Congratulations to the Techstars Founders in the Forbes 30 Under 30

We are proud to announce that 19 Techstars’ companies have been named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 this year. Companies from Techstars city programs out of London, NY, Boston and Seattle were recognized as well as founders from our corporate programs with Disney, Sprint, R/GA and Qualcomm. A special shout out goes to Zapier, a Startup Weekend alumni, who made the list!

These founders have been called out as the “brightest young entrepreneurs, innovators and game changers.” We look forward to seeing more great things from them in 2017, and from all the amazing founders in the Techstars family all across the globe.

THE LIST:

Name

Company

Class

Category

John Wise

Lovepop

Boston ’15

Art & Style

Andre Lorenceau, Saswat Panda

LiveLike VR

NYC ’15

Consumer Tech

Ben Anderson

Amino Apps

Boston ’14

Consumer Tech

Keller Rinaudo

Zipline

Seattle ’11

Consumer Tech

Nate Beatty, Shane Scranton

IrisVR

NYC ’15

Enterprise Tech

Bryan Helmig, Wade Foster, Mike Knoop

Zapier

SW Alumni

Enterprise Tech

Andrew First

Leanplum

Seattle ’12

Enterprise Tech

Peter Johnston

Lystable

London ’14

Enterprise Tech

Matt Salsamendi

Beam

Seattle ’16

Games

Kendall Tucker

Polis

Boston ’16

Law & Policy

Patrick Pittaluga, Sean Warner

Grubbly Farms

NYC ’16

Manufacturing & Industry

Marine Couteau, Ladislas de Toldi

Leka

Sprint ’16

Manufacturing & Industry

Kurt Workman, Jordan Monroe, Zack Bomsta

Owlet Baby Care

R/GA ’13

Manufacturing & Industry

Chad Amonn

Inova Drone

Qualcomm ’15

Manufacturing & Industry

Daniel Altmann, Eric Posen

Naritiv

Disney ’14

Marketing & Advertising

Ricky Ashenfelter

Spoiler Alert

Boston ’16

Social Entrepreneurs

Martin McGloin, Sabine Pole

Sorry as a Service

London ’15

Retail & Ecommerce – Europe

Freddy Macnamara

Cuvva

Barclays UK ’16

Retail & Ecommerce – Europe

Helena Wasserman

Big Data for Humans

London ’14

Technology – Europe

Want to get on the list? Apply to Techstars today.








Expanding our Board of Directors

Techstars is building the best global ecosystem for founders to bring new technologies to market.

The last few years have seen amazing growth for us as we’ve expanded throughout the world. We are now regularly investing in 16 cities in five different countries, and running Startup Weekend, Startup Week, and other community events in over 600 cities and in 168 countries. Our portfolio of accelerator companies has now raised more than $3 billion and is valued at more than $7 billion, and we have seen well over 100 exits by merger or acquisition to date from our portfolio. We’re now managing $300M of our own capital and have been fortunate to be first round investors of companies now worth upwards of $85 billion.

We’re very proud of the team we’ve put together globally. Techstars now consists of 160 people living and working in the locations where we are investing and building startup communities. As we’ve expanded what we do far beyond just running accelerator programs, we decided it was time to rethink our board of directors and bring in some additional expertise.

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve added Arthur Lev to our Board of Directors. Arthur is the former Chairman of Morgan Stanley Investment Management as well as a  former Managing Director and the Head of Alternative Investment Partners at Morgan Stanley.

As the Techstars ecosystem becomes more global and has more opportunity to invest in great startup communities around the world, we expect that we’ll soon be able to invest $1B+/year in Techstars portfolio companies. We believe that Arthur will be invaluable in helping us develop the right capital strategies for the long term at Techstars.

We’re also very excited to add Wendy Lea, the CEO of Cintrifuse, to the Board of Directors. As a Techstars mentor since 2007, Wendy understands the value of our mission. In 2016, she was instrumental in bringing the most recent Techstars founder event, FounderCon, to Cincinnati, an emerging startup hub in the midwest. Cintrifuse operates an innovative model that integrates large global companies and the startup community in unique and mutually beneficial ways.

