Growing a Worldwide Network: Techstars Impact Report 2016

As we settle into 2017, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on all of the exciting stories across the Techstars network from last year. We are celebrating some big milestones as a company and as a community as we continue to grow our worldwide entrepreneur network!

This year marked our 10th anniversary, over 100 company exits, 1,000 companies in our portfolio, and 10,000 jobs created by those companies. Wow! We are not only excited by this impact, but it also fuels our passion to continue on our mission. We are proud of our growth over the past decade and look forward to what the future holds for next 10 years.

A few highlights from 2016 by the numbers:

  • Techstars companies have raised nearly $3 billion in total
  • The market cap for Techstars alumni is $7.8 billion
  • Seven new accelerator programs launched, including our first program in APAC, bringing us to 25 programs worldwide
  • Techstars Ventures made nearly 50 seed investments
  • Startup Week grew by six new countries (thanks to our Community Leaders!)
  • Eight amazing nonprofits received a grant from the Techstars Foundation

You’ll find these stories, data and more in this year’s Impact Report!

Thank you for everything you do to help build the Techstars worldwide entrepreneur network – let’s continue to stand together and make a difference in 2017!








Happy Holidays from Techstars

As the year comes to a close, we wanted to take a look back and celebrate everyone in the Techstars network who made it possible – the founders, mentors, community leaders, investors, and partners around the world.

We are a connected global ecosystem with one mission: to help entrepreneurs build great businesses. In every corner of the globe, we have people who are working hard to build startup communities and grow companies to strengthen this ecosystem.

Check out this video to learn a little more about what being an entrepreneur means to them, why they do it, and why “Give First” is the thing that keeps us all going.

Happy holidays from all of us at Techstars and wishing everyone a great 2017!








Negocios como fuerzas de bien: Techstars es ahora una B-Corp

Estamos emocionados de anunciar que Techstars, se ha convertido en una Corporación tipo B Certificada (B-Corp). Las B-Corps son un tipo nuevo de compañía que usan el poder de los negocios para resolver problemas sociales y ambientales.

Techstars siempre ha buscado maneras de ayudar a las comunidades, y fundadores, y a seguir uno de sus principios, Dar Primero a través de la Fundación de Techstars, Pledge 1% y nuestros esfuerzos de diversidad. Queremos continuar construyendo nuestra cultura, y convertirnos en una B-Corp fue el siguiente paso correcto para hacerlo.

Techstars fue certificado por el laboratorio sin ánimo de lucro B Lab, llegando a estándares rigurosos de desempeño social y ambiental, responsabilidad y transparencia. Hemos evaluado como nuestras prácticas impactan nuestra red extensa de empleados, comunidades, ambiente y clientes. 

bcorp

“Una red extensa.
3,731 mentores activos; 2,452 fundadores; 5,307 inversionistas activos; 5,734 líderes de comunidad.
Finalidad de Techstars: Creemos que startups maravillosas pueden ser creadas en cualquier parte. Apoyando esta creencia, Techstars está construyendo el mejor ecosistema global para que fundadores traigan nuevas tecnologías al mercado.”

Los estándares de desempeño son comprensibles y transparentes. Miden el impacto que tiene una compañía en todos sus aliados (Por ejemplo: empleados, proveedores, comunidades y el ambiente). A diferencia de corporaciones tradicionales, las corporaciones certificadas tipo B están legalmente atadas a considerar el impacto de sus decisiones no sólo con sus accionistas, sino con sus aliados.

Nos unimos a otras 1,800 B-Corps alrededor del mundo, incluyendo New Belgium Brewing, Patagonia, Seventh Generation, Ben & Jerry’s, Kickstarter, Etsy, Warby Parker y Hootsuite.

También, nos unimos a otras B Corps Certificadas en Colorado, incluyendo nuestros amigos en Foundry Group, Rally Software (ahora CA Technologies), Namaste Solar, Simple Energy, y dojo4. Estamos orgullosos de unirnos en redefinir el éxito en negocios para que algún día todos usemos los negocios como fuerza para el bien.

En Techstars, creemos que una corporación con ánimo de lucro como Techstars puede también ser para bien y actuar responsablemente, y estamos orgullosos de unirnos a otras compañías con ánimo de lucro que se sienten de la misma manera y han hecho este compromiso. 

