By Jason Abromaitis, Techstars Product Manager
As a serial entrepreneur who has braved the fundraising process, I know firsthand the challenges founders face when seeking capital to bring their visions to life. It is for that reason that 1 year ago I joined Techstars as the Product Manager for Techstars Universe, the platform for Techstars founders to tap into the benefits of being a Techstars company. But that platform lacked ways to activate our network to support each other, so we got right to work building the most important way that our network could support founders — by providing the strongest possible introduction paths to investors.
Drawing from my personal experiences as a Techstars alum, I will explain how this innovative tool can transform the fundraising process, making it more efficient, effective, and successful.
Entrepreneurs and founders often pour their heart and soul into their ventures, working tirelessly to develop groundbreaking solutions. However, securing the necessary funding to bring these ideas to fruition can be an uphill battle. Lack of access to the right networks, limited visibility, and overwhelming competition make the fundraising journey a daunting task for many.
Techstars companies have always had an edge in this battle because early-stage venture investors know that Techstars companies perform at a higher rate than the market. That performance is due to several factors: the quality of the companies we accept (with a lower acceptance rate than any Ivy League school), the wisdom gained and mentorship received through the time spent in an accelerator, and the support of our network through the entire journey. Despite all the reasons why fundraising should be easier for our founders, they’ve still had to go through largely the same laborious process as every other entrepreneur. They’ve started with building a lead list using tools like Crunchbase or Pitchbook, shared that list with friends and scoured social media to find someone they know who can introduce them to those investors, reshuffled their lives around times that work for investors to schedule meetings (“Sure, I’m free at 5 am next Sunday”), and then brought the same enthusiasm for small talk about each investor’s local sports team in possibly hundreds of pitch meetings.
To be clear, there is a signal for investors in the demonstration of grit that this process reveals. But there are parts of the process where Techstars can provide an edge over other CRMs or Kanban boards (even with some designed specifically for fundraising) — our network.
The true strength of Techstars Universe lies in the unparalleled reach and influence of the Techstars network. With more than 2,500 mentors, 10,000 alumni, and 600 corporate partners, the Techstars network spans across the globe, representing a diverse range of industries and expertise. By tapping into this extensive network, founders gain access to a wealth of knowledge, guidance, and potential investors who are actively seeking investment opportunities. This network is the killer feature of our new fundraising platform on Techstars Universe, "TULIP."
Let’s address the elephant in the room — why ‘limitless’? Well, we really liked the acronym TULIP and there’s really no other L word that works well (‘Lead’ is confusing in the investment context).
TULIP’s mission is simple: to empower founders by getting them connected to the most relevant investors in the expansive Techstars network.
This platform is not just another directory of investors or spreadsheet; it is a curated directory of 13,000 investors who have invested in Techstars companies before, a CRM for founders to track leads, LLM-enabled tools to help with messaging for intro paths to make connections, and a social graph for founders to get connected to each investor through our network. This platform is exclusively available to our current and former entrepreneurs and just launched for our March cohorts.
In a world where fundraising can make or break a startup's future, TULIP emerges as a beacon of hope for founders. By leveraging the power of the Techstars network and utilizing its sophisticated algorithm, this platform provides founders with the strongest possible introduction paths to investors. With Techstars Universe, founders can navigate the fundraising landscape with greater confidence, efficiency, and success. If you want to raise easier than the market, apply to join our next wave of accelerator programs by filling out an application.
How Techstars Universe Works
Techstars Universe operates on a sophisticated algorithm that analyzes vast amounts of data to identify the most suitable investors for a founder's specific needs. This algorithm considers various factors, including the founder's industry, stage of development, geographic location, and specific investment criteria. By leveraging this data-driven approach, Techstars Universe provides founders with a personalized list of investors who are genuinely interested in their ventures.
Jason Abromaitis is a Techstars alum and repeat founder with a wealth of experience in the startup ecosystem (and per his LinkedIn, a ‘kinda tall guy’). As a passionate entrepreneur, he understands the challenges founders face when seeking funding. Through this blog post, Jason aims to empower founders with the knowledge and tools they need to thrive in the fundraising journey.