As Techstars continues to bring larger corporations into our global ecosystem, we plan to lean on Wendy for strategies that make this a win-win for founders, startup communities, and corporations with a desire for innovation.

The Techstars Board of Directors now consists of me (David Cohen), David Brown, Mark Solon, Brad Feld, Jason Mendelson, Arthur Lev, and Wendy Lea. As a group, we’re excited to help build the global ecosystem for founders and take Techstars into its second decade.








Techstars Give First Awards 2016

This fall, at our FounderCon conference in Cincinnati, we began a new tradition called the Give First awards. We decided we wanted to recognize founders and mentors from our global network who consistently live this core value of Techstars.

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The idea behind #givefirst is that we try to be helpful without any specific expectation of return and in a non-transactional way. In short, if we can be helpful, then we want to be helpful.

Here are the founders and mentors who we recognized this year for how they live this value.

David Mandell is the co-founder and CEO of PivotDesk (Boulder ‘12) and a Techstars mentor. David shows up and helps at so many Techstars locations. He’s mentored at Patriot Boot Camp (a non-profit we funded early on and helped launch). He shows up at Techstars accelerator programs around the world and meets with companies because he loves being helpful. I suspect that he’s mentored in more locations than any other Techstars mentor. He’s consistently rated as a top mentor at these programs he visits.

John Guydon is the founder and CEO of the Lassy Project (Boulder ‘14). I love working with John because of his “straight talk.” He’s not afraid to tell us how we’re screwing up or how we could do something better on behalf of everyone in the network. At the same time, he’s incredibly generous with his time and a great representative of our alumni.

Rami Essaid is co-founder of Distil Networks (Cloud ‘12) which has grown into a very valuable company. However, just because Rami is the CEO of Distil, he hasn’t forgotten his roots and he is constantly giving back to Techstars by mentoring, hosting alumni gatherings, sponsoring FounderCon, and more.

Thanks to everyone in the network for all that you do. Learn more about Give First in this video.








Funding and M&A Activity Across the Techstars Ecosystem

As we near the end of 2016, many Techstars’ alumni are celebrating exciting funding news from the past few months.

Congratulations to:

We are now well over 100 Techstars accelerator companies that have been acquired. Those gold shirts are really adding up!

In addition, here are the companies that have recently received significant investments.

sendgrid

SendGrid (Boulder ‘09), a leading delivery platform for customer communication that drives engagement and growth, recently raised $33M in Series D funding.

leanplum

Leanplum (Seattle ‘12), a complete mobile marketing platform, announced a $29M Series C round in mid-October.

zipline

Zipline (Seattle ‘11), recently raised $25M in Series B funding. Zipline builds drones and delivers crucial medical supplies to remote locations that are not accessible by land.

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Amino Apps (Boston ’14), announced a raise of $19M in Series B this December. Amino Apps is a mobile only platform for passionate niche communities.

owlet

Owlet (R/GA ‘13), the creator of the Owlet Smart Sock, a baby monitor that allows parents to better understand their child’s health needs, recently raised $15M to continue product development and clinical studies.

ovia

Ovia (Boston ‘12), recently announced a $10M raise to become the leading provider of women’s health apps. Ovia (formerly Ovuline) is a fertility monitoring tool for women who want to maximize their chance to get pregnant.

irisvr

IrisVR (NYC ‘15), the company that allows architects and designers to turn their 3D plans and blueprints into virtual reality experiences, raised $8M in Series A funding in late October.

lovepop

Lovepop (Boston ‘15), raised a $6M Series A in late November. Lovepop creates laser-cut 3D paper designs inside a seemingly normal greeting card.

stasislabs

Stasis Labs (Healthcare ‘16), the company that built a health monitoring system that allows doctors to catch declining patients and intervene before a critical event, raised $5M in seed funding in mid-November.

apptentive

Apptentive (Seattle ’12), a Seattle-based mobile customer engagement software company, recently raised $3.6M round to help hire new employees.

ravelin

Ravelin (Barclays London ‘15), raised £3M (~$3.6M) in Series A funding this past October. Ravelin provides fraud detection for the on-demand economy.

spoileralert

Spoiler Alert (Boston ‘16), the Boston-based startup focused on eliminating food waste recently raised $2.5M. Spoiler Alert offers an online platform that enables food businesses to manage surplus and organic waste.

