The Key to Fortune 500 Survival is Actually Embracing the Disrupters

Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, announced today two new ways that will help Fortune 500 companies engage faster with the Techstars Network to drive innovation and disruption in their industries: Techstars Network Engagement Program and Techstars Innovation Bootcamp.

Long known for its worldwide mentorship-driven accelerator programs, Techstars created the new programs to help large corporations confront the threat of disruption to their businesses faster. Techstars has more than 1,600 startups in its accelerator portfolio with a market cap of more than $16 billion. By connecting early-stage companies with larger corporations looking for innovative solutions, Techstars is helping startups in our network succeed, while also helping large corporations stay closer and engage earlier and more effectively with disruptive innovations.   

How? Through two way mentorship. Startup founders provide insights and technology solutions that represent the disruption that large corporations are seeking. Corporations are able to offer startups business development opportunities, market insights, proof of concepts and potentially investments. It’s a win-win partnership.

Take Amazon’s acquisition of PillPack (a Techstars company). PillPack, a tiny start up, moved the entire global pharmaceutical market, putting companies like Walgreens and CVS in danger of losing enormous portions of their core business because they weren’t thinking ahead or outside of the box. Techstars’ new programs puts disruptors in direct contact with large corporates so that they can work together to solve business challenges before they’re in competition with each other.

About Techstars Network Engagement Program

Techstars Network Engagement Program provides corporate partners with unparalleled access to the Techstars worldwide network of entrepreneurs. Techstars Network Engagement Program helps partners identify internal challenges, implement proof-of-concept solutions, scale new technologies and expand their portfolios.

“By partnering with Techstars, we’re able to take advantage of their proven ability to source and support the world’s most promising startup founders and help them achieve lift-off through initial investment, business development and mentoring. Through local engagement with QBE subject-matter expertise and leaders, we hope to provide a strong network of mentors and supporters to help Techstars entrepreneurs succeed – at every stage of their journey,” Ted Stuckey, Managing Director of QBE Ventures.

About Techstars Innovation Bootcamp

Techstars Innovation Bootcamp is a 54-hour internal innovation event that empowers employees at large corporations with an intense, yet fun, process to help identify and rapidly advance new business concepts. Cross-functional teams pitch business innovations to a panel of judges at the end of the 3-days with a goal of further advancing their ideas. Techstars Innovation Bootcamp creates a culture for advancing entrepreneurial ideas, learning startup methodologies, and rapidly advancing new business concepts.

“Equinor piloted our first Techstars Innovation Bootcamp in London earlier this year and, after a successful program, we rolled out additional programs in Stavanger, Oslo, and Houston.

The Techstars Innovation Bootcamps have had three benefits: (1) Exposing Equinor employees to the startup business culture (i.e. toolkit, mentors, pace of delivery), (2) Rapidly assembling a meaningful portfolio of investible innovations and (3) Strengthening the engagement between the Corporate Innovation Function and the Business Lines.

The co-ownership with Techstars on bootcamp outcomes and the ability to create a healthy tension between startup business practices and corporate expectations have been keys to our success.” Laurent Poncet, Head of Business Model Innovation at Equinor.

Learn more about Techstars Network Engagement Program and Techstars Innovation Bootcamp.

Techstars Opens Third Accelerator in Denver Area

Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, and Western Union Company (NYSE: WU), a leader in cross border, cross currency money movement, have come together to spur the next generation of disruption in the fintech sector with a focus on payments and seamless global money transfer, and are pleased to announce the Western Union Accelerator Powered by Techstars. This is the third mentorship-driven accelerator program for Techstars in the Denver-metro area, following Techstars Boulder Accelerator and Techstars Sustainability Accelerator in Partnership with The Nature Conservancy.

Entrepreneurs in the program will create innovative solutions to some of the industry’s latest challenges including ML/AI, crypto and blockchain technologies, analytics and omni-channel platforms while leveraging both the start-up industry’s leading minds complemented with the corporate experience of Western Union’s executives.

Western Union and Techstars encourage all fintech, payments and related field startups addressing digital customer experience, point-of-sale solutions, fraud prevention, global identification, cross border transaction processing, digital wallets, and related technologies to apply to the accelerator program.

By partnering with a global company like Western Union, Techstars can foster the right connections for a multitude of startups and help them gain access to the mentorship and resources they need to succeed. Colorado is already one of the leading technology centers in the world, led by companies like Western Union. This partnership will foster innovation and help change the fortunes of young innovators locally and globally by bringing their ideas to life for people around the world.

