Facilitator FAQ

Before the Weekend

Q: How long do I have to wait to hear back after applying to become a facilitator? 

A: We aim to get back to every applicant within 72 business hours excluding major regional public holidays. If you’ve not heard anything back within 72 hours, please feel free to reach out to us at help@techstars.com

Q: I have some questions before I apply. 

A: We’d love to talk with you more and answer any questions you might have. Please contact us at help@techstars.com and tell us how we can help, or feel free to reach out directly to your Techstars community support contact for your region.

Q: How do I apply?

A: Please review the Startup Weekend facilitator requirements to make sure that you qualify and agree to the requirements before applying to become an organizer. If you qualify, and you agree to our organizer rules, please fill out our application form

Q: How does pairing work?  

A: Once we have all of an event’s information, your Techstars community support contact will reach out to you regarding the specific events that might be a good match for you. We will also share a facilitator pairing document with you, which contains a list of upcoming events and facilitators paired to those events (for those that have already been paired), to review and use to register your interest in facilitating certain events. Our goal is to match you with an event two months prior to the start date to give you ample time to plan and prepare. Once Techstars receives your confirmation to facilitate an event, our Techstars community team will connect you with the event’s organizing team. See Working with Your Team page for more details.

Q: Why didn’t I get paired to the event I was interested in?  

A: There are several factors we consider when pairing a facilitator to a Startup Weekend, including: 

  • your interest in upcoming events

  • proximity to the event city 

  • your availability

  • the language that will be spoken at the event

  • the organizing team’s budget

  • your experience in the vertical, if the weekend is vertical-focused

Q: What tools does Techstars provide to help me facilitate a Startup Weekend?

A: Techstars provides a facilitator checklist to help you focus your efforts on the tasks that need to be completed at different stages of the weekend. We also provide you with a facilitator deck which is a powerful presentation tool to help you emcee an event from Friday night to Sunday night. We include a workshop deck, which you can use should you run a workshop during the weekend, and a quick reference guide as well.  

Q: Can I drop out of facilitating an event? 

A: If circumstances change and you need to cancel within two weeks or less before the event, please help coordinate a replacement from our extensive facilitator network. Some regions have social or messaging groups that facilitators can join so that you can easily contact each other for support. 

Q: What’s a run of show schedule?  

A: It’s a detailed schedule of the event, which tracks the actions and whereabouts of the event team and who will be responsible for each aspect of the event. It shows where people will be during certain times and who will be supporting activities. It’s an absolute must-have to run a smooth, successful, and stress-free event. 

During the Weekend

Q: How can I make sure that I’m being inclusive during the event?

A: The vision of Techstars Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is to create a global entrepreneurial network that reflects the diversity we see in the world. The role of the facilitator is important in making sure that the event reflects our vision. What someone from an underrepresented group experiences here can make or break that person’s desire to pursue entrepreneurship and build their startup. We’ve put together a community guide on creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive Techstars Startup Weekend. Not only does this help you run a truly impactful event — it teaches you important skills to develop and grow personally and professionally. 

Q: Can you provide clear messaging around what Techstars and Techstars Startup Weekend are? 

A: Yes. It’s important to communicate a consistent message to potential participants, sponsors, mentors, judges, your speakers, and everyone else who you are asking to be a part of your event. See our messaging guidelines. 


Q: What should we bring to the event?

A: 

  • Printed run-of-show schedules — and the organizing team should print out the judging forms and mentor sign up sheets 

  • Any extra charging cables, power extension cords, and adaptors you might have

  • Your laptop, phone, and charging cables


Q: What do I do in case of emergency?

A: No two events are the same, and therefore it is impossible to control every detail. The key to dealing with emergencies is to be flexible and resilient. Prepare for what you can, and calmly and efficiently deal with what you can’t. Emergencies can take many forms, like someone falling ill, an electrical storm cutting the power to your venue, or an act of violence. Having an event emergency plan should lead to better outcomes and a safer environment for everyone. But, above all, you should never put yourself in danger. Please review our emergency guidelines


Q: Do I have to be there the entire time? 

A: Mostly. You might be able to leave a little earlier than the organizing team on Saturday night after you’ve delivered your wrap-up presentation, since you’ll need to get rest to bring energy to Sunday’s presentations and activities. If you do need to leave the venue during event times, please always check with the organizing team to make sure that they don’t need you. Please be mindful that organizers might not always feel comfortable telling you when they don’t feel okay with you leaving.


Q: What resources/assistance are provided to participants over the weekend?

