Frequently Asked Questions
Note: See our application FAQ if you have questions about the application process.
How much funding do Techstars companies receive?
You get $118,000 in seed investment upon acceptance into Techstars for 7-10% equity in your company. You also have access to great perks such as free hosting and services, sponsored meals, office space with the other teams, and more. There is immeasurable value in the connections and advice that you’ll receive when you start your company with Techstars, and also in the opportunity to pitch to angel investors and venture capitalists at the end of the program during our Investor and Demo Day. Historically, Techstars companies go on to average more than $2.0M raised in outside capital after the program. See the detailed results.
What sorts of companies do you fund?
We fund technology oriented companies, typically these are web-based or other software companies, but we’ve funded companies that don’t quite fit that mold as well. We’re also looking for companies that can have national or worldwide reach. Specifically, we don’t fund biotechnology companies, restaurants, consultancies, or other local service oriented companies.
Do you fund companies that are competitive with each other?
Not in the same class/program, but sometimes otherwise, yes.
Why does Techstars need and want stock in my new company?
Like you, we’re entrepreneurs. We think that the value of the learning, networking, and coaching provided by the program is of tremendous value. The Techstars program will provide you with the healthiest possible start and greatly improve your chances for success and sustainability. Once we invest, we’re motivated to help you succeed by introducing you to people who can help, assisting you with strategy, finding more investors, and generally helping you to succeed. That’s a good deal for both of us.
Who are the most notable Techstars companies?
There are too many to name and more great companies being added every year, but you might want to check out Digital Ocean, Localytics, Sendgrid, Contently, Occipital, Next Big Sound, Kapost, Orbotix, FullContact, Simple Energy, Mocavo, GrabCAD, Kinvey, Placester, Crowdtwist, OnSwipe, Everymove, Remitly, Remotive, Cloudability, Distil Networks, Moveline, Pivotdesk, Revolv, Coachup, Pillpack, and Plated.
Is my company “too far along” to apply to Techstars?
Probably not. We’ve had companies start with $1M+ in revenue (here’s their blog post) and $1M+ in funding (read about it). We’ve had companies start with fully developed products and we helped them with business model, introductions, financing, and more. Likewise, nothing is too early. We’ve accepted companies with no more than an idea, a dream, and maybe a dog. Do the work. Ask any past founder by contacting them at founders@ their domain name – they’ll be happy to answer any questions that you might have. Also see our post featuring some of these companies, You’re Never Too Far Along for Techstars.
After I apply, I’m thinking of emailing many of the mentors to get them interested in what I’m doing. Good idea?
No. We receive thousands of applications per year, which is why we have an application process. Systematically emailing some or all of our mentors in order to try to influence them before being accepted into the program will hurt you more than it will help you (because they’ll complain about it to us). The mentors are dedicated to helping the companies that we select, but are not a part of the selection process. Please don’t bombard them with emails.
Can I stop by your office to say hello?
Please don’t stop by our offices without an appointment. This is not a good example of persistence on your part and it will negatively influence your application. We are happy to consider taking an appointment, so please contact us instead.
Do I have to be there for the entire 3 month period?
No. It’s your company so you can come and go as you see fit. But we do require that you be primarily based on site during the program. This benefits you because you can take advantage of the numerous learning opportunities, networking and coaching that will be provided. Techstars is a major commitment, and we expect you to be around most of the time.
Do I have to stay in that city when the program ends after 3 months?
No. It’s your company, so you’ll live where you want to.
Can I apply if our company or founders are not from the USA? Can you help with Visa/immigration issues?
Yes. Anyone from anywhere can apply, and we’ve funded many non-US companies in the past. You do have to be legally in the U.S. during the program, of course. Once accepted, we can help with legal/immigration issues by leveraging our contacts and network to help. However, we cannot help with them in advance of acceptance to Techstars.
What else does Techstars provide? Office space, internet, legal, hosting, etc?
We provide working and meeting spaces, as well as a nice lounge all with super fast and reliable wireless Internet access. Still, many of our founders choose to work from their apartments or local coffee shops. It’s up to you. Here’s a full list of perks that Techstars companies automatically receive, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Basically, we’ll help you get everything covered with minimal expense. We just want you to focus on creating a great product while you’re here, and not have to worry about all this other stuff.
How can we get funded after Techstars ends?
