How to Successfully Apply to Techstars: Unraveling the Application Process

Mar 08, 2024

Techstars is known worldwide for its remarkable accelerator programs aimed at supporting startups as they scale their business. Navigating the application process is an integral first step in your Techstars journey, yet it can feel quite daunting.

This step-by-step guide is designed to demystify the process, increasing your chances of being selected. Detailed below is a breakdown of each section of the application, providing context, tips, and what to expect.

Watch the video below to get application tips directly from Tim Dorr, managing director of Techstars Atlanta Powered by Cox Enterprises and Techstars Impact Powered by Cox Enterprises, and Alisha Golden, Investment Manager at Techstars Toronto Accelerator.

The Techstars Application Process

Applying to a Techstars program is more than just a way to be evaluated, it's a unique opportunity for startup founders to get a comprehensive understanding of their business. Structured as a series of questions, the application process provides a platform for entrepreneurs to communicate their business ideas effectively and concisely, setting the foundation for a successful startup. 

Begin by providing an overview of your business in the application. Keep it simple, summarizing the primary components of your business, such as what you do and who it is geared toward. As for the tagline, remember, simplicity is key.

Showcasing Your Startup's Progress

This section of the application focuses on the progress your startup has made to date. Here, you will provide details on your startup's revenue, traction, and strategy. While it might be tempting to overstate your revenue or underplay your competitors, honesty is always the best policy. Techstars values transparency and resilience, so be upfront about your state of affairs, even if you're pre-revenue. 

Your Team

Techstars is interested in knowing the team behind the venture. With basic information about your team, your application should highlight your dedication to the business. Remember, participating in a Techstars program requires a significant time investment. Balancing other full-time engagements while participating in the program would be challenging. 

In the case of solo founders, we will always welcome you to apply, but it is important to factor in the demanding structure of the program. Having co-founders or team members can significantly balance the workload, increasing your chances of success. Still, if you are determined to go at it alone, Techstars has a robust support system to help you along the way.

Assessing Market Size and Competition

Understanding your market and competition is essential. As part of the application, demonstrate how well acquainted you are with your market size, existing competitors, competitive advantage, and why your product or service is critical in the current market. Remember to be specific in your explanations. 

Program Preference Selection

In this step, you will need to choose between the programs you wish to attend. You will have a primary and secondary choice. Picking the right accelerator program that aligns with your startup's focus will put your application on a program's radar. Your primary choice program gets a first look at your application, and if you don't get into that program, you can go back into your application and select another program.

Pro tip: Fill everything out even if it's "optional" as this gives the program teams a good impression of you as a founder for going the extra mile. And if you have any unique circumstances, ensure you communicate them early.


The Techstars application process is not merely a one-way evaluation; it offers a chance for self-appraisal and reflection. Stay honest throughout the process, whether it entails pivoting your company, understanding your market, or detailing the state of your startup. Sure, you might encounter a rejection, but every no gets you one step closer to a yes, so keep pressing on! You are just an application away from transforming your startup's trajectory. 

Additional Resources

Think you’re ready to apply? View our available accelerators here and get started on your application at