Applications will open in December 2018 with the program kicking off in June 2019. Companies interested in applying are encouraged to check out the Techstars Application Toolkit.

Doubling Down on Innovation in Indy: Announcing Techstars Sports Accelerator, Powered by Indy

Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, and the SportsTech founding partners Next Level Fund, Indiana Sports Corp, NCAA and Pacers Sports & Entertainment and supporting partners the Indianapolis Colts, Verizon IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, are joining together to bring a new mentorship-driven accelerator program to Indianapolis: Techstars Sports Accelerator Powered by Indy.

The three-year accelerator program will launch at the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 in May of 2019 and will support innovative startups across many sectors, stages and business models aiming to combat issues in sports technology.

The Techstars Indy team will source, select and accelerate 10 of the most-talented companies in the following potential areas: fan participation, player/driver safety, ticketing, merchandising, athlete performance management, athlete wellness, among others. The accelerator provides startup founders with mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs and industry experts, and the chance to pitch to angel investors and venture capitalists at the culmination of the 13 weeks.

The Techstars Sports Accelerator will have a key focus on innovation with goals to foster early identification of key trends for future technology in sport; meaningful engagement with early-stage sports tech companies; embrace technologies and business models that will impact the sports industry; and enhance a culture of internal innovation and the spirit of entrepreneurship.

Applications will open in December 2018 with the program kicking off in May 2019. Companies interested in applying are encouraged to check out the Techstars Application Toolkit.

Innovation in Indianapolis: Announcing The Heritage Group Accelerator Powered by Techstars

Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, and The Heritage Group’s (THG) New Ventures Group today announced The Heritage Group Accelerator Powered by Techstars. This new mentorship-driven accelerator program will be based in Indianapolis and kicks off in September 2019.

The Heritage Group Accelerator Powered by Techstars will select a group of 10 startup companies from applications from around the world — including the most promising local and regional early-stage ventures. The companies will gather in Indianapolis for an intensive three-month program of research and development, mentorship and collaboration at The Center – THG’s state-of-the-art office space.

Led by a Techstars Managing Director and staff, and augmented by THG New Ventures personnel, the experience will culminate in a Demo Day wherein every company will pitch its newly polished business to an audience of venture capitalists, corporate innovation leaders and industry experts. The goal is to facilitate venture investment in the companies while broadening and energizing the local entrepreneurial community.

Applications for the first Heritage Group Accelerator Powered by Techstars will open in early 2019, with a focus on companies innovating in the materials science, environmental services and specialty chemicals fields. Companies interested in applying are encouraged to check out the Techstars Application Toolkit.

Applications Open: Join the Worldwide Network

“Becoming part of Techstars on my third startup, it poured fuel on the fire, made everything go faster. I don’t care how many startups you’ve been in, you’re always learning, so it’s a discovery phase, and Techstars makes stuff happen.”

—Alexander Griffiths, CEO of SocialCrunch

Techstars is the worldwide network that helps  entrepreneurs succeed. Over the past 11, years more than 1,500 companies have participated in our mentorship-driven accelerator programs and have grown and raise over $5.5 billion in funding,. We’re continuing our mission and are sourcing the next  wave of promising entrepreneurs to join our worldwide network! Our managing directors and program staff look forward to to meeting your team and discovering your company’s potential.

Today, applications are open for multiple Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator programs,  around the world. Apply now to take the next step in your journey and join the Techstars Worldwide Network with more than 10,000 mentors, partners, investors and founders.

We are also excited to open applications for five new programs: Alchemist Blockchain Techstars Accelerator, Arcadis City of 2030 Accelerator powered by Techstars, BSH Future Home Accelerator Powered by Techstars, Techstars Bangalore Accelerator, and Techstars Lisbon in partnership with Semapa Next.

In every Techstars program you’ll work alongside companies in your program who are similarly accelerating their businesses. We create an environment that is conducive to helping your startup every day by surrounding you with people who will mentor, inspire, and challenge you. Listen to stories about our founders from Techstars alumni companies like SendGrid, ClassPass, and DigitalOcean.

We will be announcing details for information sessions and online events where you can connect with Techstars founders leading innovative startups, as well as mentors who have the experience and proven track record to help you succeed. Be on the lookout for more details soon.

Applications are open today., You can choose from any of the following locations and verticals:

Start here to apply to Techstars. For tips and resources on the application process, check out our Application Toolkit.

