Building an Investor Pipeline Spreadsheet: Keep Your Funding Flowing!

As the Managing Director of Techstars NYC and investor in 120+ companies, I’ve helped dozens of early stage companies connect with investors. But all too often I’ve watched founders struggle with fundraising —- pitching the wrong deal, to the wrong investor, at the wrong time. It’s painful to watch (and even worse for the founder!) and mostly avoidable with a simple process for staying organized and tracking the investor pipeline funnel. 

Before founders hit the fundraising trail, they need to spend significant time researching the most relevant investors for their company. This takes time, triangulating sources of information and tapping into their networks. I encourage founders to build out a comprehensive Investor Pipeline Spreadsheet as a first step in running an efficient and effective fundraising process. 

So, why did I create 55 slides just to explain the methodology? Well, it was the easiest way that I could think of to break down the process and present a step by step guide. Now, before you ask me to brainstorm on the best investors for your startup or ask for introductions to investors, please walk through the slides, build out the spreadsheet and then share it with me!

Access the Building an Investor Pipeline Spreadsheet here!

Catch my AMA on December 5, 2019 where I will walk through the format in greater detail and an opportunity to ask me questions about the process and fundraising.

Special thanks to Techstars NYC Program Manager Austin Crouse and Program Associate Tim Nugmanov for their awesome help putting together the slides. 








Focus on Founders: Techstars NYC Demo Day

The Techstars NYC 2019 Class at Demo Day
The Techstars NYC 2019 Class at Demo Day

Demo day is a Techstars tradition—and the culmination of 12 intense weeks.

It’s also a forcing function for the 10 amazing companies in the program to deploy pilots, grow their customers, and secure funding. Managing Directors at Techstars put their own spin on demo day and this year Techstars NYC decided to go big! In partnership with Google Cloud, we pulled off a one-day, conference-style event, Start New York, that included pitches and panels focused on the founder journey. 

Looking around NYC, we noticed a bunch of tech events for specific verticals and themes, but none purely focused on founders. With that in mind, we set out to create a unique day for the broader NYC tech community. Lucky for us, a fantastic event space, The Shed at Hudson Yards, just opened and we were able to snag a spot there. Although Hudson Yards can be a hike, everyone in NYC seems curious about The Shed (and its ‘nestable’ roof), so we thought that would be a draw. And it was! In fact, we had to close registration a few days early when the guest list hit 1200!

This year, we decided to shake up the pitch format by adding a live panel of experts to keep the founders on their toes. After a quick three minute pitch, our experts, including Rebecca Kaden, Beth Ferreira, Aaron Holiday and Anthony Ha, grilled the founders on everything from customer acquisition to market size to competitive landscape, which kept things lively. 

The full day of programming moved on to panel sessions, including the state of the NYC startup ecosystem, verticals like retail, health and wellness, and frontier tech, and demos from innovative companies across the city.

Founders don’t build startups alone. It takes an entire community: mentors, talent, investors, corporations, universities—everyone. We’re grateful to be part of one of the most vibrant and powerful startup communities in the world, and we wanted this event to celebrate the city that makes Techstars NYC possible.

We couldn’t be more proud of the 10 companies that graduate Techstars NYC 2019 this week: Cube, Every Mother, gablex, Hacware, Lou, realworld, SmartHop, SquarePlan, Wagmo, and Wise. They represent the best that this city has to offer, and we know they will go on to greatness.








Connecting Women VCs: Building Community and a Better Future

Female investors have always kept discreet lists of other women angels and VCs. We circulate local lists amongst us, created Google spreadsheets and Whatsapp groups in an effort to create community, share deals, and support each other in a male-dominated industry. 

“Our mission with the global directory of women in VC is to give women around the world the tools to better find each other, connect, and collaborate.” —Jessica Peltz-Zatulove

These efforts have been effective—but fragmented and mostly very localized. For this reason, I was particularly excited when Jessica Peltz-Zatulove and Sutian Dong started the Women in VC community several years ago and catalyzed it this year with a searchable database and Slack group. The Global Women in VC Directory now includes 1700+ women investors—at institutional funds, CVCs, family offices, and impact funds—across 1,000+ funds in 46 countries and 110+ cities globally. More than 50% of all women in the VC ecosystem are part of the community.

At Techstars, we share many of the same objectives as Women in VC, including a desire to connect founders to a diverse set of mentors and investors. So today we are excited to announce that Techstars and Women in VC have partnered to grow the number of women mentors across the Techstars ecosystem!

