Date and Venues
It’s important to pick a date for your Techstars Startup Week that doesn’t conflict with other events that might attract the same audience, or a date that falls near or on holidays (religious or otherwise).
Checking local / regional tech event calendars and online event sites — scheduling your Startup Week after another large entrepreneurial or tech event can often drive more participation. If you decide to do this, reach out to the event organizers and ask if you can cross-promote each other's events.
Checking local community calendars, including for events that might affect local traffic and parking.
Checking holiday and religious calendars.
Checking educational institution’s calendars — check dates of exams and large sporting events.
Consulting your Techstars community support contact to discuss potential dates based on past events, where applicable.
Having a first or second choice date for your event so that you can be flexible when facing unforeseen obstacles. This may be a community tech event being moved to your first choice date, or your basecamp of choice venue not being available.
Securing venues should be high priority once you have been approved to run a Startup Week. As the cost of hiring a venue can be high, we strongly recommend finding sponsored venues.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering a venue:
Cost: Try to secure all venues with in-kind sponsorship. Be sure to ask venues about associated costs like security fees, A/V and tech support fees, facilities service fees, insurance policies, and catering contracts before signing anything. A ‘free’ venue with a high security fee and/or an exclusivity contract with an expensive catering company can end up costing a lot.
Size: Estimate how many participants you’ll have at each event. Then, add your volunteers and other event staff, mentors, panelists, etc. to your estimate to come up with an average venue size.
Locations: All locations should be easily accessible by all, via personal or public transportation. Venues with free parking is preferable, and there should always be accessible parking. Make sure that you share this information with attendees and event staff/support via email and on your event website.
Wi-Fi: Make sure that there is enough bandwidth. A general rule of thumb is to have an absolute minimum of 5mbps down and 1mbps up. Talk to each venue about these details.
Access Hours: Make sure the venues will be open from the time you need to get an event set up to the time you need to be there to clean and break an event down. Make sure you get all venues’ access information and that you have a contact number for all your venue liaisons, including confirmation of their availability throughout the event.
Furniture: There should be enough tables/chairs distributed throughout the space to accommodate everything happening at the event. There should be tables for food, beverages, and snacks as well as registration (if applicable). Having a stage or a raised area for presenters/speakers/panelists will allow for a better overall experience. If you need to rent additional tables or chairs, remember to factor that into your event budget and consult your logistics lead.
Audio Visual Equipment: For presentations or panels, you’ll need A/V equipment like a projector and a sound system with microphones. Ideally, your venue will have this already, but you can also rent this equipment. Make sure all equipment is tested prior to the event and that you have dedicated ‘tech support’ or tech volunteers there during the week. It’s good practice to bring a few extra audio/visual laptop adaptors.
Temperature: Check with the venue to see if you will have access to the air-conditioning or heating system, or if you can have the contact details of someone who can adjust this for you.
Kitchen Area: Ideally, your venue should have a small kitchen area with a sink and refrigerator. These areas should be kept clean and tidy at all times, and trash should be removed frequently throughout the event. Try to make your event as sustainable as possible by reducing the amount of waste produced. Attendees are typically delighted to hear that the organizing team is mindful of sustainability!
Restrooms: Make sure that there are enough restrooms and that there is an accessible restroom. Check with your venue contact to make sure they are accessible throughout the entire event. Having a conversation about the frequency of restroom cleaning by facilities services during the week is also recommended.
Security: The safety and security of attendees and everyone else involved during Startup Week should be a top priority. Ask your venue contact about security protocol, availability, and best practices. Cover this during your venue walk-through.
Food delivery and setup space: You’ll be responsible for food and beverage predominantly at basecamp. Make sure there’s easy access for deliveries and a space to set up snacks and food. You should start sourcing catering at around two months out from your event, communicating the option for in-kind sponsoring. Catering for basecamp usually includes supplies for the welcoming and post-event celebrations, breakfasts, happy hours, and other networking events during the week
Types of venues
Coworking Spaces: Coworking and shared spaces are typically well-equipped with tables, chairs, breakout spaces, restrooms, a kitchen, and power outlets. They are usually able to accommodate a large number of people and have flexible access, security, and use of space. The venue provider is often willing to donate the space in exchange for community recognition.
