Techstars connects entrepreneurs to the best global ecosystem of community leaders, founders, mentors, investors and corporate partners who work together to create a worldwide network of entrepreneurial support.
The strength of our network is even stronger thanks to the shared commitment of our partners, which is why I am proud to announce that Google for Entrepreneurs and Techstars are expanding our partnership.
As the global sponsor of Startup Weekend, Google for Entrepreneurs extends its commitment of these inspiring programs — which have grown to provide an immersive experience into entrepreneurship and innovative thinking — to nearly 70K participants in 120 countries around the world each year.
Building on its support of Techstars’ Startup Programs, Google for Entrepreneurs will expand its support of Techstars’ Accelerator Programs around the globe by connecting founders with Google product teams, Google experts for technical mentoring and valuable offers, such as the Google Cloud Platform for Startups program.
Techstars will continue to be part of the Google for Entrepreneurs Partner Network, which connects us to a community of 50+ partners and 6 Campuses around the world. This network exists as both a refuge and a resource for the entrepreneurs working to grow their startups around the world.
Techstars and Google for Entrepreneurs are working together to:
- Make expert content and mentor resources from Google available to founders participating in Techstars programs
- Equip founders with Google technology and applications to speed development
- Connect founders with working spaces in international locations
- Facilitate more introductions for founders to the global network of Google for Entrepreneurs partners
Finally, we are proud to announce that Google for Entrepreneurs is the first corporate partner to contribute to the Techstars Foundation.
The Techstars Foundation is committed to improving diversity in tech entrepreneurship by investing in organizations with grant money and leveraging the Techstars network to empower these organizations to accelerate their mission forward.
Few organizations put diversity and inclusion at the forefront of their work in the way that Google for Entrepreneurs does, and we’re thrilled to be working with them to change the face of our industry.
As the first corporate partner to contribute, they once again demonstrate their leadership and passion to #givefirst and build a stronger ecosystem.
After tons of hard work and thousands of votes, we have our official top 15 teams for the Champion’s Circle, Powered by Google for Entrepreneurs!
These teams will move on to the formal judging round, in which they will be assessed based on set criteria by a panel of startup experts. Each team is now eligible to win some incredible prizes from Google for Entrepreneurs, including up to $20K match funding in an indiegogo crowd-funding campaign, a trip to Google HQ in San Francisco, mentorship from successful entrepreneurs, and more. Stay tuned for the announcement of the Champion’s Circle winner on December 17th or 18th.
Keepacy | Tehran, Iran – A mobile application which lets you hide data and apps on your phone.
Hacky Sacky | Guatemala – Links family entertainment, personal challenge and physical activity with current technological resources.
Shower Beats | Guatemala – A device that plugs into your shower and connects to your smartphone, allowing you to manage time and save water while listening to your favorite music.
Placetory | Tehran, Iran – A mobile app, which helps you to check the history of places at your current location and see all the historical events in a timeline.
Catsh.in | Halifax – An application which helps electronics consumers save money by tracking the price of the items they have bought and alerting them when the prices goes down.
TruckPad | Brazil – An app that connects the trucker to the cargo.
Morshid | Lebanon – A low cost system for unassisted mobility of visually impaired people.
OpenEats | Taiwan – An application which tells you if your food is safe for you or not.
SUNiT | Ljubljana, Slovenia – Smart sleeping system.
deTENS | Ljubljana, Slovenia – A physiotherapist at your fingertips. Simple, easy, appealing and connected to your smartphone.
Jibbin | Isfahan, Iran – Helps you find the best commodity with your budget.
Pawly | Toronto, Canada – An interactive, digital toy that helps you stay connected with your pet from anywhere.
Opp.io | Budapest, Hungary – A new communication protocol that blends text messaging with task and project management.
GiftyMifty | Tabriz, Iran – An application that lets your friends know what you want and lets them buy it themselves or as a collective group.
Wuu Games | Prishtina, Kosovo – A group of students from Kosovo, bringing cross-platform 3D games with amazing game-play, great design and a storyline that you will fall in love with.
iTravey | Aveiro, Portugal – A platform where you can submit your dream travel and have the agencies find you. Get the best deals, no search.