“Our mission with the global directory of women in VC is to give women around the world the tools to better find each other, connect, and collaborate,” said Jessica Peltz-Zatulove, co-creator of the Women in VC directory and Partner at MDC Ventures. “We believe creating a community-based support system is necessary to set more women up for success; it’s not only about actively recruiting more women investors, it’s about keeping the ones we have in the industry—part of that is helping to elevate their voices within their local communities. We’re thrilled to be partnering with Techstars globally to support their mission of diversity and inclusion.”

I’ve been an avid user of the Women in VC Slack community since the launch and have connected with dozens of female investors from London to Singapore, Chicago to LA. Increasing access to other women investors means that I can share deals with them and get them involved with the founders that we work with. 

“We believe creating a community-based support system is necessary to set more women up for success.” —Jessica Peltz-Zatulove

Techstars Includes is our initiative to increase diversity and inclusion in the Techstars Network and entrepreneurship communities. This partnership is intended to leverage the Women in VC community to invite and recruit more female investors to join the Techstars mentor network, working toward our continued commitment to diversity and inclusion. 

Techstars is committed to developing and supporting underrepresented entrepreneurs by fostering an inclusive Techstars Network. For the initial roll out, we will focus on New York, Los Angeles, London, Singapore, Detroit, Atlanta, Seattle, Boston, Denver/Boulder, Berlin, and Austin. Women in VC will also be a part of the Techstars Affiliate Program—an opportunity for any global Women in VC member to refer founders to any Techstars mentorship-driven accelerator program and fast-track their application process.








Please welcome the Techstars NYC 2019 class!

Today we announce the 10 companies joining Techstars NYC this summer, and we couldn’t be more excited for the next 13 weeks!

Building on our initiative to further grow the NYC entrepreneurial ecosystem, we selected a diverse group of founders looking to build products, grow their businesses, and take advantage of the deep bench of resources that NYC has to offer. Half of the companies joining the program are from NYC, with the other half hailing from the Bay Area, Dallas, Miami, and Boston.

During our recruiting season, we made a big push to reach out to diverse founders and partnered with several organizations who helped our efforts. As a result, six out of the 10 CEOs in the class are women—a Techstars NYC first. We’re committed to making the program inclusive and representative of the city we call home.

This year we’ve also invested in a broad range of verticals, from insurance to media, banking to mobility, proptech to wellness. While the program is not thematic, we placed a special emphasis on ‘world positive’ companies led by founders looking to make a positive impact on society. We could not be more proud of the mission-driven founders joining this class. 

Earlier this year I took over Techstars NYC and received an outpouring of encouragement from mentors, alumni, investors, and community members. This program would not happen without all of them, and we are truly grateful for all the support. We also received many applicant referrals this year and would like to specifically thank Joel Wish,, Maria Palma, Matt Kozlov, Ari Newman, Scott Hartley, Hugh Geiger, and Mark Solon for referring companies that joined the program. 

Welcome to the new class: we are thrilled to have you in the Techstars family!

Cube

Cube is intuitive financial planning & analysis software that empowers finance teams & businesses to deliver smarter, faster insights.

cubesoftware.com

Every Mother

Every Mother is a subscription-based solution that provides robust, research-backed exercise programming to meet the needs of modern mothers.

every-mother.com

gablex

Gablex is a voice-first, conversational AI platform to help SMBs automate their most repetitive tasks.

gablex.ai

Hacware

Hacware is an AI driven training and security software that protects employees from phishing emails.

hacware.com

LOU

LOU makes it easy for companies to upgrade their lengthy help centers with code-free interactive tutorials that guide users through their work.

louassist.com

Real World Playbook

Real World Playbook helps recent college grads transition to adulthood by providing helpful resources, educational materials, and products from trusted vendors.

realworldplaybook.com

SmartHop

SmartHop is an autonomous dispatcher for truckers to plan, search, and book loads.

smarthop.co

SquarePlan

SquarePlan is a virtual property manager for residential real estate that uses automation to streamline communication.

thesquareplan.com

Wagmo

Wagmo is a monthly membership plan that makes it easy to be a great pet parent through reimbursements for everyday expenses like vaccinations, grooming, and more.

wagmo.io

Wise

Wise is a digital banking and growth platform tailored to small business needs.

wise.us








And Now for Something New and Different… Announcing the New Techstars NYC Managing Director

In 2006, I left the corporate world to launch my first startup. At the time, most people thought I was crazy, walking away from a promising career in law and finance to pursue a dream. People more familiar with startups encouraged me to move to Silicon Valley, where venture capital money grew on trees and tech talent congregated in cafes. So I made a few pilgrimages West but ultimately decided to stick it out in NYC and cobble together whatever resources and community I could find. These were the days before accelerators and coworking spaces, when you had to pay the local angel groups just to pitch. Needless to say, running a startup in NYC had its challenges.