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Spatial (Mobility ‘16), a location api that uses artificial intelligence to answer questions only a local would know, recently raised $2M.

garmentory

Garmentory (Seattle ‘14), a boutique fashion e-commerce platform, raised $2M in late November to take on larger retailers. Garmentory hosts an online marketplace that connects boutiques and designers with customers.

stylesage

StyleSage (Austin ‘15), recently raised $2M in seed funding to help amplify sales and expand into other markets. StyleSage helps fashion brands and retailers maximize sales and and optimize merchandising and planning using data-driven insights.

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Maxwell Financial (Boulder ’16), the company that is reinventing how the $8.5T residential mortgage industry works, raised $1.95M in funding to continue to recruit top engineering talent in Denver.

logicgate

LogicGate (Chicago ‘16), empowers businesses to transform disorganized risk and compliance processes into enterprise-grade applications without writing a single line of code. They recently raised a $1.9M seed round.

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Codementor (Seattle ‘13), an on-demand marketplace for software developers, recently announced a $1.6M raise. Codementor connects you with experienced mentors for instant coding help via screen sharing, video and text chat.

blueprint

Blueprint Registry (Retail ‘16), announced a $1M seed round this past November. Blueprint Registry is an innovative life-event registry platform where you can shop or register for products based on your home’s blueprint.

remesh

Remesh (Barclays NYC, ‘15), an enterprise platform that uses artificial intelligence to turn collective wisdom into intuitive, decision-making data in real time. Remesh raised $1M in early November to continue to expand.

Don’t miss your chance to join a Techstars accelerator program – Apply today.








Techstars Foundation Announces Second Round of Grantees

The Techstars Foundation is pleased to announce our second round of grantees who are committed to improving the landscape of diversity in tech.

We received hundreds of grant requests. The creative initiatives and thought leadership related to diversity in technology entrepreneurship is truly awesome. The work that these organizations are doing on this important issue is creating real change and building stronger communities around the world. We thank you all for the work you do.

The mission of the Techstars Foundation is to provide grants and resources to organizations making a scalable impact in diversity in tech entrepreneurship. This group of grantees encompasses a wide spectrum of underserved entrepreneurs, including female and minority entrepreneurs from underserved backgrounds, students of color and immigrant founders.

The organizations receiving financial grants and further assistance from the Techstars Foundation are:

c4q

Coalition for Queens (C4Q) increases economic opportunity through technology and transforms the world’s most diverse community into a leading hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. We believe that people from every community — across gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic backgrounds — should have the opportunity to learn to code, gain jobs in tech, and create the companies of the future.

profile_pic

The Global EIR Coalition expands economic opportunities through partnering international entrepreneurs, universities, and cities to promote job creation, grow local economies, and build their businesses throughout the United States.

sd-logo-1080x1080

Student Dream trains collegiate students of color to start companies. Driven by a vision to create wealth in communities of color, Student Dream runs semester long programs and a membership platform that connects aspiring Black, Hispanic, and Native American student entrepreneurs to training, mentorship, and industry opportunities needed to succeed.

An instructor from Coalition for Queens teaching a class
An instructor from Coalition for Queens teaching a class

 

Student Dream participants during an entrepreneurship event
Student Dream participants during an entrepreneurship event

 

A Global EIR working with University of Colorado student during a session of the Global Entrepreneurs in Residence Program.
A Global EIR working with a University of Colorado student during a session
 

Along with the financial  support, Techstars will leverage our broad global network of mentors, alumni and investors to provide additional support to these organizations. If you would like to learn more about these organizations or get involved, please contact: foundation@techstars.com.

