[INFOGRAPHIC] State of Techstars 2012

Today is the beginning of FounderCon, our annual Techstars unconference. This is the private gathering of all things Techstars. We get together across our five programs and six years to be together as alumni, mentors and staff. Besides the fantastic breakout sessions and second-to-none networking, founders will meet business development folks from some of the biggest companies in the world. This year’s speakers include Dharmesh Shah, Nabeel Hyatt and Seth Godin, among others. Breakout sessions cover everything from inbound strategy to technical debt. Group planned meals allow founders to put names to e-mail addresses and bridge would-be communication gaps, leveraging our network more effectively. Nightfall brings gratuitous sessions of Werewolf. This year we’re in Boston in order to support the Boston program’s founders pitching at their demo day on Wednesday. Stay tuned to the blog for more details and recaps from FounderCon or follow the soundbites and takeaways on the hashtag as it unfolds here.

As part of our session today, we shared this infographic and wanted to display it here too. We’re so humbled by and proud of what we have built together. Click to see full-sized:








Techstars TV: The Founders, Season 3 Episode 7 – Community is Family


The Founders

The Founders is a documentary web series that follows the adventures of tech startups pursuing their dreams in Techstars in Boulder during the summer of 2012. Season three features Birdbox, ROXIMITY and UboolyEpisodes post on Thursdays at 10:00 a.m. MST. Catch up on all of the episodes for season three here.

Music in this episode is by Harper Blynn and Monika Leigh Spence. Music by Kristin Diable and Saturn Missiles is provided by Audiosocket.

Interact:

Or tweet a sound a bite:

“The best entrepreneurs are attracted to creating meaning in the world.” – @davidcohen on @Techstars TV (click to tweet)

[VIDEO] “Starting a company is a marathon, it’s a long process. At demo day, you’re in mile two.” -@nateabbott (click to tweet)

“The month after demo day is where the rubber meets the road.” – @leithstevens on @techstars TV (click to tweet)

On @Techstars TV: “Um, do you realize your kid is drinking Red Bull?” – @bininunez of @birdbox (click to tweet)

 








Techstars Demo Day: Seattle 2012

Techstars Demo Day Seattle 2012
photo by Kayla Roark

Ten new companies took the stage at Showbox SoDo yesterday afternoon to pitch to a sold out audience of investors, mentors, community, and Seattle supporters.

Tred: @tredsite
Test drives delivered.
GeekWire: Tred aims to help dealers, shoppers with test drives

Sandglaz: @sandglaz
The simplest way for teams to collaborate and plan.
GeekWire: Task manager Sanglaz looks to boost team productivity

Glider (formerly named Superb.ly): @glider_com
Bringing clarity to deals.

Leanplum: @leanplum
Optimizing the long-term value of users in mobile games.
GeekWire: Leanplum lets game developers alter titles on the fly

Bizible: @bizible
Closing the marketing loop for the Fortune Five Million. Finally.
GeekWire: Bizible lets companies track revenue back to marketing source 

Apptentive: @apptentive
The easiest way for every company with an app to talk to their customers.
GeekWire: Apptentive lets app lovers talk to app developers inside apps

Linksy: @linksyme
Identify and activate influencers.
GeekWire: Linksy turns influencers into brand champions 

Maptia: @maptia
Building a beautiful discovery engine for places.
GeekWire: Maptia charts course with interactive map

Nveloped: @nveloped
Delivering secure email directly to a recipient’s inbox without complicated plugins or portals.
GeekWire: Nveloped helps you secure your e-mail.

MobileDevHQ: @mobiledevhq
Enabling app marketers to get more downloads by understanding and improving their organic app marketing.
BetaKit: Techstars Seattle’s MobileDevHQ wants to rethink SEO for mobile apps
GeekWire: MobileDevHQ looks to help propel apps up the charts

Thank you to our national sponsors: Cooley, Rackspace, SoftLayer, Silicon Valley Bank, and Microsoft BizSpark. We’re grateful to our local sponsor, Gist, and our demo day sponsor, William Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati.