Techstars launched its first NYC program in 2011, and in so doing helped to catalyse the local tech ecosystem. I remember meeting David Tisch, the original Managing Director for Techstars New York, and feeling encouraged that the burgeoning tech scene had a new resource that was founder-friendly and fueled by #givefirst.

Fast forward to now, when NYC is well known as a thriving startup ecosystem and the highest performing startup city outside of Silicon Valley. Local startups can now attract world class talent, and they have plentiful access to venture capital, corporate partners, and customers. Techstars has played an important part in the development of the local NYC startup community, having run 23 accelerator programs in the area, helped more than 265 companies #domorefaster, and supported nearly 500 local alumni founders including Plated, Classpass, DigitalOcean, Pilot, Latch, Chainalysis, and many more.

So, what’s next?

Today, I’m pleased to announce that I will be doubling down on my commitment to the NYC tech community as the next Managing Director of Techstars New York, continuing the work and incredible legacy of my long time colleague and friend, Alex Iskold. Having run several Techstars corporate programs including Techstars IoT, Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars in NYC, and Cedars-Sinai Accelerator, Powered by Techstars, I’m now excited to focus on the people and institutions that make up this dynamic city.

My goal is to build even deeper ties with local organizations that foster community and promote inclusivity. I cofounded The Fund, a community focused venture fund investing exclusively in New York founders and supported by some of the brightest operators in New York—making me fully convinced that the next wave of great companies will be built here. New York is one of the most diverse cities in the world, and Techstars is committed to having founders, mentors, partners, and program staff who reflect this mix of people and cultures. Further supporting this mission of inclusion, Techstars continues to deepen relationships with the many universities and civic initiatives that foster innovation. My own experience teaching undergraduates at Columbia University, as well as the Techstars partnership with Blackstone LaunchPad, underscores both my and Techstars dedication to inspiring and encouraging the next generation of young innovators.

New York, I can’t wait to see what we do together next.

New York is one of the most dynamic cities in the world, where the possibilities are endless and the resources plentiful. Techstars New York opens applications on January 7, 2019, and the program kicks off in mid-July. If you want learn more about the program or be involved in building the future of Techstars New York, our doors are open! Please be in touch.








Presenting the Fourth Class of the Cedars-Sinai Accelerator, Powered by Techstars

We are excited to announce the companies joining the Cedars-Sinai Accelerator, Powered by Techstars 2018 class. This is the fourth program combining the extensive Techstars network with the resources and community of Cedars-Sinai, a world class provider system.

As we continue to build on the momentum of our last three classes, we want to sincerely thank our incredible group of mentors who are deeply committed to supporting our founders as they transform healthcare as we know it.

It’s also amazing to be part of the burgeoning technology ecosystem here in Los Angeles, which includes Techstars Music and Techstars LA. Together, we are building an enduring community of founders and companies, all working to transform industries and improve lives.

Please welcome the Cedars-Sinai Accelerator, Powered by Techstars companies:

Nicolette: Nicolette helps guide new parents in comprehending and following the care plan for their newborn in the NICU. The application provides parents up-to-date clinical information and education about their newborn in a clear, easy to understand format.

Sopris: Sopris uses voice recognition, natural language processing, and machine learning to automatically translate doctor-patient interactions into clinical notes. The Sopris app allows clinicians to focus more fully on their patients: the app listens to the conversation during a visit and automatically summarizes relevant clinical information, reducing the amount of time required for documentation and data entry.

ALIS Health: ALIS Health supports physicians by providing guidance in ordering appropriate diagnostic testing for patients. Using information about an individual patient, ALIS offers recommendations for appropriate testing, and connects providers to certified laboratories to complete the tests, with an initial focus on genetic testing and women’s health.

CardioCube: CardioCube provides at-home support to patients with chronic heart disease, using a voice-enabled, interactive platform to allow patients to track symptoms and receive guidance and education. The platform also shares patient-reported symptoms with their cardiologist, resulting in more effective home monitoring.

kēlaHealth: kēlaHealth uses patient-specific information, along with machine learning capabilities, to identify potential surgical complications and offer specific recommendations to surgeons about steps to reduce risk and minimize potential complications.

