Celebrating the 10th Birthday of Techstars Startup Weekend

We’re celebrating the 10th Birthday of Techstars Startup Weekend. On July 7th, 2007, the first Startup Weekend was held in Boulder, Colorado with 80 entrepreneurs. In 10 years, we’ve grown to:

  • 13,837 organizers in 153 countries
  • 4,531 Startup Weekend events
  • 363,000+ Startup Weekend attendees
  • 45,375 Teams
  • $410M+ in funding secured

And we’re just getting started. We are so proud of the community and honored to see all the impact over the years. To celebrate our 10 years of events around the world, here are 10 of our favorite Startup Weekend stories:

  1. How Zapier came to be
  2. Solving grassroots problems in a Brazilian slum
  3. Historic Startup Weekend in Turkey/Armenia
  4. Syrian entrepreneurship thrives against all odds
  5. Easy Taxi Raises $40M Series D To Expand In Asia, Latin America
  6. Cuban Tech Scene on Display during First Startup Weekend in Cuba
  7. Mental health app Design My Day wins Startup Weekend Bali
  8. Pitch Like A Girl ; Empowering young girls to build companies and skills
  9. Pakistani Beauty Startup Clears the Way for Female Founders
  10. Four Ways Startup Weekend Changed my Life

We’ll be celebrating throughout the month and would love to see your favorite Startup Weekend story or picture, share with us online using #HappyBirthdaySW.

Thank you to everyone who’s played a part in this community. We wouldn’t be where we are today without all our great community leaders and Startup Weekend advocates around the world. Cheers to a bright future of more impact to come.

Techstars Expands Entrepreneurial Support in the Middle East with Dubai Accelerator

Today, Techstars announced a partnership with GINCO to bring an accelerator program to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Applications for the Techstars Dubai Accelerator in partnership with GINCO will open in July 2017 and the program will kick off in January 2018.

Techstars is a Worldwide Network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. Since 2011, over 500 entrepreneurs have participated in Techstars Startup Weekend Dubai and the company is excited to expand its presence in the Middle East with our mentorship-driven accelerator program.

GINCO is a company of Engineers founded in 1975 by Mr. Gheyath Mohammad Gheyath. Operating out of five branches across the Middle East, the GINCO Group of Companies employs over 4000 staff representing 13 nationalities.

GINCO is a full service general contracting firm, covering the full lifecycle of the construction process from concept to execution and supervision. GINCO works with the best known brands in the Middle East, including Dubai Municipality, Emaar, Dubai Properties, WASL, and Nakheel, among others.

GINCO recently launched GINCO Investments focused on supporting and nurturing the local SME community and empowering entrepreneurs with global ambitions.

Dubai is known for their leadership in technology innovation, so GINCO is looking for pioneering entrepreneurs leading innovative companies that are solving challenges in transportation, construction, wellness, IoT, robotics, and beyond.

Techstars is excited to partner with GINCO because of their focus on driving innovation in the region to align with the UAE Centennial 2071 initiatives. Believing that innovation is the future of human investment, the UAE Leadership emphasizes its importance across all sectors through the UAE Centennial 2071: “Innovation, research, science and technology will form the pillars of a knowledge-based, highly productive and competitive economy, driven by entrepreneurs in a business friendly environment where public and private sectors form effective partnerships.”

Applications open in July for the Techstars Dubai Accelerator in partnership with GINCO. Sign up for the Techstars newsletter for updates about the program.

Techstars and Comcast NBCUniversal Partner on LIFT Labs Accelerator in Philadelphia

Techstars is excited to announce Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by Techstars. The accelerator is an essential cornerstone of Comcast NBCUniversal’s LIFT Labs for Entrepreneurs program and will be based out of LIFT Labs PHL, located in the new Comcast Technology Center in Philadelphia when it opens in early 2018.

Techstars helps entrepreneurs succeed. By partnering with Comcast NBCUniversal, we will deliver our proven mentor-driven methodology to support companies focused on new innovations in media, entertainment and connectivity. Comcast NBCUniversal’s vision for supporting startups through LIFT Labs for Entrepreneurs aligns perfectly with Techstars’ focus on building businesses everywhere. We’re excited to bring our worldwide entrepreneurial network to Philadelphia, our 11th U.S. city and 18th global location.

Applications for the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by Techstars, will open in January 2018. For more information about the program visit ComcastNBCULIFT.com and to receive an update when applications are available, click here. If you have questions about the program, email us at ComcastNBCU@techstars.com.

Techstars Launches Accelerator in Toronto

As a Canadian native, I’m proud to announce that Techstars, a worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, is opening our first Canadian outpost in Toronto. We’re very thankful for all the help from Real Ventures, Canada’s most active early stage venture fund, for their assistance in making this happen. They’ve been a champion for us in the community and helped encourage us to make the leap into Canada. We’ll run our first accelerator program in Toronto in 2018, though we’ve been in Canada with our Startup Programs since 2010.

