Awesomeness – Finding a business model

Last week was week 2 of Techstars Boulder’s 7 Weeks of Awesome, featuring Nate and Natty of Everlater (Techstars ’09, acquired by AOL) talking about how they found a business model.  There are same fantastic insights in here for how to develop and improve your own business model over time. For those of you who weren’t able to make it to last week’s awesome presentation, good news! We taped it! Thanks to Paul at 23rdstudios for capturing the awesomeness.

If you like what you see, applications for Boulder 2014 are open.  You can apply here to Techstars.  The deadline for applications is May 4th. Don’t wait until the last day!

Awesomeness continues.  Next Monday at 4:30 is a Techstars Open House.  We also have a treasure trove of presenters this month from Mitch Wainer of Digital Ocean to Howard Diamond of Mobile Day and our own David Cohen!  Don’t miss these upcoming events. Thoughts and advice from rock stars like Jason Mendelson on 10 (or 18) Things That Will Screw Your Company, is just one of the many benefits to being in the Techstars program.

Click here for the video on how Nate and Natty of Everlater found a business model and sold their company to AOL/MapQuest.

[VIDEO] Startup Stories: weeSpring, Having a Baby AND a Startup

weeSpring is a platform that helps you share advice with your friends about baby essentials, like bottles, strollers and diapers. They were part of the Techstars class in NYC last year and we’re so impressed with their traction and progress. Go, team, go!

Watch more Techstars videos here.  You can also subscribe to our YouTube or Vimeo Channel.

7 Weeks of Awesome: Gearing Up for Techstars in Boulder

Applications for Techstars in Boulder opened up yesterday, and to celebrate, we’re hosting a handful of events that are valuable to startups as well as free and open to the public. I hope I see you at one or more of these! Please register below.

Here is the 7 Weeks of Awesome Schedule:

Monday 3/24 @ 4:30 – 10 things that will screw up your startup with Jason Mendelson.

Monday 3/31 @ 4:30 – You have a startup, but do you have a business? with Nate & Natty, founders of Everlater

Monday 4/7 @ 4:30 – Growth Hacking with Mitch Wainer, co-founder of Digital Ocean

Monday 4/14 @ 4:30 – Techstars Open House

Monday 4/21 @ 4:30 – Fundraising awesomeness with David Cohen, founder and CEO of Techstars

Monday 4/28 @ 4:30 – Enterprise Sales with Howard Diamond

The Week of 5/13 – The notorious Boulder Startup Week– stay tuned to our Events page for updates.

Thursday 5/15 @ 1:00 – 4:00 – Techstars for a Half Day

The early deadline for Boulder is April 13th and final deadline is May 4th. Why should you apply early? Our final deadline is June 1st. If you haven’t done so already, apply today for Techstars!

The Women of Techstars in NYC

We’re always on the lookout for strong female founders. Historically it’s been tough because they simply don’t apply to Techstars and they lack in numbers as entrepreneurs in general. Well, if this year is any indication of a future trend – watch out world, the ladies are coming up strong!

Our 2014 Techstars in NYC program is the strongest one yet for female entrepreneurs. Out of 13 companies, 5 of them have women co-founders. While Alex and I don’t have exact numbers, the number of women applicants this year felt a lot stronger than in the past and I was continuously impressed with the quality of their projects. Many of them got to the final stages of the interview process.

So join us in giving a warm welcome to Suzanne Xie of HullabaluConnie Wong and Susan Zheng of LynxsyTheresa Preston-Warner of OmakaseAmanda Solosky of RivalTheory, and Tiffany Bogich of Standard Analytics.

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Great News for Techstars in NYC: Alex Iskold joins as Managing Director and Other Big Changes

This last class of Techstars was my sixth program but my first ever in NYC. This month marks the year anniversary of working with the NYC program and I’ve had a lot of time to learn the ins and outs of the Silicon Alley tech scene and the Techstars’ ecosystem there. Because I’ve run programs in other locations, I’ve had the unique opportunity to learn about the characteristics of different tech communities and see the best practices in each. I can say without a doubt that because of the unique assets of NYC (including access to industry and Fortune 500 companies), access to capital and a quickly growing stable of amazing, experienced entrepreneurs – NYC has the potential someday to be the single best tech market out there.

