This post was originally published on Thoughts on Tech Startups and Venture Capital
We are delighted to introduce 15 Startups that are finishing our Summer 2016 Program today. As with our previous classes, this was a diverse group of founders solving a wide range of problems.
In addition to 6 teams from NYC, we had teams from Rochester, Atlanta, San Francisco, two teams from Philadelphia, a team from the UK, a team from France and two teams from Canada. Of these 15 companies, five have women CEOs.
The founders have made real progress, and grew their revenues and customers during the program. Here are Techstars NYC Summer 2016 Investor Pitches:
Electronic Gaming Federation organizes and produces college sports.
Forestry offers developers a new way to build and manage websites.
Grubbly Farms is producing a sustainable, insect based, food source for pets, aquaculture, and livestock.
Healthie is a web and mobile platform for dietitians and nutritionists to manage their practice.
IOPipe provides a toolbox for developing, monitoring, and operating serverless applications.
Leblum lets consumers buy top quality flowers directly from the growers.
MindMate is a platform for Alzheimer’s patients, families and care centers.
MyFin is the easiest way to manage and save your money.
OnFrontiers is a platform that helps businesses connect with experts around the world.
Patch Homes provides home equity financing at 0% interest and no monthly payments.
Pollen is a marketing automation platform that enables online retailers to acquire new users more simply and cost effectively than Facebook and Google.
ProcessOut is the smart router for payments that saves money by optimizing each transaction.
Purple is the easiest way to stay on top of the news and be informed. Ever.
Skopenow is a people search engine for discovering fraud and evaluating risk.
Skywatch provides API access to the world’s satellite data.
Thank you Mentors and Speakers
As always, we’ve had an amazing support from our mentors. They spent the time with the founders, gave feedback and engaged during the program.
Here is the thank you video that founders made for mentors:
We also had an amazing group of mentors who held weekly office hours, and focused on covering specific verticals.
Every week during the all hands companies did shout outs and thanked most helpful mentors. We are excited to present Most Helpful Mentor Awards for Summer 2016 Program:
Most Helpful Overall Mentors award for Techstars Summer 2016 goes to Kevin King, Dane Atkinson, Chris Fraser, Soraya Dorabi and Maya Baratz Jordan!
We also had amazing speakers who came to share their stories, and give founders feedback on their companies. Fireside chats were fun, insightful and really engaging.
What Founders Learned in the Program
Tyler Schrodt, CEO of EGF:
Take the advice of your mentors seriously, but your path is ultimately your choice.
Fundraising is a full time job.
Scott Gallant, CEO of Forestry:
The importance of building a personal network of mentors and peers
How to prepare for fundraising (the best coaching on the planet)
Sean Warner, CEO of Grubbly Farms:
Networking – you always here networking is important, but seeing the outreach that Techstars has taught us how to properly utilize our / Techstars network, mainly looking at mentor engagement.
Defining growth through KPIs – there are many ways to monitor growth and though qualitative measurements are important, quantitative measurements are easier to distinguish growth over time.
Erica Jain, CEO of Healthie:
How to focus on the important stuff: Techstars has a tradition of “big rocks” – the premise being that you can fill your days with lots of activities, but at the end of the day, if you don’t execute on certain things – whether it’s achieving a certain metric or reaching a milestone – the company isn’t actually moving forward, even if you’re “always busy”.
That relationships are everything: Whether it’s with employees, mentors, co-founders, customers, or investors, building strong and genuine connections is ridiculously important, and incredibly rewarding.
Adam Johnson, CEO of IOPipe:
The power of giving first. There’s so much energy and momentum within our class by helping each other out. No requests were unanswered during our time at Techstars. The give first mentality did not end with our class, many alumnus and friends of Techstars went out of their way to help out. It was simply amazing.
I was surprised by how much impact the high energy of all the startups going through the Techstars program had on IOpipe. It was a constant motivator to keep pushing for as much progress and growth as we could within a short amount of time. Our investors have been so impressed by how far we’ve come in a short three months. Techstars definitely played a huge part in that.
Setting weekly big rock milestones to push us harder every week has been a great motivator for us to keep the eye on the ball, and re-think what’s most important for us. IOpipe will continue this exercise long after our time at Techstars.
Sarah Corrigan, CEO of LeBlum:
Don’t abuse the Pivot. Intuition and data combined are sufficient guides and indicators of whether or not your company has a reason to exist. Consider peoples’ doubts, but never cater to them.
Accept Criticism Gracefully. A start-up starts out scrappy but eventually has to evolve into a well organized operation of systems and standards. As a founder that means that you to have to be willing to accept faults, recognize what needs to improve and be willing to make changes – without delay. So, don’t be a sh!tty human, and if you are being one – stop being a sh!tty human, immediately.
Susanne Mitschke, CEO of MindMate:
Pick ONE KPI and execute ONLY on that
Say “NO” to stuff that doesn’t move the needle! Be hard on that!
Nathaniel Harley, CEO My Fin
Marketing automation – how to think about the different states – activation, magic moment, and retention. Being very early and in product building mode, we really honed in on the activation state…. need to still work on magic moment / retention. I obviously learned this before, but it’s much different for MyFin than it was for Spoon. App is very different than content site.
Prioritization – as a team, we’ve gotten much better at doing daily sprints, focusing on what’s most important, and constantly re-prioritizing based on where we’re at, feedback, etc.
Positioning – one of the hardest things to do is narrow down the focus of the company into a few sentences. It’s been extremely helpful to get down to the essence of what we’re building, and how to articulate to people.
Sahil Gupta, CEO of Patch Homes:
Be firm yet flexible in my approach. Whether is product, market strategy or fundraising – listen to what people are saying.
Become better at using data to validate hypothesis and drive decision making.
Zack Werner, CEO of Pollen:
I have been raising money for a long time, and TS helped me get a MUCH better understanding of how to talk to investors and create a funnel for investment.
It was great for my team to learn how to operate in the same space and with a structure for operation.
Rebecca Harris, CEO of Purple:
How to define KPIs, set goals for growing them, and develop a process for achieving those goals.
I learned so much about fundraising.
Rob Douglas, CEO of Skopenow:
Thinking like a CEO – Growth strategies (sales and business development), pricing, getting ready for scaling, and finding the right hires.
Understanding the VC world – the ins, outs, and in-betweens of VC communication from intros to closings…#ABC
Thank you Associates!
Huge thank you to our associates, they’ve done an amazing job! Sara, Alli, Susan, Jay, Kashif, Dan, Mike and Oliver – massive thank you for your hard work and dedication – you were SUPER HELPFUL to founders and Techstars.