MedPilot: MedPilot supports health system billing departments by using data science and behavioral targeting to recommend patient engagement methods, personalize communications and resolve outstanding balances.

Digital Medical Tech: Digital Medical Tech has created a platform to allow health systems to proactively track medical devices and equipment. Using Bluetooth technology, Digital Medical Tech’s real time location system provides monitoring and management of a wide variety of medical assets, while requiring less infrastructure and shorter installation time than typical tracking solutions.

SureConsent: SureConsent helps clinicians, patients, and hospitals by presenting patient consent information and forms in an patient-friendly format, with video, animations, and follow-up questions to ensure comprehension. SureConsent also uses electronic signatures to capture and manage completed forms.

Relatable: Relatable helps clinicians and administrators analyze and manage the medical products that they are using, by providing an interactive database of product specifications, which allows users to easily find detailed and specific information, as well as compare similar products. By centralizing and standardizing this information, Relatable allows users to be more efficient in making product decisions.








Applications for the Cedars-Sinai Accelerator powered by Techstars 2018 Program Are Open

I’m excited to share that the Cedars-Sinai Accelerator powered by Techstars program will run its fourth class in Los Angeles starting on July 9, 2018. Applications are now open and will close March 25.

The last three classes of the program have been super successful, with the startups creating deep relationships with stakeholders at Cedars-Sinai, leading to multiple companies deploying products across the health system. The last class alone resulted in numerous pilots and commercial deals with Cedars-Sinai, as well as impressive contracts with the likes of the Department of Defense, Merck, and MD Anderson. You can read more about their accomplishments here. Our program has also propelled the success of companies like NarrativeDx, Tasso, WELL Health, Inscope Medical Solutions, and Deep 6 AI – leaders in their respective fields of patient experience management, simplified blood draws, text-based communication between providers and patients, integrated laryngoscopes, and AI-enabled clinical trial matching.

We are looking to connect with companies creating hardware, software, devices or services that empower patients and healthcare professionals to track, manage or improve healthcare. If this sounds like your company, we want to meet you, so please sign up for office hours with our team in a city near you!

Pre-Recorded Webinar
Cedars-Sinai Accelerator Powered by Techstars Webinar

In-Person Office Hours – Sign up for your city here.

Feb 1-2: San Diego
Feb 12: Seattle
Feb 12-13: Chicago
Feb 14: Madison
Feb 22-23: New York City
Feb 26-27: Boston
Feb 26-27: Raleigh
Feb 26-27: Denver
Feb 28: Nashville
March 1-2: Atlanta
March 1-2: Toronto
March 6-7: Las Vegas
March 12: Austin
March 15: San Francisco








Back to the Future: IoT Themes for 2018

Predictions are so 2017…so instead, here are a few IoT themes that I’m excited about this coming year:

Edge Comes of Age

The promise of Edge and distributed computing, may seem like old news, however, much of enterprise processing still takes place on-prem or in the cloud. Corporate change management (painful) coupled with the cost of supporting both Edge and core (expensive) are contributing factors to slower adoption. However, as the rate of IoT deployments increase more generally, Edge processing and storage will take hold more quickly across industrial use cases (utilities, energy, transportation) where assets are often remote and further away from central infrastructure. This will significantly cut data ingestion costs, reduce network latency, increase security and help turn streaming data into real-time decisions. By some accounts, 40% of IoT derived data will be stored, processed, analysed and deployed at the Edge by 2019.

Enterprise Adopts a Voice

Consumers have embraced voice applications through beloved connected home and wearable devices. This makes sense considering that we type 40 words per minute and speak closer to 150 words per minute. However, the utility around consumer voice apps pales in comparison to the Enterprise. From robots to automotive, manufacturing to construction, voice provides a flexible, fast and cost efficient way to communicate and collaborate especially when hands and eyes are not available. There is little written about industrial IoT voice use cases, but watch this space in the coming year.

Blockchain Rising

We hear a lot about Blockchain solutions, however, questions around scalability, privacy and reliability have resulted in limited deployments and small scale pilots. However, the case for Blockchain IoT solutions is mounting with greater understanding of the benefits including, faster transaction processing, protected data transmissions, greater reliability and stability, and more efficient integration with existing technology infrastructure. And let’s not forget IoT cryptocurrency, IOTA, totted as a fast and safe way to buy and trade datasets.  

