Become a HackStar

Techstars companies are always looking for talented developers and software engineers to help them do more, faster. Because of this, we’re launching a new program called HackStars.  If you’re the bomb at slinging code, want to have a startup experience but aren’t quite an entrepreneur, then you’re going to love HackStars.

Selected individuals will get to go through the Techstars program, will work side-by-side with our founders to help them code better and faster, will develop the same network and have the same experience of all the founders, and will get paid $6K to do it.  It’s a win-win for everyone.

Interested?  Learn more & apply!








Boulder's SmackDown Synopsis

Last week we had the first Techstars Smackdown, a unique and fun unjob fair where Techstars companies pitched for people.  Each team got 5 minutes to plead their cause utilizing 20 slides that autoadvanced every 15 seconds.  It was a playful event – the teams poked fun at one another, trying to demonstrate why they would be the company of choice.  (Just remind me to never let Greg Keller watch my cat!)

If you didn’t get a chance to attend, but are curious as to what happened – let me summarize it for you – the do more, faster way.  Bullets!

  • 250 people attended, nearly 200 more on the wait list.  (thanks Silicon Flatirons for the space!)
  • Attendee breakdown = 50% technical, 50% business, 90% job seekers.
  • Lots of questions around work/life balance.  Answer = it doesn’t exist, but is well worth the sacrifice because you’ll love what you do.
  • Lots of questions around compensation/benefits/training.  Answer = not as good as a big company, but the upside can be much better.
  • Questions around job security.  Answer = its more transparent at a startup, and you’re more in control of your destiny there.
  • Position in highest demand = design/UI/UX.  If you’re looking for a career change, consider it!

Links to each company’s presentation (thanks Journey MultiMedia!):

And finally – given it was a Smackdown… was there a winner?  I give Graphic.ly 2,147,298 points for hilarity,  BlipSnips gets 1,999,879 points for enthusiasm and energy, Next Big Sound gets 2,148,074 points for quality of presentation, and Rezora gets 3 points for looking dangerously similar to Michael Jackson in his high school photo.








Boulder’s SmackDown Synopsis

Last week we had the first Techstars Smackdown, a unique and fun unjob fair where Techstars companies pitched for people.  Each team got 5 minutes to plead their cause utilizing 20 slides that autoadvanced every 15 seconds.  It was a playful event – the teams poked fun at one another, trying to demonstrate why they would be the company of choice.  (Just remind me to never let Greg Keller watch my cat!)

If you didn’t get a chance to attend, but are curious as to what happened – let me summarize it for you – the do more, faster way.  Bullets!

  • 250 people attended, nearly 200 more on the wait list.  (thanks Silicon Flatirons for the space!)
  • Attendee breakdown = 50% technical, 50% business, 90% job seekers.
  • Lots of questions around work/life balance.  Answer = it doesn’t exist, but is well worth the sacrifice because you’ll love what you do.
  • Lots of questions around compensation/benefits/training.  Answer = not as good as a big company, but the upside can be much better.
  • Questions around job security.  Answer = its more transparent at a startup, and you’re more in control of your destiny there.
  • Position in highest demand = design/UI/UX.  If you’re looking for a career change, consider it!

Links to each company’s presentation (thanks Journey MultiMedia!):

And finally – given it was a Smackdown… was there a winner?  I give Graphic.ly 2,147,298 points for hilarity,  BlipSnips gets 1,999,879 points for enthusiasm and energy, Next Big Sound gets 2,148,074 points for quality of presentation, and Rezora gets 3 points for looking dangerously similar to Michael Jackson in his high school photo.








Working for a startup

On Tuesday, Techstars hosted its first Smackdown in Boulder – a unique event where 13 companies pitched for people, instead of funding.  It was an un-job fair of sorts, turning the conventional sourcing process on its head.  It was a great event, 250+ people in attendance, almost 150 people on the wait list.  Had I known it was going to be that popular, we would have had it in a larger venue.

A consistent theme throughout the event was why work for a startup? – On paper, many people question why anyone would work for a startup.  In most instances, the pay is crappy, benefits are non-existent, hours are longer, stress is higher, the responsibility is greater, you’re frequently doing things outside your job description, and job security is transparently absent.  What is it about working for a startup that is so attractive?

Passion, and changing the world.

When you work at a startup, you get a chance to work along side people who are incredibly passionate about what they’re doing.  Imagine waking up every day and being excited about going to work, imagine loving what you do.  You love the product, you love the team, you love the customers.  You go in early and you leave late because you’re excited to be there – not because you have to be.  You love the people you work with, spending your little free time with them.  In my situation, it improved the relationship with my husband because I came home from work every day excited, talking about my day instead of complaining about it.  I was happy and it made him happy.  When you feel this way about your job, your work and your life become the same thing.  It’s wonderful.

But not only are you passionate about what you’re doing – you have a direct and measurable impact on the company.  You literally can change the world (or your world anyway) simply by raising your hand, stepping up, voicing your opinion, and executing.  You have the power to affect change, thus becoming an important if not critical part of the team.  I would challenge anyone claiming they don’t love feeling and being important.

I think the rest of it is tough.  I don’t believe there is any such thing as job security – at a startup, you can probably see the layoff coming and might even be able to change the outcome.  At a big company, some guy that doesn’t even know you or your impact decides whether you stay or go.  I personally love doing things outside my job description – it stretches my comfort zone, creating a more well-rounded me.  The non-existent benefits suck, but hey, you get equity.  And if that equity ever pays off, it might be worth WAY more than any benefit package.  Plus it makes you 100% responsible for your retirement destiny instead of false confidence in someone else saving for you.

