Techstars is Coming to Your Community

Techstars is looking for the best startups in the world. Techstars exists to help entrepreneurs succeed and our worldwide network has the resources, mentors, and experience to help your company grow.

Sometimes the best things start with a simple idea, and it takes the action of that next small step to begin the journey. Techstars is hitting the road next week to meet with entrepreneurs all over the world who want to accelerate their businesses and take the next step. Join us to learn more about why the Techstars network is the most powerful launching pad for startups.

“All of the advice at critical moments in time throughout our history, somehow someone in the Techstars network pointed us in a direction that fundamentally altered our course that led to where we are today.” – Adam Wilson, co-founder, Sphero (Techstars Class 6)

Applications are now open for 10 Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator Programs. The Techstars investment teams can’t wait to meet you in your community to see if there are ways we can help you grow your business.

The Techstars Roadshow kicks off next week in the locations listed below. Join us to meet Techstars alumni, managing directors, program managers, mentors, and community leaders to learn more about entrepreneurship. When you RSVP, don’t forget to apply for office hours with one of our managing directors.

Are you ready to Do More Faster?

Check back as more locations will be added soon!

City

Date

Register Now 

Las Vegas

August 14

RSVP

Los Angeles

August 15

RSVP

New York City

August 24

RSVP

Mexico City

August 25

RSVP

Berlin

September 4

RSVP

Lehi / Provo

September 6

RSVP
Salt Lake City

September 7

RSVP

Portland

September 12

RSVP

San Francisco

September 13

RSVP

Vancouver

September 18

RSVP

North Carolina

September 18-20

RSVP

Boston

September 18-21

RSVP

Montreal

September 20

RSVP

Vancouver

September 26

RSVP

London

October 2

RSVP

Seattle

October 5

RSVP

Paris

October 10

RSVP

Prague

October 12

RSVP

Budapest

October 13

RSVP

Vienna

October 14

RSVP

Events coming soon for Chicago, Toronto, Dubai, London, Tallinn and Berlin.








Techstars Accelerator Programs 2017: Global Info Sessions

Techstars is looking for the best startups from all over the world. Join us at one of our info sessions or office hours to meet our Managing Directors and learn more about our global programs.

Check out the schedule below and we look forward to meeting you!

Online Events:

In-Person Events:

AFRICA

APAC

EUROPE

MIDDLE EAST

NORTH AMERICA

To learn more about applying to Techstars, check out the Application Tool Kit. If you are interested in applying to a program with a specific vertical, check out these programs to see if they’re coming to a city near you: IoT, Alexa, Mobility, Adelaide and Retail (links coming soon). Apply today.








Insider Info on How VCs Approach Series A Investments

Last Friday, January 6, at CES, we hosted a conversation with a panel of venture capital investors to understand how they approach Series A investing. Participants in the conversation included:

If you want to dive deep into the conversation, you can view it in its entirety on our Periscope feed. There are tons of great nuggets of wisdom and unique perspectives offered by each of our panelists. For those with less time on their hands (after all, we’re building companies here!), here is a summary of some of the topics we discussed:

Each VC Approaches Investments Differently

Each of the investors talked about their investment theses for how they approach investments at key stages such as first money in, seed, series A and later stage investments. They each had a bit of a different approach in terms of target ownership amount, range of investment size, desire to hold a board seat or not, industry/sector focus, and geographies in which they consider investing.  

Do Your Homework Before Approaching Investors

Given how differently each fund and even each individual investor within a fund approaches each of the above items, it is critical that founders do their homework on each investor they may wish to approach before attempting to do so.

Entrepreneurs can do this homework in any number of ways from finding articles or interviews from investors (including things like watching this panel!), following them on social media and paying attention to what they post, pattern matching against past investments, and getting feedback from other entrepreneurs who may have worked with them in the past.

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That Said, Exceptions Happen!

But given all of this, it is critically important to remember that in venture capital, each individual investor may have a set of general guidelines they use when making investments but almost every investor can cite instances where they’ve deviated from their guidelines in the past.

That said, the closer your company is to matching their sweet spot for an investment, the more likely it is that they’ll want to engage with you.

VCs Invest Time “Getting Smart” on New Markets

Investors spend considerable time themselves getting up to speed on emerging technologies, and often they are learning about these technologies roughly within the same general window or curve as entrepreneurs who are building businesses around them.