Thank you again to our generous donors who have made these grants possible. We continue to encourage 100 percent participation from our network to help support this cause. Every dollar counts.  

If Techstars accelerators, staff, mentors or startup programs such as Startup Weekend and Startup Digest have helped you in some small way, please consider a donation of any amount to help improve diversity in tech entrepreneurship.

We look forward to making a difference in diversity in technology entrepreneurship together, through the above partnerships and with your support.








Don’t Go Dark

I’ve had a couple of situations lately where a portfolio company founder or CEO went dark on me. They just stopped communicating.

Sometimes it takes me a while to notice it. When I do, I usually check in with the person and just ask something like “Hey – I haven’t heard from you in a while, how’s it going?”

Sometimes the response is benign, and all is more or less ok with the company and people in question. Perhaps they’ve just forgotten to update their investors for a while, or it’s been a particularly busy time for some other reason. In those cases, my checkin serves as a gentle reminder.

Other times, as you might expect, it’s more of a doomsday scenario. They went dark because stuff wasn’t working. There was nothing good to tell their investors about, so they just said nothing. It’s been a long time. Now the company is out of money, out of options, and the person just doesn’t know what to do next. “Any ideas?” they ask.

“Not at this point” I think to myself. With no runway left they’re out of cash already and living off the founders credits cards. All the employees are gone. They forgot to update investors along the way, so there’s no way to help at this point except coach them on how to shut down gracefully.

Don’t let this happen to you! Communicate bad news early – you might be surprised at how your investors can jump in and help.

As an example, Techstars now has a large full-time team just working on corporate development and M&A. We’ve completed over 100 M&A transactions, and we probably could have helped create some kind of positive outcome if we only knew you were in trouble earlier.

At Techstars, we’ve put systems in place now to see who we’re not hearing from regularly so that we can be proactive. But most angel and seed investors don’t have systems like this.

When stuff goes badly, don’t go dark. It’s a huge mistake for so many reasons.

This was originally published on David’s blog.








Diversity at Techstars Companies: 2016 Update

Last year Techstars announced our diversity commitment as part of White House Demo Day. As a follow up to that commitment, we are now reporting on our progress and publishing our diversity data annually. During 2016, we’ve tracked participation in our accelerator programs and have made measurable progress to increase participation by women and underrepresented minorities within our applicant pool, mentors, and staff.

Here is a recap of what we are doing to improve inclusive entrepreneurship:

  • We created the Techstars Foundation to improve diversity in tech entrepreneurship worldwide, through grants to mission-driven organizations such as Defy Ventures, Astia, Change Catalyst, Gaza Sky Geeks, and Patriot Boot Camp.
  • We partnered with Chase for Business to survey ~700 startup founders about diversity and inclusion at their startup. The output includes a research report highlighting the data from that survey as well as a website which provides actionable resources startup founders can take to improve diversity at their startup.
  • We’ve trained staff on unconscious bias, are working to offer this training to our portfolio companies, and we’ve implemented processes to ensure that every selection committee includes at least two women.

Our specific diversity commitment last year was to:

Double the number of women in our accelerator program applicant pool and across our mentor network over four years. Track participation in our programs by underrepresented minorities and double that from the baseline over the same time period.

This year will serve as our baseline and we will update these numbers annually. Here’s how we’re doing so far:

2016

2017

2018

2019

Ethnically diverse founders

25%

TBD

TBD

TBD

Female founders/participants

19%

TBD

TBD

TBD

Female mentors

18%

TBD

TBD

TBD

  • Twenty five percent of our US-based founders are ethnically diverse (non-white).
  • Nineteen percent of our founders and program participants are female.
  • For many of our US-based accelerator programs (including Sprint, Retail, Healthcare, IoT and Connection) nearly 20 percent of the companies who applied had at least one female founder.
  • Eighteen percent of our mentors are female and 18 percent are ethnically diverse.
  • For our global Startup Programs, we’ve increased our gender diversity to 33 percent female attendees.
While we are glad to see our efforts are beginning to pay off, we’ve still got a very long way to go. We want to thank those of you who have helped with these efforts over the last year, and who will continue with us on this journey.
Startup Founders: to learn more about how to improve diversity and inclusion at your company, please visit our microsite for specific resources that will help you become a diversity leader.







