make stuff up or lie.

Slide details

Team: List the team, and your background. Highlight specifically what, if anything, qualifies you to start this business. List relevant experiences. Also list key advisors and investors, if you have them, and if they are well known.

Vision: What is your vision? Why did you start this? What is your true north? Clear and simple one liner.

Problem: What problem are you solving? Again be brief. Add data and market research to support your statement. Explain why this is actually a problem, and a big problem worth going after.

Solution: What is your insight? What is unique about it? Be very specific. If your solution involves a platform / defensible technology, be sure to illustrate it. Add another slide, if makes sense.

Demo: Show don’t tell. Embed a demo video of your solution. 1 min. Make it awesome. Be product obsessed.

Traction: State key metrics that drive your business. Show charts, make them awesome. Speak to your metrics and growth – it is important. Even if your traction isn’t huge, speaking to it illustrates you are metrics driven. Investors want to back metrics-driven founders.

Business model: Describe clearly how you are making money or planning to make money in the future. If you don’t know yet, be ready to explain which key metric is important for your business and why.

Competition: Avoid magic quadrants, they are tired. Instead, list all your major competitors and highlight their strength. Then below, explain in 1-line what makes you different.

Opportunity: Describe your addressable market, and size it. Give clear backing to how you arrived at the numbers. Avoid top down analysis: we are in $X billion market. Instead, show clearly what the actual addressable market is. Attach bottom up / unit-economics analysis to back the number.

Financing: Describe how much you are raising, and what milestones you will achieve with the money. Good milestones are growth milestones like revenue, customers and users. Each financing is done to get you to either profitability or, more likely, another financing. This is why it is important to get the milestones right. Read this post for more details.

For another excellent overview post on how to build a pitch deck see this post by David Tetenfrom FFVC.

Once you built the deck, get feedback from your advisors and other founders. Then go and field-test it. Be self-critical and listen carefully to feedback from potential investors. Don’t get happy ears. Iterate and change the deck based on the feedback you get. Make it better.

Like with everything, there is no such thing as perfect deck. The more you work on it, the more you iterate, and the better clarity you get on your business the faster investors will write you a check.

Alex Iskold is the Managing Director for Techstars New York. This post originally appeared here

Want to learn more from our MDs? Apply to our accelerator programs.

 



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Meet 14 New Techstars Companies from Fall 2015 NYC Class

We are very pleased to announce the new Techstars class here in NYC. This will be our 7th session in the city, and my third as the Managing Director. The class started this week, and will end with the demo day on December 17th.

We had an overwhelming amount of high quality applicants. Thank you very much to everyone who applied. Fourteen companies that made it into the class represent less than 0.8% of applications. Seven of the companies are from NYC, two from Los Angeles, and one from Bay Area, Boston, and Seattle respectively. We also have two international teams – one from Paris and another one from Lagos, Nigeria. This is the first time that a company from Africa made it into a Techstars NYC class! 

Techstars NYC continues its commitment to funding exceptional, technology-focused founders. The companies in this class are working on improving mobile search, automating shopping and help desk assistance, making it easier to buy health insurance, building intelligence platform for law enforcement and teaching girls how to code through programmable jewelry. We are also very excited to welcome back an alumni, Jason Baptiste, who previously went through Techstars NYC as the CEO of OnSwipe. His new company is called Morsel.

We want to take this opportunity to thank the 70 Techstars NYC alumni companies and 150 mentors for their ongoing and generous support. We look forward to an amazing session this Fall.

Here are the companies:​

 1442614714375 Flip enables people to buy and sell leases from each other.
Gorgias builds customer support software powered by machine intelligence to maximize productivity.
GreatHorn is a cloud security platform that detects and prevents data breaches.
Haubby is a SaaS platform for beauty freelancers, offering client engagement, business management and product sales tools.
Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 4.06.50 PM Homemade is a marketplace for homemade food.
Impact Health helps consumers select and buy optimal health insurance.
Jewelbots are programmable friendship bracelets that teach girls to code.
LiveLike is creating a live-sports viewing platform that combines the immersiveness of Virtual Reality with the power of social.
MAX is hyper-local on demand delivery for Urban Africa.
Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 4.09.10 PM Mona is using machine learning to create a fully automated retail shopping assistant.
Morsel is a monthly lunch subscription service delivering healthy meals to your desk.
Sailo is an online boat rental marketplace.
Slash is a smart mobile keyboard making it easy to share anything, without switching apps.
SPIDR is the next generation communication and intelligence platform for law enforcement.


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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.



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Good luck, Techstars NYC Winter 2015!

Today we are graduating the 6th Techstars NYC batch. The companies worked super hard during the program, and we are delighted to see just how much growth and progress they’ve achieved.

This batch was remarkable in a number of ways.

