Techstars’ Evolution and Transformation

Apr 25, 2024

By Maëlle Gavet, CEO of Techstars

Since our founding, Techstars has been on a mission to invest in exceptional entrepreneurs with great ideas while supporting them to grow those ideas into world-changing businesses. In our 17 years, we’ve experienced every market cycle - the good times and the bad - and our mission has remained steadfast. The current market hasn’t changed this either.

Techstars is certainly not immune to external factors such as high interest rates and muted M&A and IPO markets. That said, we continue to take steps to ensure we are the best partner to the people and companies we invest in, while also identifying and supporting new founders and companies. And we continue to see positive results. How do we measure this? Here are some recent numbers:

  • Between January 2023 and the end of March 2024, more than 530 Techstars portfolio companies raised over $2.7B. 

    • More than 375 of these companies raised rounds over $1M. 

  • To that end, founders who have gone through a Techstars program are more likely to raise additional capital within 3 years of their graduation than those attending any other global accelerator, according to Pitchbook. 

  • Founders in 2023 rated the Techstars program a 9 out of 10 for providing business value (one of our key KPIs we measure as a company).

  • Our Portfolio Services team facilitated more than 5,000 meetings between our post-accelerator CEOs and potential investors in 2023. 

  • Techstars partnerships continue to expand and include prominent companies from the Fortune 500 and FTSE100 as well as world-class universities and economic development organizations and agencies.

  • The more than 4,000 companies in our portfolio have created an estimated 150,000 - 200,000 jobs. 

  • Techstars has been the most active pre-seed investor in the world in 2022 and 2023 and will continue to deploy more early-stage capital in 2024 than last year. 

  • We have a strong commitment to sourcing the best founders and we invest in the best companies without the bias, pattern-matching, and gatekeeping spirit that has been perpetuated for years in venture. This is baked into everything we do and is evident in the data we publish annually on our website. We cannot be the best and largest pre-seed investor if we do not reflect the world we live in.

Importantly, we are focused on getting even better. We are evolving our business to adapt to the changing venture landscape and the dynamic needs of founders. We are becoming more systematic in the way we deliver consistency and value to our founders while remaining focused on our bottom line. We pride ourselves on being excellent stewards of capital, and we believe that the best returns are generated from the remarkable founders and ideas that come through our programs.

These changes are not easy. We have closed some of our accelerator programs, while at the same time opening others that enable us to invest in more high-potential companies than ever before. We have made some leadership changes bringing in talent from a broad range of industries together. We have managed costs at a time when venture realizations have impacted every VC in this sector. Just as any investor expects their portfolio companies to shift in tumultuous markets, we hold ourselves to the same standard so that we can be the best partner.

Techstars Chairman of the Board and co-founder David Cohen put it succinctly: “We are evolving our strategy and business with one clear objective in mind - strengthening our ability to invest in the best startups and their founders. We are leveraging 17 years of data and the experience that comes from investing in more than 4,000 startups, to help more founders succeed.”

I would like to invite anyone reading this to ask questions to learn more about our team, our business, our partnerships and how we are building for the future so we can continue investing in unstoppable entrepreneurs. If you're a founder, join one of our online AMAs to learn more about how Techstars could be right for you. If you’re an investor, come to one of our demo days and see the companies we’re investing in. I also invite you to join me on May 20th at 1:30pm EST for a live Q&A.

And if you want to share how Techstars positively impacted you, send us an email, we'd love to hear from you.

We are building Techstars for the future and I look forward to having you aboard.