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In any given Techstars program, you’ll walk through the accelerator doors to find groups of founders milling around calculating their next strategic business move, a MD stationed in a conference room counseling (or consoling) a timely target, a PM huddled in a corner with headphones on trying to jam out the latest founder update… but what you’ll also notice are the program associates, hardened and focused, supporting each of the startups with specific projects, and in my case, helping to keep the PM from red-lining with overdue tasks.

What is the Associate role about?
The associates are often the unsung program heroes, contracted for each class to fill skillsets in the startups and to help with development and support through the intensive 13-week program. An associate wears many hats: one day they might be breaking down an event and clearing tables, the next they might be polishing an investor deck or completing code for a shipping deadline. It all depends on the call of duty and we pride our teams in their abilities to get it all done.

Associates at Techstars Barclays London ‘16

We typically hire 4–6 program associates for the duration of the accelerator in the roles of: Engineering, Marketing, Business Development, Design and Operations. Each position is carefully chosen by the MD and PM to support the startups participating in the upcoming program.

As a program manager, I believe it’s important for the associate to come in with personal goals for the program — are you interested in becoming a PM, or are you looking for the experience of working as one of the “first 5” in a quickly growing startup? — Chris Chang, Program Manager for Techstars Adelaide

Whatever your goals may be, it’s our job to help you get there. Not to mention, there’s never a dull moment and you get to be an integral piece of a fantastic program team.

UXTesting — TS Cloud ‘16

Interested in learning more? Don’t be coy! Do your homework on a program that you believe is a good fit and reach out to the PM to get more information. Believe me, we’d love to hear from you!

For the Rakuten Accelerator in Singapore, which starts July 16, check out the EngineeringBusiness Development, Marketing, Design and Operations Associate roles. now!

For Techstars Adelaide, which starts September 10, check out their Engineering, Design, Business Development and Ops associate roles.


There are a lot of blog posts out there about the role and about other associates’ experiences online, here are the ones that stand out:

  1. Jay Kapoor — My Summer as a Techstars NYC Associate
  2. Dirk Lehmann — Techstars Associate Programme: The Better Startup MBA?
  3. Kelly McDonald — Learn More Faster
  4. Anthony Marnell — Techstars New York: A Reflection
  5. Duc Luan Dam — Luan, do you ever sleep?

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Dennis List Dennis List
Dennis is the Program Manager of the Rakuten Accelerator, Powered by Techstars in Singapore. Hailing from a family of entrepreneurs, he has been in various roles across IT & Consumer Electronics for over 15 years. Prior to Techstars, Dennis co-founded IoT music startup Rocki, and participated in the 2014 Techstars Boston Accelerator.