Techstars Opens Portuguese Mentorship-Driven Accelerator with Semapa Next

Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, and Semapa Next, the venture capital business unit of the Semapa Group, are partnering to bring a new mentorship-driven accelerator program to Lisbon, Portugal: Techstars Lisbon Accelerator in partnership with Semapa Next. Semapa Next is the Venture Capital arm of Semapa, a leading diversified Portuguese group, listed in the Lisbon Stock Exchange with two of the most significant market caps. Hugo Augusto will be the managing director for the accelerator program.

Techstars has long had a presence in Lisbon through the Techstars Startup Weekend, dating back to 2011 and a sizeable number of Techstars accelerator alumni are Portuguese companies. These alumni are part of a growing but highly experienced mentor pool that has contributed to the recent rise of Portuguese unicorns (Farfetch and Outsystems) and billions of dollars raised from startups to scale-ups (Unbabel, Veniam, Feedzai, among others).

Semapa can mobilize a wide array of strategic partnerships with leading local and international corporations to provide access to piloting opportunities, distribution channels and additional mentoring. The mentorship-driven accelerator program will invest in startups that develop innovative products, technologies and business models resulting in a significant digital transformation in companies and people’s lives.

Techstars and Semapa Next will invest in startups that are bringing Digital Transformation to the following key areas:

Industrial & Environmental Tech startups that use deep technology such as AI or Machine Learning to transform the core processes of industrial businesses with strong supply chain operations, manufacturing plants, and extensive distribution networks.

Smart Transportation startups that use technology to create and deliver new mobility solutions to transform the logistic processes of businesses and the way people and vehicles move within and around cities.

Travel & Leisure Tech startups that use technology to radically transform current business processes in the Travel & Tourism industry and leverage technology to rethink the way tourists travel, explore tourist destinations and live new experiences.

Applications for the Techstars Lisbon Accelerator in partnership with Semapa Next open today and the program will start in March 2019. For entrepreneurs interested in applying, please check out the application toolkit.

Techstars Partners with Alchemist to Launch Blockchain Accelerator in NYC

Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, and Alchemist, a global blockchain advisory group, are partnering to bring a new mentorship-driven accelerator program to New York City: Alchemist Blockchain Techstars Accelerator. Yossi Hasson of Techstars and Steven Nerayoff of Alchemist will lead the program along with other mentors and experts from both companies.

The dedicated blockchain accelerator program will focus on blockchain infrastructure and protocol development, cryptocurrencies, security, and distributed applications in finance, IoT, education, real estate, retail, insurance, energy, health and wellness, and more. The accelerator program will address challenges that blockchain founders face when trying to build and scale their blockchain business as well as give them access to expert mentors.

Alchemist Blockchain Techstars Accelerator will help founders gain access to expertise in the nascent – yet rapidly growing – cryptocurrency and blockchain industry, helping them do more faster. Selected companies will not only benefit from resources across Techstars and Alchemist’s ecosystems, but will also have the opportunity to work closely with leading market players in the blockchain industry.

Techstars has long been investing in blockchain technology, with more than a dozen successful companies already in its portfolio. The move to launch a dedicated blockchain accelerator in New York City acknowledges the specific challenges that blockchain founders face when trying to build and scale their blockchain business. These challenges include: complex regulatory environments, rapidly changing technology landscapes, token design, community building, and difficulties attracting talent. Alchemist Blockchain Techstars Accelerator aims to help founders address these challenges by creating a program that gives them access to Techstars’ and Alchemist’s worldwide mentors.

Applications for the Alchemist Blockchain Techstars Accelerator will open on July 23, 2018 and the program will start in February 2019. For entrepreneurs interested in applying to Techstars Blockchain Accelerator, join our Telegram Group and please check out the application toolkit.

In addition, the team will include Maja Vujinovic, a blockchain pioneer, investor and former CIO of Emerging Tech at GE Digital, and Gary Rubinoff, a seasoned venture capitalist nurturing emerging companies into category leaders for the past 25 years.

Techstars Continues European Expansion with New Mentorship-driven Accelerator Program in Munich

Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, today announced a new partnership with BSH, one of the leading home appliance manufacturers worldwide, to bring a new mentorship-driven accelerator program to Munich, Germany: BSH Future Home Accelerator Powered by Techstars. Techstars has a long history in Germany, dating back to our first Techstars Startup Weekend in 2010. This is the fifth Techstars Mentorship-driven Accelerator program in Germany, following successful accelerator programs in Berlin.

The Techstars team with Tibor Kramer, Venture and Accelerator Partner at BSH Home Appliances Corporation

BSH and Techstars are looking for innovative startup companies from around the globe that will bring pioneering technologies to change the way digital consumers live, cook and do housework, especially in the heart of the future home  – the connected kitchen. The companies will be supported throughout the Techstars Mentorship-driven Accelerator program with educational content and by a team of mentors who bring subject-matter expertise, business connections and access to resources.