A:  A key part of every Techstars Startup Weekend is the valuable advice and assistance provided by the event’s speakers and mentors. Mentors — community experts in various fields ranging from entrepreneurship, software development, marketing, finance, law, and more — dedicate their time to provide advice. In addition to the most valuable resources at the weekend (the people), we’ve put together a list of some useful tools and resources for participants before, during, and after the event.


Q: What do I say if someone asks me about the issue of intellectual property or ownership during the weekend?

A: Participants have signed an agreement when they registered for tickets to not bring any legal documentation to the event. Techstars Startup Weekend doesn’t retain or claim ownership to any ideas, as that is left up to the teams. We do acknowledge that the issue of patents and copyrights is an important one. It’s also one that is a question of risk and reward for participants. 

Our guidance around this issue is that Techstars Startup Weekend is about the educational experience of learning how to build a business, so even if participants don’t pitch the idea that they are worried about someone ‘stealing,’ they can still take the learnings from the weekend and apply it to their idea afterwards. They should focus on making valuable connections with mentors and other participants during the weekend who they want to involve going forwards, so participation is still valuable, regardless of the idea. 

Techstars Startup Weekend does not support or take part in the signing of any legal documents at the events, and cannot provide financial or legal advice. Furthermore, while mentors with legal backgrounds are often present and able to give general advice, they are not permitted to give specific legal counsel.

After the Weekend

Q: How do I find out if I did a good job facilitating the event? 

A: Techstars sends a participant survey about a week after the event, which includes feedback about the event facilitator. We will share this information with you. You will also have a running Net Promoter Score (NPS), available to you any time, which measures your performance based on the survey feedback we receive from Startup Weekend participants. This helps us to maintain a high quality experience for our global communities.

Q: How can I get more involved in the Techstars network?

A: There are many ways of getting more involved in the Techstars network. A few options are listed below, but please reach out to your Techstars community support contact to discuss your options further.

Join a Techstars portfolio company: Join our talent network, where you can join one of our Techstars portfolio companies to gain more experience working in a startup, before you take the plunge to start your company.

Become a Startup Digest curator: Techstars Startup Digest works with local curators to deliver relevant startup content to innovators around the world. Whether it’s their first company or their fifth, Techstars Startup Digest connects founders with their startup community through events and quality content. If you are interested in curating, you can become a curator.

Organize a Startup Week: Techstars Startup Week is a five-day, entrepreneur-led, community event held in cities across the world to showcase their local startup ecosystem through meetups, lectures, discussions, and celebrations. The intent is to bring entrepreneurs together to build momentum and opportunity around a local community’s unique entrepreneurial identity. Learn more and apply when you’re ready.

Q: What kind of support can Techstars Startup Weekend provide participants to help their teams launch?

A: Techstars Startup Weekend primarily serves as an entry point to entrepreneurship, but our support and community span much further beyond the weekend. Whether participants are ready to accelerate their business or want to help build their local entrepreneurial ecosystem, Techstars is here to help any way we can. Visit Techstars.com to learn more.

Facilitating Online Events

Q: What’s different from facilitating an in-person event?

A: You will still be expected to lead activities and emcee the event, just in a different format. Since the event is 100% online, there will be an aspect of technology management involved. 

Q: What resources are provided to help me prepare for an online event?

A: Check out the Facilitating Online Events page for more information on facilitator responsibilities for an online event as well as Live streaming best practices and online crowd engagement and management tips. If you have any questions or concerns about facilitating online, feel free to reach out to your Techstars Community Support Contact

Q: Will Techstars Startup Weekend online be a permanent option?

A: Most likely, regardless of Covid-19, we will continue to support online events. 


New Community Model


Q: What is the New Community Model?

A: A self-serve model that will give community leaders greater ownership of their events. We have developed a platform and a new toolset that empower CLs to independently set up and customize their events, while managing their own event finances. 

Q: What has Changed?

A: New Brand + Graphic Design Tool (Desygner)

We’re excited to bring to you a new brand identity for Techstars Community. The new system integrates the unique aspects of our startup community programs into the core Techstars identity. For the first time, there will be a shared DNA across the Techstars ecosystem. We’ve also just launched Desygner, a simple graphic design tool that will help CLs produce customized, brand-compliant event assets.

New Event Platform, by MeeteRIn the past, we’ve had two systems to manage events; SWOOP and a separate ticketing event platform. We’ve now consolidated these systems into a single event platform by MeeteR, (a Techstars alumni company). CLs will now be able to set up and manage their events through MeeteR. This platform was launched in the US on December 8th and will roll out internationally in 2021.

