The Program

TechStars Blog

25th July 2012

TechStars: Thoughts on Seed-DB.com

Jed Christiansen recently released Seed DB, a database of seed accelerators and their companies. We encouraged him to use the data from our statistics page, which is powered by Crunchbase. We are pleased to see that he is doing the same; a number of fields on Seed-DB are pulled from Crunchbase as well. That said, if a company hasn’t updated their information on Crunchbase, it won’t appear accurately on Seed-DB. Jed also includes a few disclaimers in his footer, “Seed-DB doesn’t currently show company valuations. There are fantastic companies that have taken little or no funding and are massively successful. These companies wouldn’t show up properly using the data available. A better valuation analysis is on the roadmap,” as well as, “The most prominent programs are largely complete, but there are some programs and many companies still missing.”

We’ve been calling for transparency from seed accelerators for some time now. Last year, we even opened up the process that powers our own statistics so that other accelerators could easily use it just by hosting a simple text file containing their portfolio companies. I really want to encourage Jed to adopt this file format for Seed-DB, since it is already in use by other accelerators. This way, Jed doesn’t have to try to maintain the list of companies that went through each program – they can do it themselves.

Of course, there are issues with this kind of data. Just be aware of what you’re looking at and focus on what matters. The average funding (or better yet, median and/or mean) are better indicators than “total funding,” which is more of a quantity metric than a quality metric. It’s also important to remember that exit and funding dynamics are indexed by time. For example, TechStars Cloud is a very new program and many of the companies are still raising money. Some of the companies in these metrics are barely out of the program, and fundraising takes time. Obviously exits take even more time.

We applaud that Seed-DB is pulling in more data than just exclusive success by volume. As of right now, the total amount raised by the 163 previous TechStars classes is $197,644,305 for 163 previous companies, averaging $1.2M per company. We have always emphasized quality over quantity, which is why our classes for each program remain small at around 10 companies per program. It’s the reason we continue to have a high mentor to company ratio. We want to pay attention to every startup we fund and treat them like family. We’re very selective. Although thousands of companies apply each year, we only invest our money and time in about ten companies per program location, and currently have an acceptance rate of about 1% of applicants.

When it comes to data like this, remember that you can always access our complete data here. It’s the most up-to-date information on TechStars companies. Thanks to Jed for his efforts to help entrepreneurs better understand their options. It’s great to see more data become available.