The Techstars Risingstars program extends technology company startup opportunities to demographic groups that are currently underrepresented in the technology startup community. We are working to create new opportunities for a larger audience of entrepreneurs by building relationships with selected applicants and our alumni network. The Risingstars program is a highly selective entrepreneurship mentoring program that pairs individual high quality underrepresented entrepreneurs with individual Techstars alumni to help them develop the entrepreneur’s vision into a viable company. At the culmination of the mentorship process, the entrepreneur’s company applies to any one of the Techstars locations with hands on assistance from their alumni mentor. Acceptance into Techstars is not guaranteed. Companies that are not accepted into Techstars have the opportunity to re-apply to a Techstars program after additional mentoring or apply to other high quality accelerators. The alumni mentor assists the entrepreneurs with this entire process, in an effort to maximize their chance of long term success.
Requirements to Apply
- Must be an underrepresented entrepreneur.
- Must be starting a company that is creating a technology-oriented product (consultancies are not accepted).
Why is Techstars doing this?
Techstars recognizes that there are some demographic groups that are underrepresented among technology startup founders. The goal of Risingstars is to extend technology company startup opportunities to demographic groups that are currently underrepresented in the technology startup community.
What are the benefits of the Risingstars Program?
As an entrepreneur participant in the Risingstars program, you are paired with a successful Techstars alumnus who will be your mentor. This mentor will work to help you develop your vision into a high caliber company.
Who are the mentors?
The mentors are Techstars alumni who have started successful companies. They have gone through the Techstars application process and the actual rigors of a Techstars program. These are highly motivated individuals who are emotionally invested in seeing your company succeed.
If I’m selected, how often will I meet with my alumni mentor?
About once a month, virtually. You will also communicate regularly by email.
How long is the mentorship period?
The mentorship period lasts for a maximum period of one year. Mentorship can last less than a year if the entrepreneur and the mentor agree that the entrepreneur’s company is ready for application to one of the Techstars programs before the full year is complete. We are limiting the mentorship period to a year because we want to make our alumni available to other up and coming entrepreneurs.
Do I have to move to another city to receive mentoring?
No, you don’t have to go anywhere. Our mentors will use all the technology tools available (email, chats, video) to communicate with you from where you are. It’s a virtual experience, but you will meet in person occasionally.
Upon completion of the Risingstars program, am I automatically accepted into the Techstars program?
No. Participating in Risingstars does not guarantee acceptance into Techstars.
What happens if I don’t get into Techstars?
That’s okay. While this is the ultimate goal of Risingstars, your choices are to re-apply to a Techstars program or to any other program, and your alumni mentor will help guide you through this decision.
How much does it cost?
Does Techstars provide me with funding during the mentorship period?
No. Techstars will not provide an entrepreneur with any funding during the Risingstars mentorship period.
Does Techstars get equity in my company in exchange for mentoring?
No. Techstars does not seek any equity in your company in exchange for mentoring. Techstars only gets equity from companies that are accepted into a Techstars program.
Where do I apply?
You can apply to be accepted into the Risingstars Program here. Applicants are selected on a rolling basis so apply right away for the best chance to be accepted. We expect this to be very competitive!
Tom Chikoore is the Director of the Risingstars program at Techstars. He was the CTO and co-founder of Filtrbox, a 2007 Techstars company, which was acquired by Jive Software, and has now devoted to living his life in the startup lane. With Tom’s leadership, the Risingstars program extends technology company startup opportunities to demographic groups that are currently underrepresented in the technology startup community.