That said, my feeling is that we still have a ways to go before fully realizing the potential in NYC. There’s still a lot of gelling that needs to happen and having worked with mentors, entrepreneurs, and investors in NYC, I’ve seen that friction firsthand. Even at Techstars, we have really struggled, especially this last year, to really capture the potential of the community. We did a lot of things wrong and we learned a lot. Now, with a year under my belt, I have a deep understanding of where our areas for improvement live, have had countless discussions with influencers in the community and I’ve developed a theory on how to make the tech scene in NYC amazing. I have a heartfelt and deep belief that by putting the entrepreneur first, Techstars can gravitationally change the NYC tech scene for the better. So, in the spirit of an overhaul, I’m going to change some things at Techstars that I hope has broader implications across the entire ecosystem.

1. I’m pleased to announce that we’ve hired veteran entrepreneur Alex Iskold to join Techstars in NYC as Managing Director. We have learned that you need experienced entrepreneurs in leadership roles and Alex is an experienced entrepreneur who has been deeply involved as a mentor to our programs. His background as a great CEO gives him a unique skill set well suited for the job. He believes, as do I, that this is an amazing city with a ton of unrealized potential, and he and I are hell bent on making this the best city for entrepreneurship. I’ll still be heavily involved in the program from a coaching and mentorship capacity and will be there for the duration of the program, but I’m thrilled to hand the day-to-day operations off to Alex. Here is Alex’s blog post about joining Techstars.

2. Mentorship is at the core of what makes Techstars magical and in NYC we have access to some of the world’s best mentors. As I’ve traveled to different communities, I’ve learned that the magic in helping entrepreneurs is deep engagement from mentors. But in New York, we opted to focus on breadth of exposure as opposed to depth of engagement because of the sheer quantity of high-quality individuals. The result was entrepreneurs in too many meetings with mentors that didn’t know enough intimate details about the companies to make insightful recommendations. There is no quick fix and a single thirty minute meeting with a team does not help entrepreneurs become successful. In short, without that depth of engagement, the signal-to-noise ratio was off. We’re working on ways to leverage our mentors’ areas of expertise into focused, results-oriented group meetings with bi-directional feedback (both to the mentors and to the companies). Our hope is that by focusing on outcomes and feedback, not only will our teams improve but mentors will get better too. Everyone wins. Our dream is that this will even trickle outside of Techstars, helping create a tectonic shift in the way the entire community interacts with and helps entrepreneurs and startups.

3. Community is critically important to entrepreneurs and I’m excited about some programs and events we’re working on that will bring the tech community together. In fact, we’re doing a couple of these events in the next month or two. Check them out. They are free and open to everyone, not just Techstars’ teams or applicants.

4. This one really isn’t a change, it’s just a mantra. When the community comes together and “Gives First,” magic happens. I see it a ton in NYC, but we’ve never really labeled it as such and it’s one of the most powerful tools any community has. When mentors genuinely “Give First” to entrepreneurs, investing their time, guidance, address book, and even capital – we can better help ALL entrepreneurs in NYC. A rising tide raises all ships. Don’t be surprised if you hear “Give First” around the Techstars community.

If you didn’t already know it, applications for Techstars NYC are now open and they close by the end of the year. Applying early will get your application the attention it deserves (see my post about this from earlier this year).

We love this city and we have seen what Techstars can do in a community. We’re thrilled by the possibilities here and know 2014 is going to be an amazing year. Let’s do this together.

Free Startup Workshops at Techstars in NYC

We’re launching a new educational series for you in NYC, designed to help make your startup KILLER. Any entrepreneur is welcome and encouraged to attend. All events are free. We’re making the series workshop-based and our goal is for you to leave with tactical things you can apply to your startup. Please RSVP as seating will be extremely limited. I hope to see you there!

Applications for Techstars in NYC are currently open. If you’re interested in applying, hop to it.

1500+ Mentor Office Hours in NYC

photo by Anthony Marnell

Some metrics from the past few weeks at Techstars in NYC:

  • 1 wedding
  • 39,000 working hours (60 hours x 13 weeks x 50 people)
  • 72 lbs of La Colombe coffee
  • 14 missing iPhone chargers
  • 5 pivots
  • 1 un-pivot (pivot, then back

We’re busy as ever as demo day looms on the 27th. We have now had over 100 mentors conduct office hours with the current teams. We’re eternally grateful to them for engaging and “going deep” and thought it would be neat to round them up below. Thank you, mentors!