We provide the seed funding to get you going, but you may well need more funding to really make it. Near the end of the three month program, we’ll organize an Investor Demo Day where angel investors and venture capitalists from all over the country will check out your technology and listen to your pitch. Usually we have about 200 investors there. We’ll coach you so you’re as effective as possible, and do everything we can do help get you follow on funding. We may also fund your company further ourselves in some situations. So far, about 75% companies have received follow on funding and/or immediately became profitable after Techstars ended. The average Techstars companies raises more than $2M after demo day.
What sort of control am I giving up by granting equity to Techstars?
Techstars wants to be viewed as a co-founder. In a nutshell, we don’t want any special or controlling interests in your company. We won’t ask for a board seat or for any uncommon investor rights. You will still run the show.
I’m a single founder. Can I get accepted into Techstars, or do you only look for teams?
While we don’t screen applications just because they have a single founder, it does make things more difficult. We look for great, balanced teams who have a full range of skills. We strongly advise you to seek co-founders who balance your skillset. For example, if you’re a strong developer, you might consider adding someone with business and/or marketing experience. If you’re a great business evangelist with no developer, it’s very unlikely we’ll accept you into the program, so go find a rock star developer to join you. Also, check out Hackstars as a way of getting into Techstars without a team (it’s not a good way to find co-founders, look at the next question for that).
How can I find a co-founder to apply to Techstars with?
Where will we live while we’re there?
That’s up to you – we don’t provide a place to live. If you’re accepted into Techstars, we immediately assign someone on our end to help you find housing. It hasn’t been much of a problem for past founders.
How do you choose which companies to accept into the program and to fund?
We will choose great founders who are proposing products that solve real problems or create meaningful innovations. For us, it’s about the team. Because of this reason, we’re less likely to accept single founder companies. The best things you can do to strengthen your application are:
– Round out your team with business, technical, and other necessary skills.
– Make progress on your prototype or product and reference it in the application.
– Show us you’ve really thought about your business and have gotten off your butt to do something about it.
Is my age a factor in your selection process?
When will I hear back about my application?
We try our best to notify applicants at least 1 month before program.
Do I need to send in a business plan?
Nope. Just fill out the informal online application – that’s all you need for us. In fact, we probably don’t want to see your business plan if you have one.
When is the deadline to apply and what’s the overall timeline?
Check the schedule for details. We encourage applicants to submit by the early deadline so we have more time to get to know your team. It also allows you more time to demonstrate progress and traction during the application process. Once you have submitted, you can’t edit the fields. That’s okay! You can always add notes, video URLs, and progress details in the notes section.
Do I have to work out of the Techstars office?
No. We do provide you with space, but it’s up to you because it’s your company. Techstars locations are fully equipped and have both traditional and lounge-like space. You don’t have to work from the Techstars space unless you want to. We do believe there is a great deal of value in being in the space because the other companies and mentors interacting there present a great opportunity.
What will a typical day be like for a Techstars founder?
It’s your company, so you’ll be hard at work on your product. You can choose to work out of the Techstars office if you’d like, or you can work anywhere else that you might prefer. About two or three nights a week, we’ll organize informal educational sessions with our mentors. We also expect many of the mentors to drop in to Techstars at various times throughout the program. In general though, you’ll be working on your product each day, just like all of the other founders in the program. We don’t tell you what to do or when, but we create an environment that is conducive to helping your startup every day. And we’ll make sure you have lots of experienced mentors around to help you. Watch The Founders, which consists of brief episodes that follow three teams through the program.
Can I apply if I’m not from the United States?
Yes. As long as you and your team can be in the USA legally for the duration of the three month program, please do. We have accepted overseas founders in the past and love getting applications from all over the globe.
I’m concerned that if I apply, you won’t protect my intellectual property. Should I be worried about this?
We’re certainly not in the business of stealing ideas, and we treat application data as confidential information. Each year, we see thousands of applications and many of them include similar ideas. For this and other practical reasons, please don’t ask us to sign an NDA. Our application does not ask for your “secret sauce” and there is no reason you have to disclose this to us if you’re not comfortable doing so. We hope that our reputation speaks for itself on this topic.
I don’t have an idea yet, but I’m a strong developer or designer looking for a great opportunity. Does Techstars have a way to help me?
Yes, it’s called Hackstars.
Do you ever offer internships to people interested in Techstars?
Yes, apply to be an Associate. You can cross-apply to multiple program locations as well.
My team outsources software development. Are we still qualified to apply?
Yes. We think it’s best not to outsource what you are, but it obviously works in some cases. We’re happy to consider any application. Just remember that we’re primarily focused on the team.