VCs do all sorts of things to dive deep on new technologies including reading articles, attending conferences, and (probably most importantly) trying to meet as many founders and companies as possible who are working on technologies that they want to know more about.

As a founder, keep this in mind, especially if you are working in an emerging area! There is nothing disingenuous about a VC meeting you as part of their learning curve, but one thing you can ask when meeting a VC is to understand how likely they are to make an investment in or around your technology focus or business focus in the near future regardless of whether or not it is in your company directly.

Referrals Drive Deal Flow

There are lots of services on the web now to help investors get smart about a space including Mattermark, Pitchbook, CB Insights, and more. Investors are more likely to use these in a diligence phase or to understand competition around an investment they are contemplating rather than using these for sourcing of new investments.

Investors source the vast majority of their new investments via referrals from other founders, other investors, and trusted members of their personal networks.

Pro tip: when trying to engage a specific investor, the stronger the referral you can get, the better chance you have of securing a real conversation with that investor.

And super pro tip: this is one reason why it’s always useful as founders to spend some time helping and being #givefirst with other founders… you never know when good karma can be helpful to you down the line… like when that entrepreneur you helped two years ago goes on to close a funding round with a top VC and is glad to help you with an intro in the future.

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Syndication

VCs engage in what is called deal syndication, where once they know they want to invest in a deal they will often work to bring other investors in the deal that they think can be helpful to the company in the future and down the line as well.

Their approach to syndication can change on a deal by deal basis…on some deals an investor may want to take the bulk of the round in order to achieve a target ownership percentage of the round…in other deals they strategically may want to bring in a co-investor who they know can lead a later stage round in the future if necessary (typically a VC doesn’t intentionally seek to lead multiple rounds of investment in a company in a row as they want outside investors into the company in order to make sure that the company is fetching a market price with each new round). Various factors can change their approach on this such as whether the company is pre-revenue, pre-product, or in a less mature market.

Product Market Fit

VCs often talk about whether a company has achieved product market fit but this is a fairly subjective thing. Some investors may have key metrics they want to see a business achieving in terms of revenue or growth before deciding to invest…and again the maturity/immaturity of a market or technology may impact this as well. In general, this goes back to the above point that every investor likely has a set of theses they use to guide them but in the end the decision to invest or not is highly subjective.

Finally, one last point to consider is that venture capital investment is only one of many means you can use to grow your business. You can of course bootstrap by living within the means of the revenue you directly generate. If you are working on a new technology, there are often grants at your disposal such as NSF SBIR grant.  

And there are debt instruments and other tools at your disposal (though a typical bank loan is usually not readily available to early stage startups due to lack of revenue and extreme unpredictability about the business itself). In general, figuring out how to finance your business is, like most things to do with startups, extremely hard and is much or more art than science.  

Hopefully these tips and insights help make the journey just a little more accessible! And again, if you have time, check out the full conversation for more details and tips. Thanks again to Hamet, Jenny, Jon, Nicole, and Ryan for taking the time to share their thoughts!








Applications Open Today for Techstars Global Programs

Applications are now open for the Techstars accelerator. Apply now to join the Techstars network with more than 10,000 mentors, investors and founders. Deadline to apply is April 9, 2017 for the next session which kicks off in July 2017 in 11 locations across the globe.

We’ll also hold global info sessions to connect with the best startups and founders in the world. Stay tuned for more details on these events and how you can meet the Techstars teams from different programs.

When you apply, you can choose from any of the following locations and verticals:

  • Chicago
  • London
  • New York City
  • IoT
  • Kansas City NEW!
  • Los Angeles NEW!
  • Techstars Mobility (Detroit)
  • Techstars Retail, in partnership with Target (Minneapolis)
  • Techstars Atlanta, in partnership with Cox Enterprises
  • Techstars Adelaide (Australia) NEW!
  • Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars (Seattle) NEW!

Start here to apply. Check out our Application Toolkit for tips and resources to streamline your application!








Announcing the Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars

Techstars is excited to announce our expanded investment in the Seattle ecosystem with the Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars.

Offered in partnership with Amazon’s Alexa Fund, this program is designed to support early-stage companies advancing the state-of-the-art in voice-powered technologies, interfaces and applications, with a focus on Alexa domains such as connected home, wearables and hearables, enterprise, communication devices, connected car and wellness.