Alentamos a todas nuestras compañías del portafolio y a todos en la red de Techstars a unirse al movimiento.








Business as a Force for Good: Becoming a B Corp

We are excited to announce that Techstars recently became a Certified B Corporation. B Corps are a new type of company that use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. Techstars is always looking for ways to help the community, to help founders, and to Give First through the Techstars Foundation, Pledge 1% and our diversity efforts. We want to continue to build giving into our culture, and becoming a B Corp seemed like the right next step.

Techstars was certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. We’ve evaluated how our practices impact our extensive network of employees, our community, the environment, and our customers.

bcorp

The performance standards are comprehensive and transparent. They measure a company’s impact on all its stakeholders (e.g. workers, suppliers, community, and the environment). Unlike traditional corporations, Certified B Corporations are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions not only on their shareholders, but also on their stakeholders.

We join over 1,800 other B Corps around the world including New Belgium Brewing, Patagonia, Seventh Generation, Ben & Jerry’s, Kickstarter, Etsy, Warby Parker and Hootsuite.

We also join 75 other Certified B Corps in Colorado including our friends over at Foundry Group, Rally Software (now CA Technologies), Namaste Solar, Simple Energy, and dojo4. We are proud to join them in redefining success in business, so that one day everyone uses business as a force for good.

At Techstars, we believe that a for profit corporation like Techstars can also be for good and behave responsibly, and we’re proud to join other for profit companies that feel that same way and have made this commitment.

We encourage all of our portfolio companies and everyone in the Techstars network to join the movement.








Why Having Co-CEOs is a Bad Idea, Almost Always

Recently, David Cohen and I both changed our titles to co-CEO of Techstars.

We’ve long preached that having two CEOs at a startup is a bad idea, so why did we do it?

First, why doesn’t it work?

Usually, it’s because it’s done for the wrong reasons. Often a company has co-CEOs because they have co-founders that don’t want to create a hierarchy between them; they want to view each other as equals. But in almost all cases, one CEO feels like they are carrying the other. This ultimately leads to founder issues, which is the leading cause of death for startups.

Even if they view each others as equals, that doesn’t mean that they always agree. When they don’t, who decides? Even worse, as the company grows, which CEO do people go to for decisions? Often, they will feel that they need to get buy-in from both, leading to slower decision making. Or, employees play mom against dad, finding which CEO will back their point of view. If one of the co-founders is technical, the titles should probably be CEO/CTO. If neither is technical, the real question may be “why not?”

In our case, this actually isn’t a change, it’s how we’ve always operated.

It works because we truly do view each other as equals. We’ve been working together for more than 25 years, across a variety of different startups. In our first company, Pinpoint Technologies, I was CEO and David was CTO (although we called it President and VP of R&D back then). At one point at Techstars, David was CEO and I was President. Most recently, we were both Managing Partners. None of those titles represent our reality, which is that regardless of our titles, we view each other as equals. We also know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and we know them well. We don’t divide up the work, it’s more that we know who is the tie breaker in any given situation.

Our only rule is that everyone needs only one yes and everyone gets only one no – you don’t have to ask permission from two people. Then we make sure we have great communication between the two of us.

As with most things in life, there are no universal truths. While I still don’t generally recommend it to others, it works for us. It takes a long history together and a deep understanding of the other person. Think about where you need to break convention in your business to find success.








Techstars + UP Global: One Year Later

It was just a year ago that Techstars acquired UP Global and its programs, Startup Weekend, Startup Week, Startup Next and Startup Digest.

When we made this announcement, our intention was to leverage each other’s areas of expertise and combine resources to provide more sustainable support for startup communities and entrepreneurs around the world.

The first year for us was one focused primarily on observation and listening. We onboarded and integrated the incredibly talented UP Global team. We talked to a lot of you about what was working and what you’d like to see improved.

We’ve learned so much from this experience. It went better than we expected, it was harder than we thought, and we are still working hard. Startup Program Community Leaders continued their powerful work by putting on over a thousand events in more than 600 cities last year. We launched our nonprofit, the Techstars Foundation, as well as adding eight new accelerator programs bringing us to a total of 22 worldwide.

Now is the year of action and improvement.