Rethinking Corporate Innovation at Techstars

At Techstars, we’re building the best global ecosystem for founders to bring new technologies to market. One of the impacts that I think we’ll have a long time is to change the way that corporations engage with startups. We want to help make those engagements effective and efficient for both parties. We do this in a few different ways.

First, we have an internal team of five people that focus on corporate relationships. They’re the folks who do amazing things like BizDevDay at FounderCon, where there were 1500 meetings in a single day between big companies and our portfolio.

They also work on M&A when necessary, and we recently completed our 100th M&A transaction out of the Techstars portfolio. They have deep relationships with most of the important large corporations in our space, and are constantly making connections to Techstars’ companies.

From the large corporations perspective, they might think of this activity as corporate development or “corpdev.” We think of it as leveraging our scale to assist our portfolio of amazing startups.

Second, we partner with large corporations to build accelerators, like Techstars MusicTechstars Mobility or Techstars IoT. In working with so many large corporate partners, we’ve learned that some of them engage with these accelerators with a short term view, and some with a long term view. Let me explain.

When a corporate engages with an accelerator or with startups, their short term view might entail them thinking about which one or two of these companies could “move the needle” for their stock, or fill some current strategic gap. They engage with the accelerator as if their job is to cherrypick. That’s all well and fine and it produces near term results in many cases, but it’s also short term thinking.

Other partners engage with a long term view. They lean in and #givefirst, which may at first feel somewhat alien to them. In this mode, the partner is thinking about how this could impact their business in 5, 10 or 20 years.

They’re thinking about the startup ecosystem they are building around their own company, technology and areas of interest. They’re trying to grow more cherries to pick later. The long term thinkers understand that current opportunities are only a small part of their role in growing an ecosystem around themselves. They lean in long term.

Startups are a long game, not a short one. As our partners actively re-think what corporate innovation means, they’re learning that it’s about both long and short term focus. They’re learning that they need corpdev programs that move the needle now, but they also need to grow the right ecosystems around themselves. And that takes time and patience.

It takes good and helpful behavior around startups with a 20 year view. They are learning to be consistent in their approach to #givefirst. They are learning to leverage startups for innovation. And when they get it, when they start thinking long term in the context of startups… it’s pure magic.

 

This post was originally published on David’s blog

 








Funding and M&A Activity Across the Techstars Ecosystem

Third quarter brought some exciting funding news for Techstars companies!

Congratulations to:

Here are the companies that have recently received significant investments!  

remitly

Remitly (Seattle ‘11), a mobile payments service that enables convenient international money transfers from a customer’s mobile phone in the USA to a mobile phone abroad, secured yet another $38.5M.

pillpack

PillPack (Boston ‘13), an online pharmacy that delivers better care through simple packaging, modern technology and personalized service, raised $31.1M to take on pharmacies.

fullcontact

FullContact (Boulder ‘11), the company that provides a cloud-based contact management solution for businesses, developers and individuals, raised $25M in August.

distilnetworks

Distil Networks (Cloud ‘12), announced a $21M series C. Distil Networks is the global leader in Bot detection and mitigation, offering the first SaaS solution focused on stopping automated attacks.

gospotcheck

GoSpotCheck (Boulder ‘11), the company that supplies brands with real-time insights into their in-store merchandising through a mobile app, raised $16.5M to expand their Denver HQ.

postquantum

Post-Quantum (Barclays UK ‘15), raised a $10.3M series A round in July. Post-Quantum deals with cyber security for today and the post quantum computing future.