Applications for the Alexa Accelerator, powered by Techstars will open in January 2017 and the program kicks off in July. Techstars is excited to extend our partnership with Amazon, which has been a Global Network Partner for several years.

Seattle is a global center of excellence for conversational and voice-enabled interfaces, with major commercial and academic research centers including Amazon, the University of Washington and the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence driving rapid advances in the field.

Amazon’s Echo family of products has quickly become the world’s most widely-adopted voice-activated computing platform, and the underlying services — Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) and Alexa Voice Service (AVS) — are now the most widely embraced developer APIs for adding voice capabilities to any computing service.

Companies selected for this program will enjoy access to the most advanced technologies and will work with accomplished leaders working to advance the capabilities of voice interfaces and their enabling technologies.

The program will operate in the University of Washington’s Startup Hall, an innovation space located on the UW campus and operated in partnership between Techstars and the UW’s CoMotion innovation center.

If you’d like to be notified when applications open, please email us at alexa@techstars.com.








Announcing Techstars LA

Today we are thrilled to say that we are tripling down on Los Angeles with the launch of Techstars LA. Together with Techstars Music and Techstars Healthcare in partnership with Cedars-Sinai, Techstars LA will be our third active startup accelerator program in Los Angeles. Techstars is indeed #LongLA!

The startup ecosystem in Los Angeles is diverse and growing. Having been in LA for the better part of 11 years, I’ve witnessed this phenomenal change first hand. At the growth stage, Los Angeles is home to companies as varied as SpaceX to Snapchat to The Honest Company. At the early stage we are seeing an amazing distribution of startups working on all sorts of hard problems and opportunities.

Techstars LA will take a horizontal focus and will accept tech startups from around the world that are innovating across a wide range of industries and challenges and seeking to build a deep network across the Los Angeles tech ecosystem.

At Techstars, we’ve been committed to and engaged in Los Angeles for some time. We’ve been active investors in LA startups including involvement with Scopely, Realty Mogul, Home Hero, Two Bit Circus, and many more. We launched our first accelerator program in Los Angeles in 2014 with Disney Accelerator, powered by Techstars. And just this past summer, nearly every Techstars program across the USA had at least one LA-based company in attendance.

In 2016 alone, we have to-date invested in more than 15 LA-based startups across the global Techstars ecosystem. And our LA-alumni network will soon exceed 100 members. This active and growing network adds to our excitement in launching Techstars LA.

Applications for Techstars LA will open in January 2017 and the program will run beginning in July 2017.

If you’re a corporation interested in partnering with Techstars to bring this accelerator to LA, please email losangeles@techstars.com. If you are interested in applying to the program, please check out our Application Toolkit.








Announcing Techstars Kansas City

We’re excited to announce that we’re deepening our commitment to the rapidly emerging startup ecosystem in Kansas City with the launch of Techstars Kansas City. Applications will open in January 2017. We will select 10 startups and the program will begin in July 2017.

Lesa Mitchell will be the Managing Director and the program will run with a horizontal focus in a manner similar to our other accelerators in Boulder, Boston, Seattle, Austin, New York City, London and Berlin. Many of you should know Lesa as the former VP Innovation and Networks of the Kauffman Foundation and an alumni of Marion Laboratories.

Techstars has deep roots in Kansas City, going back to 2013 when Brad Feld (co-founder of Techstars) purchased a house (Feld Fiber House) for entrepreneurs in the Startup Village, then in 2014 when we ran the Sprint Accelerator with Sprint for three programs. We are excited to continue to support this thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem.

As a University of Kansas alum and having grown up in Kansas, I’m personally thrilled with this announcement today. Lesa is officially our third Jayhawk to take the reins at a Techstars program.

If you’re a corporation interested in partnering with Techstars to bring this accelerator to KC, please email info@techstars.com. If you’re interested in applying to the program, please check out the Application Toolkit.








Demo Day Round Up: Fall 2016

Fall is in full-swing here at Techstars with the addition of 64 new companies! Techstars recently had seven Demo Days across the globe, including Berlin, Mobility in Detroit, Barclays New York, London, Techstars Retail in partnership with Target in Minneapolis, New York City and Chicago. Phew!

