I’m thrilled to announce I’ll be joining the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, Powered by Techstars as Managing Director in Philadelphia in 2019! Let me tell you a little bit about how I got here.
In 2013, when I joined Techstars as Director of Techstars NYC, I had to appreciate the irony: several years before, I had applied to the inaugural class of that very program. At the time, I was working on a financial literacy startup with my brother. We submitted our application, but didn’t really expect to hear anything back. I was shocked when I saw an email from David Tisch, then Managing Director for the NYC program, asking thoughtful, tough questions about our company—and I was blown away by how accessible and helpful everyone at Techstars was during the entire application process. That venture didn’t end up working out as hoped, but I was left with a strong affinity to Techstars. When the opportunity presented itself to be one of those immensely helpful people on the other side of the table, I jumped at it.
During my very first program as Director, I worked with some of what became the most iconic Techstars NYC alums, such as Plated and Bluecore, and I got to help them refine their messaging, connect with investors, and hire their first employees. If I’m being completely honest, I initially took the position with the intention of learning how the sausage was made, and then applying those learnings to my own future startup. But as it turned out, working with entrepreneurs from the Techstars NYC programs became the most rewarding work I’ve ever done.
In the past six years, I’ve run 10 mentorship-driven accelerator programs—the most of anyone at the organization (I’m very proud of this). I had the privilege of working with Alex Iskold, serial entrepreneur and former Managing Director for Techstars NYC, for eight of these programs, and I learned more from him than I could ever have imagined. So when I heard that Alex was moving on, I decided it was also time to consider what was next for me. That’s when I heard about the opportunity with the program down in Philadelphia.
I’ve been intrigued by the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, Powered by Techstars and the value it offers both startups and these media giants. The startups get amazing access, industry insights, and mentoring from the corporations. It’s a different model of accelerator, and I wanted to give it a try. Plus, I knew we would be an unstoppable team when we combined my six plus years of experience and knowledge of the Techstars approach with Comcast NBCUniversal’s significant expertise in the connectivity, media, and entertainment space.
I’ve spent the last several weeks getting to know the LIFT Labs team at Comcast NBCUniversal in Philadelphia, and the energy and enthusiasm regarding the accelerator program from everyone, including the team’s senior executives, was intoxicating. I’m thrilled to tell the world that I’m joining the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, Powered by Techstars as Managing Director and continue my path and passion in supporting founders and helping to nurture and grow startups across the globe.
Applications for the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, Powered by Techstars open today, January 7, 2019, and the program will kick off this summer in mid-July. If you’ve got questions, you can message me on Twitter, or request office hours with me to learn more about the program, or if you’re ready, apply now!
I am very excited to announce the launch of a unique program and partnership between my alma mater, Columbia Business School, and Techstars NYC. This new program will take advantage of our organizations’ shared home in New York City to provide students with a unique blend of world-class educational programming and real-world experience.
Managed by the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center at Columbia Business School and with oversight provided by the center’s Director, Vince Ponzo, the Lang Scholars Program embeds a second year Columbia Business School student in each of the incoming Techstars NYC 2015 Fall Class. A total of fourteen hand-picked, high caliber Columbia Business School students are matched with each of our equally high caliber 14 Techstars NYC Fall Class.
Participating Columbia Business School students benefit from this program by having a front row seat into the hectic and rapid pace of an early stage startup and in the process, determining if such a career path is for them. In addition, these MBAs are able to call upon their MBA caliber education and previous work experience to make a direct, tangible impact at their matched company. Finally, Lang Scholars have an unprecedented opportunity to build their networks by being members of the amazing Techstars programming, environment and ecosystem.
For our fourteen Fall Techstars NYC companies, the benefits of gaining an extra pair of hands and having access to the experience and education of world-class MBA students will no doubt be an added advantage to them as they continue to scale. And for many of these fast growing companies, the possibility of adding a Columbia Business School MBA to the team, one that can hit the ground running on day one, is another huge plus.
For us, this initiative allows Techstars to further its vision of making entrepreneurship more accessible by encouraging students to consider entrepreneurship as a viable career path.
I am so excited to see what this synergy brings over the next three months and look forward to keeping you updated on its progress.