We’ve aligned global summits with our annual founder conferences (FounderCon) in the US and Europe, updated startup program websites, increased transparency, and are connecting Community Leaders to the Techstars network.  

We are working to improve communication as well as to build better connections and tools for Community Leaders and the communities they serve.

We are still on a mission to build a world where entrepreneurs can find like-minded individuals who share a passion and community for entrepreneurship. We’re moving into a new phase to bring even more value and resources to the Entrepreneur’s Journey across our Startup Programs and Accelerator Programs.

Thanks to everyone who’s been a part of this so far. Stay tuned for more!








Diversity Resources for Startup Founders

In 2016, we committed to making diversity one of our key strategic priorities at Techstars.

As a part of this ongoing effort, check out our new video where we talk about why addressing diversity early in your company growth matters and how diverse perspectives fuel innovation.

Listen to our founders talk about how unconscious bias and pattern matching affected their fundraising efforts and how we can work together to change things.

Here are a few tools and resources to help get the conversation started at your company:

Do you know of other resources? Add them in the comments!

Watch the video:








Announcing the Launch of Techstars Connection

Today, we’re excited to announce Techstars Connection, a new social experience accelerator that will foster innovation and new enterprise through the creation of products, services and experiences that help connect people to people, help connect people to product, and help connect people to place. Operating out of New York City, the program kicks-off in October and runs through January 2017. Applications open April 18, 2016.

Entrepreneurs in Techstars Connection will focus on solving challenging consumer problems and bring groundbreaking solutions to market that:

–    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

Techstars Connection is run in partnership with AB InBev. ZX Ventures, AB InBev’s global incubator and venture capital team, will also have a substantial role within Techstars Connection.

We are proud to partner with AB InBev on this new accelerator program because they bring incredible passion for helping consumers achieve the best possible social experiences. The recognition of the AB InBev brand will also help strengthen the Techstars global entrepreneur ecosystem, which aligns well with our current active investments in Techstars’ portfolio of social and immersive experience companies like Jukely, LiveLikeVR, Naritiv and LISNR.

This is the fourth Techstars program in New York City, building on the successful Techstars NYC, Techstars IoT (Internet of Things) and Barclays NYC. Companies going through Techstars Connection will be able to leverage the extensive network of investors and mentors in NYC as part of this new program.

Apply today.








A Look Back at 2015 & Happy Holidays from Techstars

This past year has been a wild ride at Techstars! We joined forces with UP Global to support entrepreneurs around the world; we launched the Techstars Foundation to improve inclusive entrepreneurship; and we announced our new fund, Techstars Ventures, to extend our investments into the Techstars network. We’d like to say thank you to all of the founders, mentors, community leaders, organizers, sponsors, employees and partners who’ve made it all possible.

Happy Holidays from Techstars and here’s to an even more successful 2016!








Techstars & Cox Enterprises Partner to Catalyze the Startup Ecosystem in Atlanta

We’re excited to announce the launch of Techstars Atlanta, in partnership with Cox Enterprises. Techstars and Cox are focused on galvanizing the local startup community in the entire southeast region of the U.S. to to broaden and deepen Atlanta’s vibrant startup community and empower entrepreneurs to build great businesses. Techstars Atlanta will select, recruit and accelerate the most innovative startups focused on technologies driving positive change in an interconnected world.

Techstars Atlanta’s theme is: Life’s most important connections are happening in new and exciting ways. Social media platforms, cloud-based data, predictive analytics and cyber security are thoroughly interwoven in our daily lives. The industries of tomorrow – telecommunications, mobility, transportation, healthcare, and financial services – will need to aggregate and share vast amounts of information in creative new ways.

Cox Enterprises and Techstars share a common goal of catalyzing the entrepreneurial community in and around Atlanta, similarly to how Techstars has helped to strengthen startup communities across the globe. Techstars sees Atlanta as a leader in startup innovation in the southern U.S. with a dynamic startup community. Together with Cox Enterprises, our goal is to unify and rally the broader Atlanta business community around its startup community. We believe that great entrepreneurs are everywhere and Atlanta is no exception. It is full of successful business leaders, big brands and a wealth of tech talent that simply needs a way to connect – and this program will bring it all together. 

Applications open today and the program will kick off in summer of 2016!