So why work for a startup?  Because you want to love what you do and change the world.  The rest is just details…








Techstars Smackdown is October 12th

Are you happy at your current job?  Have you ever dreamed of working for something and someone you believe in?  Have you dreamed of having an impact?  Of being heard?  Of being part of a small team that can get it done?  Have you ever dreamed of working for a startup?

The Techstars Smackdown is a unique event where 13 Techstars companies will pitch for YOU.  They’re hiring, they’re feisty, and on October 12th, they’ll battle it out in an attempt to lure you from your current role.  Companies will get 5 minutes convince you why it will be the best (or worst) career move you ever make.  Anyone caught wearing a suit or tie will be publicly accosted.

Details:
October 12th at 5:30 PM
Wolf Law Building, Wittemeyer Courtroom
NE Corner of Broadway & Baseline
Boulder, CO
Free – But registration is required. It will fill up!

Register for Techstars Smackdown in Boulder in Boulder, CO  on Eventbrite

Agenda:
5:30 PM Networking
6PM Startup Panel – “What it’s like to work for a startup” featuring Paul Berberian, CEO of OrbotixAlex White, CEO of Next Big Sound – and Eric Marcoullier, Co-CEO of OneTrueFan.
6:30 Company Pitches

Companies Presenting (in no particular order):
Vacation Rental Partner –  ScriptPad –  Rezora –  SendGrid –  Omniar –  StatsMix –  Spot Influence –  Graphic.ly –  Snapabug –  Next Big Sound–  Orbotix –  BlipSnipsOneTrueFan

Can’t attend, but still want to let the companies know you’re interested?  Send them a resume!
Want to keep updated of all jobs offered by Techstars companies?  Sign up!

The Techstars Smackdown is generously sponsored by:

Silicon Flatirons (http://www.silicon-flatirons.com)
CU-Boulder’s Silicon Flatirons Center is a donor-supported entity which helps connect the fabric of the Front Range’s software, Internet, and telecom entrepreneurship scene.  SFC’s objective is to help catalyze startups by connecting CU to the Mile High Tech emerging company community. SFC’s Entrepreneurship Initiative includes the Entrepreneurial Law Clinic, the Entrepreneurs Unplugged series, Crash Courses on entrepreneurship, hosting the Boulder New Tech Meetup, an annual March entrepreneurship conference, and working closely with partners across the CU campus to present the New Venture Challenge.








Get your apps in to be considered for Techstars for a Day

One of my favorite days of the year is Techstars for a Day.  It’s an invitation-only day where we invite our best and brightest Techstars applicants to come spend a full day in the Bunker.  It’s where they can get a feeling for what spending the summer with us will be like;  and it usually does not disappoint. Founders arrive fresh, ready to impress and rock, full of excitement and nervousness and curiosity.  They meet a handful of our select mentors, they meet past founders, they listen to words of wisdom.  They usually leave tired and drained, but overwhelmed at the amount of talent that surrounds them, and at the generosity and openness and experience of the mentors and past founders willing to dive in and help their companies succeed beyond wildest imaginations.  The full program is exactly like this.  Its exhausting and rewarding and exciting and eye-opening all at the same time.

Techstars for a Day (TS4AD) is March 5th this year but to be considered for it, your applications need to be in by March 2nd.  Yet we always end up turning away companies that should be invited because many fantastic companies applied before them.  Don’t be that company.  Don’t wait until the last minute.  Get us excited now about your capabilities and what you’re doing – your chances of being invited and getting into Techstars rise dramatically.  You have only 3 weeks remaining to be considered for TS4AD!








Techstars Founder Dating Meetup is Feb 10th

What are the 2 major things we look for in our portfolio companies?  Team, and idea, in that order.

But maybe you have a great idea and are still looking to build out your team.  Or maybe you’d make a fantastic entrepreneur, but are looking for a killer idea.  If you’re looking to apply to Techstars and need to round out your application, Founder Dating is the perfect place.

There’s no agenda, no lectures, no lessons;  only an opportunity to find your ideal partner-in-crime, allowing you to build the next fantastic company.  It’s a must-attend event if you’re planning on applying to the Boulder program and still need to round out your team.  Applications close on March 22nd, giving you over a month (eons on the Techstars calendar!) to crank code and perfect that prototype!

And if you can’t be here in person, we’re setting up a virtual meeting room (although nothing substitutes face-to-face!)

Details:
February 10th
4-6pm
The Bunker
RSVP Required for in-person attendees only – Click Here
Virtual Meeting Room Link for those that want to attend remotely








Announcing HackStars

We’re excited to announce a way for great local software developers who want to gain valuable business experience to hack in to Techstars. It’s called HackStars!

If you are a UI/UX guru and/or a strong coder with PHP, Java, Flex, .NET, Ruby/Rails, or Javascript skills and you are intrigued by the idea of donating some of your spare time to help interesting startups for a summer in exchange for meeting all the mentors and founders and sitting in on the mentorship sessions, then HackStars might just be for you.

Applicants must be able to donate 15 (or more) hours a week from May 11 – August 8th.  You’ll need to live in the Boulder/Denver or Boston metro areas as this is a hands on opportunity.

Check out the HackStars page for more information and to apply.