BSH is one of the world’s most successful home appliance manufacturers, with global brands like Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, and Neff and have established industry leading standards through BSH Home Connect technology. The selected companies will benefit from BSH experience and knowledge, as well as an installed base of more than a million connected home appliances.

Applications for the accelerator open on July 23rd 2018 and the program kicks off in Munich, Germany in February 2019. Startups interested in applying should review the Application Toolkit.

Techstars Expands European Accelerator Footprint with Arcadis City of 2030 Accelerator in Amsterdam

Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, today announced a new partnership with Arcadis, the leading design and consultancy for natural and built assets, to bring the Arcadis City of 2030 Accelerator, Powered by Techstars program to Amsterdam, furthering Techstars expansion of accelerators around the world.

Techstars has long had a presence in Amsterdam through the Techstars Startup Weekend and Techstars Startup Digest programs, dating back to 2010. Techstars also has a strong presence in the Netherlands as a whole, thanks to Techstars accelerator alumni companies, mentors, 36 Techstars Startup Weekends and 3,741 Techstars Startup Program attendees.

Startup companies selected for the Techstars Mentorship-driven Accelerator Program will bring pioneering technologies that will revolutionize the construction and engineering industries, including how people move around cities and the associated infrastructure need. Techstars and Arcadis will support the companies in program by providing content and a team of mentors who bring  subject-matter expertise, business connections and industry insights on innovative solutions that will help these companies do more faster.

The smart city industry is ripe for disruption. McKinsey research projects the smart city industry to be a $400 billion market by the end of this decade with more than 600 cities worldwide. These connected cities are expected to generate 60 percent of the world’s GDP by 2025.

Applications open in July 2018 and the program will kick off in February 2019. If you’re interested in applying, please check out the application tool kit.

Inclusion & Diversity, Why It Matters To Techstars

Our journey to fill the role of VP of I&D at Techstars has taken a number of years, but some of the most enlightening moments came from interviewing the fantastic dozen or so finalists we lined up for the position.

One of those moments came in a discussion of the importance of inclusion in any D&I initiative. It was like a lightbulb went off for me. Inclusion was a word that felt true to what I wanted for Techstars and our portfolio.

I grew up in Montreal, Canada, a society where inclusion was celebrated. We learned in high school that Canada was a cultural mosaic – a country made up of many cultures – and the differences between the cultures were to be celebrated.

We would go to the various neighborhoods in Montreal, the Greek neighborhood, the Chinese neighborhood, the Jewish neighborhood, and more. Not just to eat at the restaurants (although we did that too), but to experience the life and culture of as many different people as possible.

That was life in Canada, we accepted everyone. We had a gay prime minister and it wasn’t even a news story. I can’t imagine that in the United States. One of my favorite stories involves of one of my oldest friends, Louis (hi, Louis!). He was the first of my friends to meet a girl and settle down. It has been one of the great love affairs of all time, and 30 year later, when their kids moved out of the house, was when they decided that maybe they should celebrate by getting married. It never mattered there, but it sure would here.

So that inspired me to change the title of the role we were looking to fill here at Techstars from Diversity & Inclusion to Inclusion & Diversity. It’s not my original idea – it’s been done before. But I thought it might cause us to pause a bit and ask why. It would give me the chance to tell my story on why the word “inclusion” resonated with me.

Diversity is important, but will be a wasted effort if you don’t allow people to bring their whole self to work, whatever that might be. Creating an inclusive work environment will bring more diversity to your organization.

Welcome Jason Thompson to Techstars

To continue with our initiative, we are excited to announce that Techstars has hired Jason Thompson as our new VP of I&D. Jason has had a long career in Diversity and Inclusion, most recently with the US Olympic Committee.

Jason has developed award winning D&I programs for sports organizations, healthcare and higher education. In 2016, the D&I Scorecard Jason developed to measure diversity for the National Governing Bodies within the US Olympic Movement was recognized as the number one innovation at the 13th Annual International Innovation in Diversity Award by the Profiles in Diversity Journal.

We made public our commitment to diversity as part of our attendance at the White House demo day event three years ago, but we started on our initiatives well before that.

Techstars has both implemented and learned a lot over this time period. We have tried many things, some have worked and some haven’t, at least not yet. But what has remained unchanged is our commitment to creating an inclusive and diverse environment, and to serve as a role model to others.

Jason, we’re happy to have you on this journey with us.