It’s no secret that Techstars has been active in the entrepreneurial community throughout Canada for a number of years. The speculation began when my co-founder David Cohen visited Toronto-Waterloo in 2014 and has been building since. The Toronto-Waterloo/Kitchener startup market is full of innovation, mentors and capital – the exact ingredients for a successful accelerator. We have several alumni companies with Canadian roots, including Vanilla Forums, Lean Systems, Mosaic, Kepler, Sprout Wellness, Shyft, and CuePath Innovations.

Techstars Toronto will have a horizontal focus and will operate like our other city programs, like Boulder, Austin, Boston and NYC. Since our inception in 2006, we have successfully operated more than 100 accelerator sessions and have more than 1,000 companies in our portfolio. We’re excited to build on this success with the entire Toronto-Waterloo/Kitchener ecosystem. Application and program details will be announced later in 2017.  

If you’d like to be notified about Techstars Toronto updates including when applications open, click here. If you have questions about the program, email us at Toronto@techstars.com.

Growing a Worldwide Network: Techstars Impact Report 2016

As we settle into 2017, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on all of the exciting stories across the Techstars network from last year. We are celebrating some big milestones as a company and as a community as we continue to grow our worldwide entrepreneur network!

This year marked our 10th anniversary, over 100 company exits, 1,000 companies in our portfolio, and 10,000 jobs created by those companies. Wow! We are not only excited by this impact, but it also fuels our passion to continue on our mission. We are proud of our growth over the past decade and look forward to what the future holds for next 10 years.

A few highlights from 2016 by the numbers:

  • Techstars companies have raised nearly $3 billion in total
  • The market cap for Techstars alumni is $7.8 billion
  • Seven new accelerator programs launched, including our first program in APAC, bringing us to 25 programs worldwide
  • Techstars Ventures made nearly 50 seed investments
  • Startup Week grew by six new countries (thanks to our Community Leaders!)
  • Eight amazing nonprofits received a grant from the Techstars Foundation

You’ll find these stories, data and more in this year’s Impact Report!

Thank you for everything you do to help build the Techstars worldwide entrepreneur network – let’s continue to stand together and make a difference in 2017!

Happy Holidays from Techstars

As the year comes to a close, we wanted to take a look back and celebrate everyone in the Techstars network who made it possible – the founders, mentors, community leaders, investors, and partners around the world.

We are a connected global ecosystem with one mission: to help entrepreneurs build great businesses. In every corner of the globe, we have people who are working hard to build startup communities and grow companies to strengthen this ecosystem.

Check out this video to learn a little more about what being an entrepreneur means to them, why they do it, and why “Give First” is the thing that keeps us all going.

Happy holidays from all of us at Techstars and wishing everyone a great 2017!

Negocios como fuerzas de bien: Techstars es ahora una B-Corp

Estamos emocionados de anunciar que Techstars, se ha convertido en una Corporación tipo B Certificada (B-Corp). Las B-Corps son un tipo nuevo de compañía que usan el poder de los negocios para resolver problemas sociales y ambientales.

Techstars siempre ha buscado maneras de ayudar a las comunidades, y fundadores, y a seguir uno de sus principios, Dar Primero a través de la Fundación de Techstars, Pledge 1% y nuestros esfuerzos de diversidad. Queremos continuar construyendo nuestra cultura, y convertirnos en una B-Corp fue el siguiente paso correcto para hacerlo.

Techstars fue certificado por el laboratorio sin ánimo de lucro B Lab, llegando a estándares rigurosos de desempeño social y ambiental, responsabilidad y transparencia. Hemos evaluado como nuestras prácticas impactan nuestra red extensa de empleados, comunidades, ambiente y clientes. 


“Una red extensa.
3,731 mentores activos; 2,452 fundadores; 5,307 inversionistas activos; 5,734 líderes de comunidad.
Finalidad de Techstars: Creemos que startups maravillosas pueden ser creadas en cualquier parte. Apoyando esta creencia, Techstars está construyendo el mejor ecosistema global para que fundadores traigan nuevas tecnologías al mercado.”

Los estándares de desempeño son comprensibles y transparentes. Miden el impacto que tiene una compañía en todos sus aliados (Por ejemplo: empleados, proveedores, comunidades y el ambiente). A diferencia de corporaciones tradicionales, las corporaciones certificadas tipo B están legalmente atadas a considerar el impacto de sus decisiones no sólo con sus accionistas, sino con sus aliados.

Nos unimos a otras 1,800 B-Corps alrededor del mundo, incluyendo New Belgium Brewing, Patagonia, Seventh Generation, Ben & Jerry’s, Kickstarter, Etsy, Warby Parker y Hootsuite.

También, nos unimos a otras B Corps Certificadas en Colorado, incluyendo nuestros amigos en Foundry Group, Rally Software (ahora CA Technologies), Namaste Solar, Simple Energy, y dojo4. Estamos orgullosos de unirnos en redefinir el éxito en negocios para que algún día todos usemos los negocios como fuerza para el bien.