Here’s a quick round up of the highlights:

Berlin Class of 2016

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Techstars Berlin’s second Demo Day, held at the iconic Kino International, showcased 10 companies from six different countries with products ranging from machine learning and AI, to SaaS and mobility.

Techstars Managing Director, Rob Johnson, opened the event and Executive Director, Greg Rogers, provided welcoming remarks. It was an exciting day to celebrate the 2016 class with investors, mentors and other founders from the Berlin startup community!

Congratulations to the Berlin Class of 2016!

 

Techstars Mobility, driven by Detroit Class of 2016

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Techstars Mobility hosted its second annual demo day in downtown Detroit on September 8. It was a showcase of the growing collaboration between startups and the automotive industry.

Over 2500 attendees from 12 different countries watched as 12 startups pitched their businesses impacting the future of automotive and transportation. These startups were building businesses around autonomous, connected vehicle, shared services, mapping, and big data and analytic technologies. Three of the 12 companies announced partnerships with the program’s title sponsor, Ford Motor Company.

The entire demo day was live streamed and that video can be watched on YouTube here.

Managing Director, Ted Serbinski, announced that Techstars Mobility has brought two additional high-growth startups to Detroit: Mapbox and Polysync, the latter of which is a Techstars Ventures investment. These companies will be opening their Detroit offices out of the Techstars Mobility space, joining Oblong who opened their Detroit office last year.

Bob Caza, Director of Communications at the North American International Auto Show, expanded on Techstars Mobility mission to expose more startups to Detroit by announcing that  we’re opening applications to bring 50+ mobility, automotive, and transportation startups to the 2017 Detroit Auto Show.

To capture this growth of the startup community, coupled with the entrepreneurial resurgence in Detroit, we debuted a trailer for Long Haul Films who is developing the documentary Restarting the Motor City. This is a feature-length documentary about the creators, innovators and entrepreneurs who are reimagining Detroit. They are breaking free from the shackles of 20th-century thinking to create a new model for cities across the globe.

Congratulations to the Mobility Class of 2016!

 

Barclays Accelerator, Powered by Techstars in New York Class of 2016

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Techstars Barclays NYC’s second Demo Day Event was held at the Edison Ballroom in the heart of the Theater District. Ten cutting-edge FinTech companies showcased products solving problems in real estate, capital markets, security, banking and the freelance economy.

Joe McGrath, the CEO of Barclays Americas, opened the evening with a warm welcome and recognition of the impact of Barclays’ programs around the world, which have seen collective valuations rise 190% from their pre-accelerator valuations.

Greg Rogers, Executive Director at Techstars, introduced the companies to the 600+ attendees including investors, mentors, Techstars alumni and community members. Jenny Fielding, the Managing Director, closed the event with a special thank you to mentors and Jon Zanoff, Entrepreneur in Residence, for their tireless devotion to this class and role in these companies’ success.

Congratulations to the Barclays New York Class of 2016!

 

London Class of 2016

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Led by Max Kelly, the Managing Director of Techstars London, the 2016 program kicked off with new offices, a new fund and a great new class. Within the class, one-third have PhDs and there are 19 separate nationalities! The variety of industries is astonishing – from grease to graph databases, from aid to artificial intelligence.

Each company presented their pitches to a packed venue during Demo Day, which took place on September 20 at the Royal Institution in London.

It is always exciting to be in the front seat of this kind of innovation.

Congratulations to the London Class of 2016!

 

Techstars Retail, in partnership with Target Class of 2016

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Techstars Retail’s first Demo Day, held at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, showcased eleven companies with products ranging from voice search, machine forecasting, visual registries and retail experience bots. More importantly, all these teams were able to demonstrate their accomplishments they achieved over the summer.

Techstars Managing Director, Ryan Broshar, welcomed almost 1,000 attendees then opened the evening with an inspiring message and fun facts about this year’s class. Target’s Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer, Casey Carl, shared welcoming remarks and reflected on his experience as a mentor. It was an exciting day to celebrate the 2016 class and the broader Twin Cities startup community!

Congratulations to the inaugural Techstars Retail Class of 2016!

 

New York City Class of 2016

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For the 2016 class, Techstars NYC experimented with a new take on Demo Day. Rather than live pitches Managing Director, Alex Iskold, introduced Exclusive Investor Preview and Investor Only Demo Day.