  • Alan Patricof, Greycroft
  • Albert Wenger, Union Square Ventures
  • Alex Blum, KickApps
  • Alex Iskold, GetGlue
  • Alexandra Wilson, Gilt Groupe
  • Allon Bloch, mySupermarket
  • Aly Valli, Shapeways
  • Amish Jani, FirstMark Capital
  • Andrew Toy, Enterpriod
  • Barry Silbert, SecondMarket
  • Ben Siscovick, IA Ventures
  • Ben Sun, High Peaks Venture Partners
  • Beth Ferreira,
  • Betsy Morgan, The Blaze
  • Bob Wilkis
  • Brad Feld, Foundry
  • Brandon Kessler, ChallengePost
  • Bre Pettis, MakerBot
  • Brian Hirsch, Tribeca Venture Partners
  • Charlie O’Donnell, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures
  • Chris Coyne, OkCupid
  • Dan Huttenlocher, Cornell
  • Dane Atkinson, SumAll
  • Darren Herman, The Media Kitchen
  • Dave Gilboa, Warby Parker
  • David Aronoff, Flybridge Capital
  • David Calone, Jove Capital
  • David Cohen, Techstars
  • David Kidder, Syncapse
  • David Lerner, Venture Studio
  • David Pakman, Venrock
  • David Rosenblatt
  • Dayna Grayson, NEA
  • Dennis Crawley, FourSquare
  • Ed Sim, BOLDstart Ventures
  • Ellie Wheeler, Greycroft
  • Elliot Durbin, BOLDstart Ventures
  • Eric Hippeau, Lerer Ventures
  • Eric Paley, Founder Collective
  • Erik Nordlander, Google Ventures
  • Eyal Goldwerger, TargetSpot
  • Fred Wilson, Union Square Ventures
  • Geir Magnusson, AppNexus
  • Geoff Cook, BASEDesign
  • Greg Galant, SawHorse Media
  • Greg Mason, TechMediaNetwork
  • Howard Morgan, First Round Capital
  • James Haft, PAL Capital
  • Jared Hecht
  • Jay Levy, Zelkova
  • Jeff Pomeranz, Right Side Capital Mgmt
  • Joe Alicata, Chartbeat
  • Joe Lonsdale, Palantir
  • Joe Medved, SoftBank Capital
  • John Cantarella, Time, Inc.
  • Jon Peachey, Virgin
  • Jon Steinback, Foursquare
  • Jon Steinberg, BuzzFeed
  • Jonathan Dube, CBS Interactive
  • Josh Abramson, BustedTees
  • Josh Guttman, Outbrain
  • Karin Klein, Bloomberg
  • Kirk Holland, Vista/Access Ventures
  • Laurel Touby, mediabistro
  • Lee Ann Daly, Partners + LAD
  • Lenihan Larry, First Mark
  • Marc Cenedella, The Ladders
  • Marc Michel, Metamorphic Ventures
  • Marissa Campise, Venrock
  • Mark Solon, Techstars
  • Mark Suster
  • Matt Harris, Bain Capital Ventures
  • Matt Turck, FirstMark Capital
  • Matt Witheiler, Flybridge Capital Partners
  • Max Krohn, OkCupid
  • Micah Rosenbloom, Founders Collective
  • Michael Burke, Appsavvy
  • Michael Cohen, Birchbox
  • Mike Brown, Jr., AOL Ventures
  • Mo Koyfman, Spark Capital
  • Morris Wheeler, Drummond Road Capital
  • Nate Westheimer, Picturelife
  • Neil  Platt, CashEdge
  • Nihal Mehta, LocalResponse
  • Nikhil  Kalghatgi, SoftBank Capital
  • Nikki Kaufman, Quirky
  • Ori Allon, Julpan
  • Patrick Keane, Sharethrough
  • Paul Greenberg, College Humor
  • Paul Hurley
  • Paul Sethi, REDBOOKS
  • Pedro Torres Picon, Quotidian Ventures
  • Peter Flint, Polaris
  • Rachel Sklar, Change The Ratio
  • Raphael Poplock, ESPN
  • Rick Webb, Tumblr
  • Rob Go, NextView Ventures
  • Roger Ehrenberg, IA Ventures
  • Ross Goldstein, DFJ Gotham
  • Scott Wolfgang, Quotidian Ventures
  • Sean Black, Crunched
  • Seth Godin, Squidoo
  • Sim Blaustein, BDMI
  • Stephanie Palmerie, SoftTech VC
  • Steve Martocci
  • Steve Schlafman, Lerer Ventures
  • Stuart Ellman, RRE Ventures
  • Sunny Bates, Sunny Bates Associates
  • Thatcher Bell, DFJ Gotham
  • Tobias Peggs, Aviary
  • Tom Quisel, OkCupid
  • Vicki Levine, Lightbank
  • Vin Vacanti, Yipit
  • Wesley Chan, Google Ventures
  • Wiley Cerilli, SinglePlatform