Personal Blogs:
Greg Meyer: Success is getting one person to believe in you
Maptia: An Epic Mountain Climb

Press:
Forbes: What Really Makes Venture Capitalists Invest in Your Startup
GeekWire: Live from Techstars Demo Day – Ray Ozzie keynote and 10 new startup pitches
GeekWire: My three favorite pitches from Techstars Demo Day, and a few from Robert Scoble too
GeekWire: Ray Ozzie on Startups – don’t underestimate the power of your connections
GeekWire: Techstars Road Trip – Startups headed south to San Francisco after demo day
Silicon Florist: Field trip – Portland’s Glider (formerly Superbly) and the rest of Techstars Seattle Demo Day 2012
XConomy: Techstars Demo Day – have you invested yet?

techstars demo day








Techstars TV: The Founders, Season 3 Episode 6 – Build It


The Founders

The Founders is a documentary web series that follows the adventures of tech startups pursuing their dreams in Techstars in Boulder during the summer of 2012. Season three features Birdbox, ROXIMITY and UboolyEpisodes post on Thursdays at 10:00 a.m. MST. Catch up on all of the episodes for season three here.

Music in this episode is by Rosie and Me and Calvin Locklear. Music by Leopold and His Fiction is provided by Audiosocket.

Interact:

Or tweet a sound bite:

On @Techstars TV: “I think one of the most amazing things you can do as a human being is create something.” -@bfeld  (click to tweet)

“Entrepreneurship is about execution. You gotta build.” – @nglaros on @Techstars TV (click to tweet)

“These founders can change the world.” – @davidcohen on @Techstars TV (click to tweet)

 








You Pick the Charity, Fashion Project Does the Rest

Fashion Project is currently in session at Techstars in Boston. Their product lets you donate your high-end clothes, shoes and accessories through their website to the charity of your choice. You can also shop for coveted designer items knowing the majority of the proceeds will go to a great cause. Anna Palmer, co-founder and CEO, tells us where it all began.

Q: Fashion Project is the lovechild of an idea you had with your co-founder, Christine Rizk, when you met in school. Tell me about your lightbulb moment.
A: Christine was the first person I met at Harvard Law School. We attended a talk about taxes one day and afterward couldn’t stop talking about how $13B  worth of clothes are donated every single year in America. I had started two non-profits before, one in high school and one in college. Christine had started one in high school as well. It made total sense to begin working together.

Q: What do you say to the skeptics who are wary of fashion-oriented startups?
A: That even though fashion is a major industry, we aren’t in a noisy space. There’s no real model like this; we have built a company that’s highly profitable and benefits people in need. We have proved that it works because customers are fascinated with how simple the process is. We make finding donors and giving to charity a seamless experience.

Q: I would imagine that working so closely with charities and donors, you have seen some special moments. Can you share any of those with us?
A: Sure. Something really sweet just happened recently. After the ‘donate’ button in the website, we had a donor tell us all about how she was honoring her mom through the American Cancer Society. She gave us this personal look into her life and told us stories about how when she was a kid, her mom would sing in the car because the radio was broken. Now all of these intimate stories are attached to the items she’s giving because we have tagged them as such and others can read it. This means you know what you’re buying, who you want the payment to benefit, and the story behind it.

Q: Who is on board with Fashion Project?
A: We have a lot of really great non-profit partners behind us. We have recently signed up the Christopher Reeve Spinal Cord Injury and Paralysis Foundation. We now know our model works so we’re focused on testing it well. We’re proving to the world that we can get the volume of inventory taken care of at no cost to the donor, incentivizing people to donate again and again.

The collection launches in November. Sign up now or make a donation.








Techstars TV: The Founders, Season 3 Episode 5 – Truth Seekers


The Founders

The Founders is a documentary web series that follows the adventures of tech startups pursuing their dreams in Techstars in Boulder during the summer of 2012. Season three features Birdbox, ROXIMITY and UboolyEpisodes post on Thursdays at 10:00 a.m. MST. Catch up on all of the episodes for season three here.