En Techstars, creemos que una corporación con ánimo de lucro como Techstars puede también ser para bien y actuar responsablemente, y estamos orgullosos de unirnos a otras compañías con ánimo de lucro que se sienten de la misma manera y han hecho este compromiso. 

Alentamos a todas nuestras compañías del portafolio y a todos en la red de Techstars a unirse al movimiento.

Business as a Force for Good: Becoming a B Corp

We are excited to announce that Techstars recently became a Certified B Corporation. B Corps are a new type of company that use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. Techstars is always looking for ways to help the community, to help founders, and to Give First through the Techstars Foundation, Pledge 1% and our diversity efforts. We want to continue to build giving into our culture, and becoming a B Corp seemed like the right next step.

Techstars was certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. We’ve evaluated how our practices impact our extensive network of employees, our community, the environment, and our customers.


The performance standards are comprehensive and transparent. They measure a company’s impact on all its stakeholders (e.g. workers, suppliers, community, and the environment). Unlike traditional corporations, Certified B Corporations are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions not only on their shareholders, but also on their stakeholders.

We join over 1,800 other B Corps around the world including New Belgium Brewing, Patagonia, Seventh Generation, Ben & Jerry’s, Kickstarter, Etsy, Warby Parker and Hootsuite.

We also join 75 other Certified B Corps in Colorado including our friends over at Foundry Group, Rally Software (now CA Technologies), Namaste Solar, Simple Energy, and dojo4. We are proud to join them in redefining success in business, so that one day everyone uses business as a force for good.

At Techstars, we believe that a for profit corporation like Techstars can also be for good and behave responsibly, and we’re proud to join other for profit companies that feel that same way and have made this commitment.

We encourage all of our portfolio companies and everyone in the Techstars network to join the movement.

Why Having Co-CEOs is a Bad Idea, Almost Always

Recently, David Cohen and I both changed our titles to co-CEO of Techstars.

We’ve long preached that having two CEOs at a startup is a bad idea, so why did we do it?

First, why doesn’t it work?

Usually, it’s because it’s done for the wrong reasons. Often a company has co-CEOs because they have co-founders that don’t want to create a hierarchy between them; they want to view each other as equals. But in almost all cases, one CEO feels like they are carrying the other. This ultimately leads to founder issues, which is the leading cause of death for startups.

Even if they view each others as equals, that doesn’t mean that they always agree. When they don’t, who decides? Even worse, as the company grows, which CEO do people go to for decisions? Often, they will feel that they need to get buy-in from both, leading to slower decision making. Or, employees play mom against dad, finding which CEO will back their point of view. If one of the co-founders is technical, the titles should probably be CEO/CTO. If neither is technical, the real question may be “why not?”

In our case, this actually isn’t a change, it’s how we’ve always operated.

It works because we truly do view each other as equals. We’ve been working together for more than 25 years, across a variety of different startups. In our first company, Pinpoint Technologies, I was CEO and David was CTO (although we called it President and VP of R&D back then). At one point at Techstars, David was CEO and I was President. Most recently, we were both Managing Partners. None of those titles represent our reality, which is that regardless of our titles, we view each other as equals. We also know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and we know them well. We don’t divide up the work, it’s more that we know who is the tie breaker in any given situation.

Our only rule is that everyone needs only one yes and everyone gets only one no – you don’t have to ask permission from two people. Then we make sure we have great communication between the two of us.

As with most things in life, there are no universal truths. While I still don’t generally recommend it to others, it works for us. It takes a long history together and a deep understanding of the other person. Think about where you need to break convention in your business to find success.

Techstars + UP Global: One Year Later

It was just a year ago that Techstars acquired UP Global and its programs, Startup Weekend, Startup Week, Startup Next and Startup Digest.

When we made this announcement, our intention was to leverage each other’s areas of expertise and combine resources to provide more sustainable support for startup communities and entrepreneurs around the world.

The first year for us was one focused primarily on observation and listening. We onboarded and integrated the incredibly talented UP Global team. We talked to a lot of you about what was working and what you’d like to see improved.

We’ve learned so much from this experience. It went better than we expected, it was harder than we thought, and we are still working hard. Startup Program Community Leaders continued their powerful work by putting on over a thousand events in more than 600 cities last year. We launched our nonprofit, the Techstars Foundation, as well as adding eight new accelerator programs bringing us to a total of 22 worldwide.

Now is the year of action and improvement.

We’ve aligned global summits with our annual founder conferences (FounderCon) in the US and Europe, updated startup program websites, increased transparency, and are connecting Community Leaders to the Techstars network.  

We are working to improve communication as well as to build better connections and tools for Community Leaders and the communities they serve.

We are still on a mission to build a world where entrepreneurs can find like-minded individuals who share a passion and community for entrepreneurship. We’re moving into a new phase to bring even more value and resources to the Entrepreneur’s Journey across our Startup Programs and Accelerator Programs.

Thanks to everyone who’s been a part of this so far. Stay tuned for more!