An Addition to Our Boulder Team

As you might have read in David’s post yesterday, I’m headed to New York City this spring to fill in as Interim Managing Director of our program there. I couldn’t be more stoked to entrench myself.

That said, anyone that’s spent more than a few hours inside any of our programs very quickly sees that it takes an entire community to accelerate these incredible teams. So I’m thrilled to share that we have officially added Luke Beatty, mentor to the Boulder program, as an additional Managing Director for Boulder. Given the fact that I’ll be spending a few months in NYC and needs will continue to multiply here in Boulder regardless of where I am, we jumped on the chance to add him to our team. Luke was an entrepreneur in residence during our summer program this year and a lead mentor last year, constantly showing up to provide support and invaluable feedback for our companies. Because he’s a wonderful repeat offender, hiring him on full-time is a natural fit.

Luke was formerly VP of Communities and Local at Yahoo after his company was acquired by Yahoo in 2010. Luke is an accomplished entrepreneur, huge value add and adored by the teams with which he’s already worked. He’s consistently a top rated mentor in our founders’ exit surveys after each program. He’s a natural leader and will be an incredible asset to the Boulder program. Please help us welcome him to Techstars.

Give a warm welcome to the Techstars Boulder 2012 Class!

Techstars in Boulder kicked off on Monday, which feels very appropriate given today marks the opening of Boulder Startup Week.  It was a great day, including a visit by our own Congressman Jared Polis and Techstars CEO David Cohen. The teams blew off some steam with a very lively game of rock-paper-scissors, we learned about how to engage great mentors, we learned how to navigate the insanity that is Techstars, and we learned about each other.

Learning about each other is no small task. There are over 40 founders here, including 3 HackStars, 3 Summer Associates, and 2 Mentors In Residence. The teams were so excited to meet and I’m just as excited for you to meet them. After going through over 1,200 applications, it was gutwrenchingly difficult to narrow it down to these 12 teams. But I’m thrilled to introduce you to the teams now, and if you want to meet them in person, (and are in the Boulder area this week), come by on Friday to say hi!

So without further ado – please meet this year’s fantastic teams below and follow them as a list on Twitter here! Our hashtag for this program is #techstarsboulder.

StealthCo A company in the media management space.
eBay meets Etsy for fashion, with a twist. Follow your favorite fashionista’s ‘closet’.
Founders: Kelly James and Joonas Bergius
Find best deals in hotels based on pricing analytics.
We make cloud hosting simple and easy so you can manage your site, not your infrastructure.
StealthCo A company in the mobile and cloud space.
StealthCo A company doing cool stuff with email.
Provides instant phone and web-based access to human translators to facilitate cross-language conversations
StealthCo A company doing fun things with real estate.
LendingTree for your used car.  A simple app that gives you multiple offers on your used car.
Location-based offers and alerts to your mobile phone or car infotainment system.
Speed up sales cycles and close more deals by delivering relevant intelligence about the companies and people in your CRM.
Smart Toys – mobile app that delivers educational and gaming content inside of a stuffed toy.

Learn more about Techstars in Boulder on 2/23

Techstars in Boulder is now accepting applications!

But if you’re wondering whether the program is for you, or have questions about it or your application, then join us on 2/23. You can meet me (and yes, I review all the applications), mentors, and alumni who are here to help you answer any questions you have about the program.

Early application deadline (to be considered for Techstars for a Day) is February 26th, with a final application deadline of March 16th.

No agenda, just good old fashioned networking question and answer session. Space is limited, please RSVP!

February 23rd, 2012
5:30 – 7:30pm
The Bitter Bar
RSVP required, click here