First, it was the most tech-focused group we’ve ever had in NYC. A new kind of data store, innovative translation service, software to optimize ISP delivery, complex 3D and virtual reality algorithms, in-browser interpreter for running R, microservices, NodeJS management and even the world’s first printer for electronics — this batch tackled it all. For more about the innovation that these Techstars companies have launched please read this post on my blog.

Secondly, we had the most international group. Five teams moved across the ocean to participate in the program. They came from Australia, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

Here is a little bit more about each company, and the progress they made.

BentoBox offers restaurants a platform to manage mobile-first websites, marketing and operations. Over 100 restaurants in NYC, including Union Square Hospitality Group, Spotted Pig, Breslin and Meatball Shop are using Bento Box today. The company is seeing 30% MoM growth, and is now expanding to other cities.
Cartesian Co enables rapid electronics prototyping with their desktop 3D printer for circuit boards. Think MakerBot for electronic circuits. To make this technology possible, Cartesian team had to invent a new kind of ink. To date they’ve sold $300K worth of printers to both hobbyists and big names like Google and NASA.
DataCamp is an online data science school that offers hands-on courses using video lessons and interactive coding challenges. Over 100K data scientists have signed up. DataCamp is ramping up its monthly revenue via subscriptions, and have partnered with GA, Coursera, top universities, Microsoft, IBM and Accenture.
Stefan’s Head – is the first text-message driven retail brand. Looking for something off the beaten path? Look no further. Whimsical Stefan is your weekly shopping concierge and companion. He dreams up cool, limited edition products and texts you when the next one is ready. Hurry, if you snooze, Stefan will offload his stuff to other peeps. To get on the list: TXT STEFAN: 646-759-0904.
irisVR builds software to share, edit, and visualize 3D models in virtual reality. With their platform people can experience spaces in VR before they are built. IrisVR helps save money on costly updates and post-construction changes. IrisVR has 1,200 beta signups including top AEC (architecture, engineering, construction) firms in NYC.
Keymetrics offers a real-time platform for managing and monitoring NodeJS applications. Their open-source product, PM2, has been downloaded more than 600K times and grew 14x in the last 12 months, and is now seeing 40% MoM growth. Keymetrics powers tens of thousands of websites around the world and has Intuit, PayPal, and Southwest Airlines among their beta customers.
Localize offers localization as a service, and helps translate your website with one line of code. They make a typically painful process completely painless with no dev effort. The company now has 150 paying customers and served translated pages to over 10MM unique visitors in March. Localize has been experiencing rapid growth, averaging 15% revenue and customer growth WoW.
LSQ is a platform for developing and deploying microservices. Similar to how Docker popularized containers to make application deployment simpler, LSQ is making it easier to build large-scale applications using microservices. LSQ released its first version during Techstars and has 50 beta customers.
Pilot is a new kind of internet provider for businesses. It is fiber-based, 10x faster than Google Fiber, features transparent pricing, 100% uptime guarantee and white glove service. Pilot built smart software that helps guarantee speed and makes it easy to manage internet in the office. They have 150 customers in NYC, 30% MoM growth and will be soon expanding to Chicago.
Spoon University is a food network for the next generation. They have experienced more than 10x growth in the last 4 months, and now have 2.5MM uniques. Spoon University is building a new type of media company: a true network. 3K students contribute content from 100 campuses around US. Warning: this site is very addicting.
Stream is new kind of data store designed for building, scaling and personalizing feeds. 500K apps have feeds in them and they keep re-inventing the wheel. Much like Elasticsearch changed the game for search, Stream is making building feeds easy. The company has 100 customers, and has seen 50% growth WoW in Techstars. They served 10MM feed requests in March, and have Rhapsody, eToro, and StockTwits in beta.
Unique Sound is a platform for composers and sound creatives to showcase their work and get hired. As the mobile video is growing the demand for high quality original music grows with it. UniqueSound now has a database of 1,000 composers who have done projects for L’Oreal, Mandarin Oriental, and Samsung.

 

The companies are grateful to all 136 mentors who have helped them accelerate their businesses and made this special video to highlight their top mentors.



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Growth Hacking to 1,000 Users & Beyond

If you want to tackle your startup marketing in an actionable, results-oriented way, look no further than this growth hacking talk from Mitch Wainer, cofounder and CMO of DigitalOcean, a Techstars Boulder 2012 company.

In the talk, given to the Techstars in NYC class earlier this year, Mitch outlines that fundamental user acquisition building blocks for startups to create a growth engine and surpass 1,000+ users/customers. He shares tried and true tactics based on DigitalOcean’s growth.

Watch Mitch’s talk here. It will be 35 minutes well-spent:

Don’t see the video? Click here.