Airstock | Sheffield, United Kingdom – The global marketplace for drone operators to showcase and sell the world’s most unique aerial video footage.
If your team is in the top 15, you can begin working on your indiegogo campaign! Google will be matching funds raised for the winning teams, and a stronger campaign can only help you secure more funds! We recommend teams get started now; even if you don’t end up winning the match-funding, you will have the start of an awesome campaign to help you continue on your startup journey. If you’re ready to get started, use the GSB Campaign Creation Link to begin creating your campaign. The following resources are available to help you as you build:
Recently, we announced our new partnership with Google for Entrepreneurs and our commitment to building a presence in over 1,000 cities in the next three years. As we prepare to double our impact alongside an incredibly influential, global organization, we also consider where we’ve come from and the people who made our early journey possible. In partnering with Google for Entrepreneurs, we are also graduating from our first major supporter – The Kauffman Foundation.
The people at Kauffman believed in our vision from day one in 2009, even when our organization consisted mostly of ideas and goals. Walking in to pitch at Kauffman, we knew it would take a huge leap of faith on their part to listen to a three person team talk about creating entrepreneurs around the world. Luckily, they took a chance on us and our vision, and with their considerable financial support, we not only survived our early days, but surpassed our original goal of reaching 400+ cities in three years. Since then, our team has also grown from three to 47 employees with multiple offices around the world.
“Our founder, Ewing Kauffman, challenged us to be daring, to take calculated risks, and to base our decisions in experience and research,” says Thom Ruhe, vice president of entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation. “Having nurtured and funded Startup Weekend’s growth at such a critical time, getting it through the tough times to now being sustainable, is what the Kauffman Foundation is about. We are privileged to have the opportunity to identify organizations like Startup Weekend to support, continuing Mr. Kauffman’s legacy of entrepreneurial philanthropy.”
I remember the day I first pitched at Kauffman back in 2009; I was challenged with the question: “How will you be sustainable after our grant period?” This question is important and easy to ignore when you’re focused on securing funding or grant support. Remember, partner agreements tend to be finite, and companies should plan accordingly. So while we had just secured a grant, part of that agreement involved dictating what would happen after the grant ended. This may sound harsh, but in reality, it’s critical. I believe that every foundation should maintain some sort of three year investment strategy with new grantees. It challenges the organization to plan with a great level of discipline and focus on sustainable revenue models. In this light, hitting goals and growing are milestones, but every day you take a step closer to the milestone that marks the end of that type of partner relationship. Ultimately, this stipulation forced us to always be looking ahead and planning for sustainability.
One of the greatest challenges for a rapidly growing non profit is finding a balance between the increase in activity and the overhead costs associated with this growth. One of the more significant unexpected costs we didn’t plan for is talent. People are important, and they cost money – salaries, benefits, committed overhead for the team. As you grow, so does every single one of your expenses. Everything from office space, to benefits, to the incredible time investments to ensure everyone is communicating with one another and aligned in their day to day actions. As you achieve your original goals, you inevitably outgrow your original operating costs in a big way. This reality calls for expanded partnership that can accommodate the needs of a mid-size company as opposed to an early-stage startup. As we faced rapid growth, we realized that we were outgrowing our initial partnership, and we would have to find a commitment that could support the increase in our activity. Google for Entrepreneurs, an organization that has always supported our cause, stepped up to take on our next set of challenges with us.
The Kauffman Foundation has always been one of our biggest supporters, and they truly are a part of the UP family. Without support from the Kauffman Foundation, we would not have reached the scaling phase we find ourselves in today. We realize how rare it is for a company to get to this point. It takes a great amount of faith in an early stage company and team with audacious goals. We know some of those goals may have seemed unachievable to others, but Kauffman shared our vision and was there to compliment us where we had gaps – capital and relationships – in the early days.
We are fortunate to be able to look back on our roots and early days with gratitude, knowing that a new partnership was a necessary part of the long-term goals that Kauffman established with us. Like a savvy early-stage investor, they knew they were our working capital as we found product-market fit. Today, we are fortunate to have partners ready to fund our progress as we scale – and we remember our crucial partners who got us off the ground.
Want to become a part of our next milestone? Get involved with UP programs in your area.