Health is Everything

Healthcare IoT had a slow start, falling prey to the usual slew of regulations, data security and device management concerns. Now on track to spend over one trillion dollars on healthcare IoT solutions by 2025, the impact on patients, doctors and hospitals will be profound. While consumer adoption of connected home devices and wearables has started to take hold, it’s enterprise solutions tapping into big data, payments and medical records that will reshape healthcare at scale. IoT can help force the industry to move more quickly towards adopting standards that unite disparate data sources, allowing for a comprehensive view of the patient. Many believe that data is the key to patient care, disease management, remote monitoring, predictive analytics and more…

Security – Ugg!

On a more somber note, even as IoT security awareness comes to the forefront, factors such as time to market, cost and user experience often take priority over basic security. As such, we will likely see more attacks on vulnerable endpoint devices as well as cloud platforms and therefore more exposure of sensitive customer data. On a positive note, more risk and breaches will force IoT companies to come together to work out broad standards, although doubtful this will happen in the next year.








IoT is Everywhere: Announcing the 2017 Class

From logistics to mining, aerospace to construction, health to retail, IoT touches everything we do. By 2025, IoT’s yearly economic impact will be more than $10 trillion. Tapping into this enormous opportunity, the Techstars IoT Accelerator is building an ecosystem for IoT entrepreneurs to flourish.

We have only touched the surface of a massive technology shift. This is why we partnered with industry titans: GE, SAP, Bosch, Verizon, PwC and Siemens (next 47), to create a collaborative environment for startups and corporates to learn and interact in real time.

The 12 startups selected to join the program work across multiple verticals, rewiring legacy industries and enabling meaningful innovation through IoT.

We are thrilled to announce the companies joining Techstars IoT:

Apollo is a conversational AI voice assistant device for any car.

Blik provides logistic companies process optimization in real-time with live data.

BuildSimHub is a 3D visual building energy modeling (BEM) collaboration and version control platform.

Makercase’s logistics platform allows brands to deploy cost efficient rental and ‘try before you buy’ services.

Module designs adaptable housing that changes as people’s needs do.

Muzzley is a single intelligent platform for connected devices, a complete Saas and PaaS solution for consumer IoT.

Omnio provides plug and play connectivity as a service for industrial devices enabling business to scale their IoT solutions.

RealSynth provides fully custom synthetic annotated image data for railways.

Seer Aerospace provides market-wide fleet intelligence for helicopters, business jets, and general aviation.

Strayos provides image processing and data analytics for mining and blasting companies.

Terrene enables customers to load any data from any sources and run predictive analytics on it.

Trexo Robotics builds exoskeletons that help people walk.








Figuring Out IoT in a Weekend

Is it possible to figure out IoT in just a weekend?

Well…maybe not, but IoT and hardware have come a long way since the days where you needed $5M+ just to start a company. With off-the-shelf components readily available and sensors practically everywhere that instantly spit out a steady stream of data, IoT startups can now leverage existing infrastructure to build quickly, test functionality more efficiently, and focus on other things, like building robust software.

This past weekend, Techstars hosted Startup Weekend IoT — and for anyone not familiar with Startup Weekend, you need to stop living under a rock! Last year, 1100 Startup Weekends took place around the world, inspiring thousands of budding entrepreneurs to take action and create!

Here are some themes that emerged from the Startup Weekend IoT edition in New York:

Enterprise Automation

AI and efficiency are on everyone’s brain these days.

One promising team used an AI-enabled plugin to solve the never ending powerpoint slide creation issue. The founder, a longtime management consultant, wasted countless hours creating presentation slides from scratch, having to recreate the design every single time.

Another team created a personal article librarian to solve the problem of having a million open tabs and losing research. The AI bot can automatically search through all the articles and content tagged for easy recall when you need it.

Built Efficiency

The built environment is the next frontier– at Techstars, we are seeing a lot of emerging startups that are pursuing this vertical.

One team tackled delayed shipments on construction sites with a clever SaaS platform that provides greater transparency on the flow of deliveries and materials.  

Health and Wellness

Another team created RFID tags to track patients throughout the check-in, admission and care processes, giving patients more freedom to leave the facility and come back when they can be attended to.

Agriculture Technology

The market opportunity for IoT in AgTech is in the trillions. Need I say more?

One team created an IoT kit and real-time analytics tool to monitor the soil quality for farmers. The collected data can be monetized by insurers and associations. This team even had a live demo, presenting both the hardware and the software components they created over the weekend.

Are you working on an IoT startup? I’d love to hear about it. Applications are currently open for Techstars IoT in New York City, learn more and apply here.