“Growth hacking is a mindset.” – tweet this

In the video, Mitch shows you how to create a viral growth engine. He packs a ton of actionable ideas for each of these topics:

  • Simple monthly reports
  • Standard health metrics include LTV, CAC and churn
  • Free trial / promo codes
  • Content marketing
  • Analytics
  • Display advertising
  • PR
  • Retargeting
  • Referrals
  • Social media marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Retention growth hacks

Other growth hacking resources mentioned:

Thanks to Mitch and DigitalOcean for talking with the Techstars in NYC class.

Learn more about DigitalOcean here: https://www.digitalocean.com/



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12 Companies for Winter 2015 Session in NYC

We are very pleased to announce the new Techstars class here in NYC. This will be our 6th session in the city, and my second as the Managing Director. The winter session started this week, and will end with the demo day on April 17th.

We had 60% increase in applications for NYC program this year compared to 2014, and the acceptance rate was 0.8%. The companies that got selected are innovating across wide range of spaces including virtual reality space, electronics prototyping, developers tools, mobile, localization, e-commerce, content and more.

This year, for the first time, we had Techstars alumni participate in interviewing the candidates. We want to take this opportunity to thank 60 Techstars NYC alumni companies and 300 mentors for their ongoing and generous support. We look forward to an amazing session this Winter. Here are the companies:

 

BentoBox provides mobile-optimized websites and digital marketing tools for restaurants.
Cartesian Co enables rapid electronics prototyping with our desktop 3D printer for circuit boards.
DataCamp is an online data science school that uses video lessons and interactive coding challenges.
Goods of Record is an online marketplace for artisan men’s goods, made only in America.
irisVR builds software to share, edit, and visualize 3D models in virtual reality.
Keymetrics is a software-as-a-service monitoring solution for Node.js.
Localize helps translate your website with one line of code.
LSQ is a rapid software development platform for Node.js.
Pilot is a new kind of internet provider, delivering ultra-fast fiber optic internet to businesses with no contracts and a 100% uptime guarantee.
Spoon University is a food network for the next generation where all the content is produced by college students.
Stream is a web service for building scalable newsfeeds and activity streams in hours instead of weeks.
Unique Sound is a marketplace that helps brands, ad agencies, and video producers to get original and affordable music directly from composers.


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Apply to the Techstars New York City 2015 Class!

We are delighted to open the applications for our next Techstars class in New York City.

The application deadline is October 19th, and the class will kick-off mid January, finishing off with Demo Day in April. To date, we’ve done five programs in NYC, and graduated over 60 companies including Contently, Timehop, Crowdtwist, Moveline, Lua, ClassPass, Plated, Placemeter, TriggerMail, Tutum, and MakersKit.

Below is the calendar of our recruiting events. We’d love to meet with you, tell you more about the program and discuss how Techstars NYC can help you accelerate your business.

In addition to these events we will be holding office hours on Skype. Please tweet at @alexiskold to get link to the Skype calendar.

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.

2. 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).

3. You get a network for life

Techstars is not just a 13 week intense 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.

4.  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.



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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!



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13 New Techstars Companies for Spring Session in NYC

We are very pleased to announce the new Techstars class here in NYC. This will be our fifth session in the city and my first one as the Managing Director. The spring session started this week and will end with the demo day on June 5th.

We considered over 1,000 companies and selected 13 for this session. The incoming class is very diverse and includes companies working in the music space, DIY kits, Wi-Fi for venues, and also several companies focusing on technical areas like virtualization, verifiable science and artificial intelligence. We are also delighted to announce that one of the companies in this class is the first ever non-profit to get into any Techstars program.

We’ve gotten truly incredible support from the 50 Techstars alumni and 300+ mentors here in NYC. We are grateful to the community for all they’ve done and we look forward to an amazing session this Spring. Here are the companies:

Concert Window
Concert Window enables musicians to play live shows from their homes.

DYO.co
DYO create uniquely personal things using a combination of personal data and 3D printing.

Hollerback
Hollerback is a mobile app that lets you talk to friends and family through short, fun video messages.

Hullabalu
Hullaballu makes original interactive books & games for children.

Infinit
Infinit develops applications for simple, fast, and secure file transfer.

Lynxsy
Lynxsy helps startups find talent for junior level non-technical roles.

Makers Kit
Makers Kit offers fun DIY kits and entertaining how-to videos.

Omakase (non-profit)
Omakase is a non-profit connecting tech world with the best small charities.

Pathgather
Pathgather develops social learning software for the enterprise.

Rival Theory
Rival Theory makes an artificial intelligence platform for the video game industry.

Social Sign.in
Social Sign.in helps venues build relationship with customers via a free WiFI.

Standard Analytics
Standard analytics builds tools and API for publishers and scientists to enable verifiable science.

Tutum
Tutum develops container virtualization technology and platform based on Docker containers.



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