promoboxx

Promoboxx (Boston ‘11), is a brand-to-retailer marketing platform that allows brands to launch co-branded, customized online campaigns with their retailers. Promoboxx raised $8.2M series A in September.

codeship

Codeship (Boston ‘13), raised $7M to continue to accelerate their business to reach even larger customers. Codeship helps teams ship better software faster by automating the release process.

truefacet

TrueFacet (Seattle ‘14), is the online jewelry marketplace where you can shop and sell branded jewelry and watches with confidence. They recently announced a $6M series A.

livelike

LiveLike (NYC ‘15), the company that developed a sports viewing platform that leverages VR to bring live stadium experiences to fans’ living rooms, recently raised $5M.

kepler

Kepler (Seattle ‘16), recently raised a $5M seed round to develop and operate a network of 50 nanosatellites to allow customer spacecraft to communicate with each other and the ground in real-time, regardless of their current orbital position.

bitfinder

Bitfinder (R/GA ‘15), the company that built Awair, a device that monitors indoor air quality, analyzes it and provides solutions based on users’ wellness needs like allergy, sleep and productivity, recently raised $4.5M.

livestories

LiveStories (Seattle ‘14), announced a $3M seed round. LiveStories empowers non-technical people with a simple data discovery and presentation tool that allows easy construction of data-rich content, all without writing a single line of code.

bison

Bison (Boston ‘12), a financial technology company delivering software for analyzing private fund data, recently raised a $3M seed round.

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-3-59-03-pm

Reflect (Seattle ‘16), a data visualization service that is reinventing how companies build and distribute analytics, recently raised a $2.5M seed round.

aire

Aire (Barclays UK ‘14), is a fresh approach to credit scoring for consumers, enabling fair access for those cut out of the credit ecosystem. Aire secured $2M in funding in October.

shyft

Shyft (Seattle ‘16), raised $1.5M in July. Shyft is an app that makes lives easier for retail and service workers around the world, by helping them communicate and manage their work life in one central place.

Don’t miss your chance to join a Techstars accelerator program – Applications close October 15. Apply today.








Ask David Cohen: When is the Right Time to Apply to an Accelerator?

We recently held an AMA with Techstars’ Co-CEO, David Cohen, where he answered commonly asked questions from founders about topics such as forming a team, developing an MVP and applying to an accelerator program.

This post is the fifth in a series of five which includes a transcript of David’s answers to these questions in this AMA. To sign up for our next AMA, check out the schedule here!

I am in the middle of building out my prototype and I want to apply to an accelerator. The longer I wait to apply, the more functional my prototype will be. Based on that, should I apply as late as possible? Why or why not?  

My general advice on this is apply as early as you can. Apply the minute that you know you want to. The reason for that is because of the multiple touchpoints and experiences you can have with the selection group that is selecting the companies. I’m part of that group usually later in the process, when we have it down to about 20 or 30 companies that we are looking at for the 10 or so that will get in.

There is a group of people that are going through those applications early, screening them and filtering them. It’s not “yes or no”, it’s, “that’s interesting, I’d like to learn more.”

As you update the application through the application system (F6S), we get those updates and we see the progress. My friend Mark Suster wrote a great blog post a long time ago that I refer to all the time called, Invest in Lines, Not Dots. That means, as investors, you are trying to see progress over time and have multiple experiences with an entrepreneur or with a company before you have to make a decision.

Don’t think of it as a snapshot in time, think of it as a relationship that you build throughout the application process, and apply early.

 

Interested in meeting other entrepreneurs and getting a head start on your own entrepreneurial journey? Check out a Startup Weekend near you or apply to an accelerator program.

At Techstars, we fully believe in the idea that no one is “too far along” for Techstars. Inversely, nothing is too early. Techstars has a program for every step of the entrepreneurial journey – from startup programs like Startup Digest, Startup Week, Startup Weekend and Startup Next to later stage offerings, including the accelerator program and venture capital for add-on funding.