As with our previous classes, this was a diverse group of founders solving a wide range of problems. In addition to six 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 new Demo Day format was a hit among founders and mentors, and aligns with the spirit of innovation at Techstars.

Congratulations to the New York City Class of 2016!

 

Chicago Class of 2016

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Techstars Chicago’s seventh Demo Day, held at House of Blues in Chicago, showcased the latest ten startups selected from a pool of thousands of applicants. Companies ranged from a wearable hardware device enabling parents to keep track of their kids to enterprise and B2B software solutions, and showed both the diversity and high potential of the midwest startup ecosystem.

Techstars’ Managing Directors, Troy Henikoff and Brian Luerssen, along with Excelerate Labs co-founder, Sam Yagan, welcomed a packed house filled with notable investors and entrepreneurs. Chris Gladwin opened the afternoon with a keynote on the need for grit in operating his business to the recent 1.3 billion dollar sale of Cleversafe to IBM. It was an exciting day to celebrate the 2016 class and the broader Chicago startup community!

Congratulations to the Chicago Class of 2016!

 

Get a head start on your own entrepreneurial journey. Apply to an accelerator program. Applications close on October 15th.








7 reasons I’m Stoked for Techstars Music

Last week, we announced our latest Techstars offering for startups, Techstars Music. Music has been a notoriously challenging category for startups, but I’m beyond stoked. Here’s why:

Music Drives Culture

For many people, musical taste defines style and is a bedrock of personal identity. Boomers, Gen X, Millennials…the generations may be wildly different but the importance of music to youth culture, creativity, and consumer behavior has been as consistent as a John Bonham beat, or a Grandmaster Flash beat. Take your pick.

Music is Massive

What would Apple be without music? What would YouTube be without music? The size of the recorded music industry has changed over the years and consumption formats have evolved considerably, but the overall value that music as a category drives — including the indirect impact to businesses of all kinds — is massive.

Music Drives Innovation

Music and tech have been strange bedfellows over the last few decades. And yet arguably many of the greatest innovations in our lifetimes have been created out of or achieved mass adoption at least in part due to demand for music — in many cases completely outside the system. Peer-to-peer file sharing. Digital compression formats like MP3. Streaming media. Embedded video. Social media. Bluetooth. With innovation comes opportunity.

New Platforms are Here

Music went through a wave of massive change when the internet first arrived (Napster). And when social media first arrived (Myspace). And when mobile first arrived (Pandora). We’re just entering a new phase of change with transformational technologies including VR, AI, blockchain and more. It’s time for a new round of incredible new ideas that can change things all over again. Big new businesses will emerge accordingly.

Collaboration

Techstars Music is in partnership with organizations that can unlock immense value and powerful relationships for startups. Sony MusicWarner Music GroupSonosHarmonixQ PrimeBill Silva Entertainment, Young Guru’s Era of the Engineer, and Silva Artist Management. We’re bringing the industry together with the top startups in working in music today, and the industry is approaching the endeavor with a #givefirst spirit. The goal is to collaboratively drive the future of music together.

#LongLA

Los Angeles is having a special moment right now. An emergent technology community. A renaissance of art and culture. Unbridled creativity. Any startup looking to drive advancement in the culture industries needs to have strong ties to LA. Startups in this program will get plugged into LA in spades.

Bob Moz

Our Managing Director, Bob Moczydlowsky, is a lifelong friend and has dedicated his life to driving innovation around music. He thinks like a fan. He is the right person to shepherd the balance that this space will need to be truly special, and he has the relationships to bring a world class pool of mentors together from across the entrepreneurial world and the music industry to help the startups in this program in a truly unique and special way.

If you are building a technology business that even remotely has ties to how music is created, consumed, or distributed, you should check out Techstars Music. You’ll be glad you did.

This post was originally published on Medium

Don’t miss your chance to join a Techstars accelerator program – Applications close October 15. Apply today.








Techstars Accelerator Programs 2017: Global Info Sessions

Techstars is looking for the best startups from all over the world. Join us at one of our info sessions or office hours to meet our Managing Directors and learn more about our global programs.

Check out the schedule below and we look forward to meeting you!

Online Events:

In-Person Events:

EUROPE

LATAM

NORTH AMERICA

To learn more about the tour and specific event details, check out the Techstars Events page.