Music in this episode is by Monte Mar, Leopold and His Fiction, and The Wandas and is provided by Audiosocket.

Interact:

Or tweet a sound bite:

On @Techstars TV: “We are, as entrepreneurs, an incredibly optimistic bunch.” -@micah  (click to tweet)

“You cannot build a company in the echochamber of your own head.” – @nglaros on @Techstars TV (click to tweet)

“Who here will do whatever it takes to make their F%^$ing startup succeed?” – @tobymurdock on @Techstars TV (click to tweet)








Maptia: See the World

Maptia’s founders in Kerry Park, Seattle

Maptia is the most delightful way to discover, share and collect the places that you love. This team of four co-founders is on a mission to build the world’s first discovery engine for places – on a map. They are currently in the Techstars program in Seattle and I hopped on a phone call with Dorothy Sanders, their CEO and designer.

Q: Your path to Techstars was a bit non-traditional and you were in Startup Chile first. How did their program set you up for success?
A: I was actually traveling in South America last year, backpacking and CouchSurfing in Buenos Aires with someone who turned out to be a Haitian Prince! Emmanuel told us about the opportunity with Startup Chile and when I returned to England, Dean, Jonny and I decided to apply.
The program in Santiago turned out to be the perfect launching pad for us. The peer-to-peer mentoring was fantastic and the program really is changing the Chilean entrepreneurial culture. The Chilean government has bet money on passionate early-stage entrepreneurs as opposed to pumping it into infrastructure. We had a really great experience. The directors treat the program itself like a startup and it just gets better with every new batch of teams. We were usually with around 100 teams at any one time from all over the world. The diversity is amazing. In their recent application round they had almost one and a half thousand teams apply from over 60 countries. Everyone shared a mindset of being ready to uproot and move anywhere in the world in order to pursue something they are passionate about. It was pretty inspiring.

Q: I saw the video outtakes from your application to Techstars and it’s evident your team has some serious chemistry. How did you find one another?
A: Jonny, Dean, and I went to school together. We designed and edited a student travel magazine called Roam and that was when I discovered how much I loved graphic design. Maptia had been brewing as an idea we were all passionate about for almost four years. When we were accepted into Startup Chile after graduating, we realized that to build our vision we needed some serious technical firepower. We had an insatiable desire to learn but lacked the true technical expertise needed. So I created a quirky poster with which we hoped to find someone talented and passionate to join us in Chile and become a technical co-founder. Jianshi Huang (now our CTO) was living in Japan last year and had strong professional software engineering experience. He had been working as a software engineer in a large company for a few years and told us that he was feeling too comfortable. He wanted to challenge himself! Then when we turned up with this outrageous offer to fly halfway around the world to join us, he couldn’t resist the adventure and the opportunity. From the moment he arrived, he fit right into our team. Just two days after he arrived, we were already building stuff. The four of us even lived together in Chile. Here in Seattle, we still really enjoy living together.

Q: Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz tweeted that if he had a few million to invest, he would be begging you to let him in on your round. On the other side, you have faced skepticism from those that struggle with consumer-based startups that have a less-defined business model. What’s that been like?
A: The first five weeks were spent challenging our own assumptions. We had two main camps of advice. Mentors like David Cohen and Rand were saying, “You guys are a passionate team with an exciting vision – you should really swing for the fences.” On the other hand, some people were saying, “Find a small customer problem that you can solve and start there…” It was tough. We definitely had to wrestle with some mentor whiplash in the early weeks of the program. Being really young and comparatively inexperienced, it’s hard not to try to please everyone, especially since I am a consensus seeker by nature. Not to mention that all the Techstars mentors are exceptionally knowledgeable and talented in their fields. We have a lot of respect for them and for their advice. However, one of the most crucial lessons learned during Techstars is that you can’t please everyone. Now we do our best to back up our decisions with strong reasoning and move forward confidently with our plans. We are always very willing to accept that we will make mistakes. We do our best to learn along the way and are humbled by just how far we have come with all the awesome advice and support from the mentors.