Corporate (or Startup) Office Space: Corporate offices often have large event spaces. Corporations are often happy to sponsor space since this allows them to support local entrepreneurship and innovation. A local startup could also be a great venue, and they might be keen to get further involved by mentoring or leading a workshop.
Local Public or Government Buildings: Community centers and libraries, especially large city libraries, often have space available for community events. Local economic development programs may have access to community spaces, and some cities have innovation hubs that can be used over the week.
Universities: Universities tend to have open classrooms which make a good venue. The challenge with universities is balancing the classroom schedule and availability. Given the educational angle of TSWK, engineering or business schools tend to be a good fit. They could even become a sponsor. Be aware that universities may sometimes give away a space without a venue fee, but may charge for A/V use.
Event Venues and Hotels: Hotels and event-specific venues usually have dedicated staff to support with A/V, Wi-Fi, security, and facilities. However, the cost is typically high and availability is often limited.
Techstars Startup Week is always open to all, and events should be accessible by all. Plan ahead to support anyone with a disability and provide contact information on the event registration page, inviting individuals with disabilities to make their concerns known.
Wheelchairs: Your site should be accessible to those in wheelchairs. A rule of thumb is that they will need one yard / one meter of aisle to move around. Clearly demarcate a wheelchair spot in the front row, near an aisle so that they can freely move around. For speakers or panelists, if you have a stage, ensure that the wheelchair has easy access or avoid the stage altogether.
Visual Impairment: There are many types of visual impairment ranging from color blindness, to partial visual, to total vision loss. Your event should be accessible to the visually impaired. We recommend picking a venue with clear, straight aisles with room for walking aids. Avoid room layout changes during the event and consider transcribing presentations.
Auditory Impairment: For those with auditory impairments, consider hiring a translator for presentations. Many communities will subsidize the cost of translators for this kind of event. Ensure a clear line of sight to presentations to facilitate lip reading, transcribe videos, and ensure closed-captioning is enabled. Many video-hosting platforms enable transcription upon upload.
Other Disabilities: There are many invisible disabilities including anxiety disorders, PTSD, learning disabilities, and epilepsy. Consider having a quiet room for those that might need an area to decompress.
Certificate of Liability Insurance request
If your event venue requires a Liability Insurance Certificate, please download and complete the request form below.
You can download and complete the form electronically or print the form and scan the completed form to send to our third party insurance company (HUB International Insurance Services Inc). If all required information is filled in correctly, you should receive your certificate within 24 working hours.
Required fields to be completed:
Requested By: Your first and last name
Date: Date of the request
E‐mail Address or Fax: Your email address
Coverages Required on Certificate: Select the appropriate coverage. Techstars carries multiple policies through HUB. If the COI (Certificate of Insurance) requests are coming from landlords/ venue providers, they mostly would want to see proof of insurance of General Liability, Property, Auto, Umbrella, WC.
Certificate Holder Information: Event’s Venue/ landlord name and address
Job Description and/or Job Number: Official Techstars event name, date and venue name.
Send Certificate to:
Email address: Only fill this in if the email address is different from the requestor address provided above
Mail: Requester’s (your) postal address for a hard copy of the certificate.
You must attach the insurance section of your contract (venue agreement) with the venue and submit it along with the completed form.
Form Submission Instructions
If the form requires more information, the insurance company will reach out to the requester email address (your email address) directly.
Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or concerns.
Startup Week Online Virtual Venue
You don't need to find physical venues for your online event but you will have to decide on the platforms or tech tools you'll be using to craft a GREAT experience for your attendees, speakers, sponsors and volunteers. See Online event tools section for more details.