Community Resource Portal

Historically, community resources were scattered in many places and were pretty outdated. All of your resources have now been revamped and consolidated in one place - our new Community Resource Portal. The content has been split into 3 primary sections: Startup Weekend, Startup Week and facilitator resources. 

Organizer License and Event Agreement

Techstars has created an organizer license and event agreement to help guide CLs through their event experience. It outlines the rights and clear guidelines for CLs to ensure all events worldwide maintain a high standard of excellence and provide a quality experience for participants. 

A licensing agreement is a legal contract between two parties. Our new license agreement is more in depth than our previous Terms and Conditions and is focused on our relationship with CLs. We will not charge organizers any license fee under this agreement. 

Q: You’ve mentioned a Techstars global rebrand. What is the new Techstars branding for Techstars Startup Weekend, Techstars Startup Week, and Techstars Startup Digest like?

A: Techstars launched a new brand identity in March 2020, and we’ve begun rolling it out in phases throughout our company, network and global community. In December of 2020, we launched a new brand system to unify and elevate the collective identity of our programs. We’ve streamlined brand guidelines and provided an enhanced library of assets on the new event platform. Materials have launched alongside our new Techstars Community resources.

It's been very well received so far and we think it will be helpful for attracting volunteers, attendees and sponsors to your events! 

Q: Is Techstars launching a new website for Techstars Startup Weekend and Techstars Startup Week?

A: Techstars has introduced a new Techstars Community website last year (2020). You can head to our Communities homepage to access them.

Q: Will there be greater flexibility on branding and co-branding guidelines with the new format?

A: We believe it's important to maintain consistency and clarity of branding to build the trust and excitement that attracts sponsors, volunteers and future CLs. No, there will not be greater flexibility with our branding.

  • However, we will provide you with more assets, resources and materials to support you with your event promotion and branding. We’ve adopted a new brand platform called Desygner to help create customized brand assets for your events 

  • Techstars events cannot be co-branded: you may not link the Techstars Startup Weekend or Startup Week logos/identities/names to the name of another organization, non-profit, corporation or other entity

  • If you’re looking to run an event on behalf of another entity and feel free to reach out to us or consult our event license agreement.


Techstars Startup Weekend Vision

Q: What do you mean when you say that the new model for Techstars Startup Weekend is self-serve?

A: The model gives CLs greater ownership in managing the execution of your event, with less need to rely on Techstars staff:

  • You will have full control over your own event finances, which means that any profit you make from events is yours to keep

  • Techstars will not be supporting any event finances and there will be no accounting support, so we will not be asking you to report your expenses

  • You will be able to set up your own events and customize the event website that we provide, rather than relying on our team to do everything for you.

Q: Why is Techstars making these changes?

A: We know you've been waiting patiently for some improvements! We've heard your feedback and incorporated it into our planning process, so that we now have an opportunity to make changes that will provide an enhanced experience for CLs.

  • The improvements and flexibility of the new systems require less hands-on support from Techstars staff. This will give our team more time to better engage with our CLs and their communities.

Q: How do I access support from Techstars during this Techstars Community transition?

A: As always, we'll be available to support you via help@techstars.com. Your Regional Manager and Customer Success Coordinator (CsC) will also be able to assist you with any questions.


All Star CLs

Q: Are you planning to incentivize and recognize top CLs?

A: Yes! We will be rolling out a program to highlight and provide more value to top CLs. We will have more details on this program in late Q3 2021.

Q: When can we begin nominating people for the All Star Community Leader Program?

A: We are still defining the structure of the program and process for nominating All Star CLs, but rest assured that we'll share more information with you as soon as we can. The concept is that community leaders and Techstars staff will be able to nominate other community leaders to be part of the All Star Community Leader Program.

Q: What is the qualifying criteria for the All Star Program?

A: The criteria for entering the All Star Program is holistic. Experience with Techstars Startup programs will certainly be considered when evaluating candidates for the All Star Program, but we believe there are also other aspects to consider. For instance, it's important to evaluate what actions organizers have taken outside of Techstars events to help build their communities. This will provide opportunities to community leaders from smaller cities that don't have as much event activity, but are doing an amazing job contributing to their local ecosystems. The All Star Program is not only about recognizing the volume of events an individual has led, but how much impact they've had in their community.

Q: How will you highlight All Star CLs in the Techstars network?

A: At Techstars we are constantly working to improve the way that we share stories from our community. This includes success stories of companies from our events, to personal stories of a community member's growth. For some community leaders, Startup Weekend is a part of their own entrepreneurial journey, and we'd like to learn more about your involvement with your community. We're eager to spend more time getting to know all of you on a personal level, and we want to make sure you feel connected to the wider Techstars network.