Q: Where will you live next?
A: We will be toughing it up through the Seattle winter until at least the end of January. We feel very at home here after the English weather. We were promised rain and gloom but Seattle was uncharacteristically gorgeous for the first month or so after we arrived. We love it here and the Techstars program really has been a fantastic experience for us all, both as individuals and also as a company.









Techstars TV: The Founders, Season 3 Episode 4 – Good People


The Founders

The Founders is a documentary web series that follows the adventures of tech startups pursuing their dreams in Techstars in Boulder during the summer of 2012. Season three features Birdbox, ROXIMITY and UboolyEpisodes post on Thursdays at 10:00 a.m. MST. Catch up on all of the episodes for season three here.

Music in this episode is by GrizPaul Manousos and Humans and is provided by Audiosocket.

Interact:

Or tweet a sound bite:

On @Techstars TV: “Words will not properly describe my excitement and anxiety around building teams.” -@WendySLea http://tsta.rs/U9xdI5 (click to tweet)

“I don’t believe in management…Hire really good people and let them do their thing.” – @HSDiamond on @Techstars TV http://tsta.rs/U9xdI5
(click to tweet)

“Is @JustinBieber going to see you?!” -@kcbigring’s son, pre-deploy for @birdbox on @techstars tv http://tsta.rs/U9xdI5
(click to tweet)








Techstars TV: The Founders, Season 3 Episode 3 – Speed Dating


The Founders

The Founders is a documentary web series that follows the adventures of tech startups pursuing their dreams in Techstars in Boulder during the summer of 2012. Season three features Birdbox, ROXIMITY and UboolyEpisodes post on Thursdays at 10:00 a.m. MST. Catch up on all of the episodes for season three here.

Music in this episode is by Boat, Paul Manousos and Moving Castles and is provided by Audiosocket.

Interact:








Ovuline: Smart Fertility, a Health IT Company in Techstars

Ovuline

Ovuline helps couples conceive faster. Going way beyond fertility calendars and period trackers, Ovuline tells couples when they are fertile and exactly what to do each day to maximize their chances of getting pregnant. The Ovuline Smart Fertility Process cuts the time that it takes the average couple in half. Ovuline can also be used to avoid pregnancy or track menstrual cycles. I spoke with their CEO, Paris Wallace, about their experience thus far in our second Boston program this year.

Q: It’s fair to say that your product is really different than all the others we have accepted into Techstars. How did Ovuline begin?
A: The idea originated with one of the founders, Vasile, who was a student at Harvard Business School. He and his wife, Katia, wanted to start their family and went online, as people in this generation tend to do, hoping find clinically accurate advice. They found that there was no quality advice about how to conceive in regards to the individual’s process of conception. He was surprised by this so he connected with our CTO, Alex Baron, to talk about developing software for ways to do this better. Together they came up with a prototype. Vasile and Katia conceived using the prototype and baby Aaron was born. We call him the “beta baby.” We launched the beta product in January.

Q: Some might recognize that you were a mentor to the Techstars program in Boston. What’s it like going from mentor to founder in the same program?
A: I became a mentor because of my experience before Ovline founding Good Start Genetics which is a successful fertility diagnostic company. As a mentor, I’d seen firsthand what a wonderful program Techstars Boston is and how much progress participating companies make while they are in the program. Secretly, I wanted to experience the program from the other side as a CEO. Our team was hard at work on Ovuline when we saw Katie Rae’s request for health IT specific companies for her second class in 2012. We jumped at the opportunity to apply.

Q: What’s high priority right now? What are you developing?
A: We have been fortunate to have traction before Techstars in terms of early adopters. I see Techstars as a time machine because you can accomplish in a day what usually takes a week. There’s a magic formula: the right amount of motivation combined with people who can give you answers to questions that would take much longer to answer yourself. We proved that our product is something the market wanted. Now we’re working on customer development and ideas for monetization. We’re ready to have customers that are so excited about what we’re doing that they are willing to pay.

Q: Are you hiring?
A: We are always looking for talented people to grow our team. We have job postings listed at ovuline.com/jobs.