Manage Anxiety On-The-Go: Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars Spotlight on CALM Neurotech Device

Highlights of student-led ventures participating in the LaunchPad Lift Cohort, part of the Blackstone LaunchPad® powered by Techstars® entrepreneurship program.

These days, Americans are feeling more anxious than ever. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1 percent of the population each year.” Without treatment or engaging in stress-reducing activities, feelings of anxiety can impact quality of life, job performance, and even your health.

A student-led venture from Temple University’s Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars entrepreneurship program has developed CALM, which uses neurotechnology to treat anxiety. CALM (Compact Anxiolytic Lull Mechanism) is a portable, non-invasive device that uses pulses of vibrations to alter the brain waves that influence anxiety, and help people regain control of stress levels

When a person feels intense stress or anxiety, she places CALM behind her ear, at the base of her skull. From there, CALM sends pulses of vibrational stimulation to the inner ear through bone conduction, which allows the brain to receive the signals. These pulses influence the user’s brain waves, creating a calm brain state, with wave patterns similar to those created by relaxation and meditation.

Daniel Couser, Founder of CALM, was inspired to develop this device for a friend who suffered from anxiety disorder. He saw first hand how this mental illness can impact a person’s life.

“Anxiety can be debilitating.  Being close to the issue urged me explore new and different ways to approach anxiety, resulting in the development of CALM,” Daniel said. “CALM provides a fast acting tool that can be used by individuals to better manage anxiety at home, work, school, or anywhere else that a person may go.”

Daniel reports that they are planning to conduct proof of concept testing in the first quarter of 2019, in clinics with individuals that suffer from anxiety disorders. This preliminary research will help them further develop the device, better understand the needs of people struggling with anxiety, and formulate next steps for research.

CALM was selected for the inaugural LaunchPad Lift Cohort, a 10-week personalized mentorship-driven program for student-led ventures from the United States and Ireland, as well as a $10,000 grant to help move their business forward.

“Through the Launchpad Lift Cohort, I am looking forward to connecting with high-caliber mentors and refining the execution strategy of the business, as well as learning how to run an efficient business,” Daniel said. “Being able to learn from entrepreneurs who have built successful businesses as well as the founders from the other companies in the cohort will help CALM to excel, and assist us in our mission to provide a new tool to help manage anxiety.”

Learn more about LaunchPad HERE

Follow our LaunchPad Lift Cohort series where we highlight each student-led venture.

Incumbent and Insurgent: Adding Value Together

Today, global energy corporation Equinor and startup Crux OCM are working together to test Crux OCM’s software, which functions as an “autopilot” for oil and gas control room operators. It’s early days yet, but if the Crux OCM solution works and scales, it will lead to efficiencies, cost savings, and new revenue opportunities for Equinor.

This sounds like a pipe dream: a startup and a large corporation partnering to give the startup a first user to test their idea and the corporation the kind of solution that would have taken years to develop internally.

In reality, this kind of partnership can be a rapid win-win, but only if approached the right way. Startups and large corporations think and work incredibly differently—and too often, great ideas get lost in translation. The first hurdle is identifying startup founders with deep domain knowledge who are at the top of their game.

Identifying the Stellar Startups

“We did not really know what we were getting into,” said Jens Festervoll, corporate liaison for the Techstars Energy Accelerator in Partnership with Equinor. “Equinor is a global energy company and wanted to partner with an accelerator company that had a reach into global startup ecosystems and a reputation for attracting top talent.” They were hoping to identify and work with truly stellar startups with products or solutions that could make a real difference to Equinor, and to inject a dose of startup culture into the company—but they also knew that working with startups would bring special challenges for a large corporation like Equinor. And so an accelerator was born.

From the moment she heard about the Techstars Energy Accelerator in Partnership with Equinor, Crux OCM founder Vicki Knott knew she wanted in. “The same day applications opened, the founder of Crux OCM hunted me down,” said Audun Abelsnes, managing director of the program. “Vicki’s real obsession for a niche problem like increasing the volumetric throughput of pipelines appealed to me. Techstars backs exceptional founders, and I immediately felt there was something special about Vicki.” Crux OCM indeed proved to be an exceptional startup, with a great team that was ready to #domorefaster.

The Startup Culture Injection

But Vicki did have some hesitations: “We were worried that the experience would be the same as all of our interactions with large corporations up to that point—that progress would be so slow we would not be able to determine and secure a trial opportunity within the three months of the accelerator.”

It’s true that corporations and startups work at different speeds, and this can cause friction. “The speed and sense of urgency is just totally different between a energy major like Equinor and any startup,” said Audun. Fortunately, Audun is also positioned to help ease this tension. “I have unique access to senior management in Equinor that can help and push the needle forward if necessary.” He gave Equinor the tools and methodologies to build trust with the startups in the program, creating strong channels of communication and overcoming cultural barriers.

For Equinor’s part, Jens reflected that he and his colleagues “appreciated the speed at which these startups expect things to happen, and the fact that we do not work that quickly.” But the Equinor people who mentored the startups in this program—giving their time and attention on a regular basis, week after week—found that they were changed by the experience. Nearly 80% of these mentors said that they would work differently in the future, with more agility. That taste of startup culture let them see ways to bring elements of it into their working lives, making them both more efficient and more engaged.

“We need this cultural change,” said Jens.

The Measurable Power of Mentorship

Techstars not only brought startup speed to Equinor—mentors also got first hand experience with the Techstars value Give First. This means helping others whenever possible, without expectation of a transactional return. It is the essence of mentoring. “The Equinor staff was so welcoming and open to the Techstars companies,” Vicki said. “All individuals in the organization did their very best to help us and fully embraced the Techstars #GiveFirst mantra.”

Going into the program, Crux OCM saw their technology as a solution for oil pipelines. Equinor mentors like Jofrid Klokkehaug, VP of operations and maintenance, and Ulrik Olbjørn, the digital lead for Equinor onshore, helped Vicki realize that she could expand this vision. The software was just as applicable to the 5000 miles (8000 km) of integrated gas pipelines and facilities on the Norwegian continental shelf. Thanks to this insight, Crux OCM had a great new market to attack—and Equnior had a potential solution to a problem.

That’s the beauty of Give First—you always do get something back. You just don’t know what or when it will be. In this case, the benefits for Equnior came quickly: “Crux OCM will test their solution on a small Unit at our Snøhvit LNG facility as a first user,” said Jens. “If the tech works, then there is an opportunity to scale to more complex systems, adding more value.”  

A Win-Win Times Six

With this accelerator, the company was looking to “improve Equinor’s ability to innovate and drive change,” said Jens. Less than a year after the first class of the program, Equinor is seeing gratifying results.

They’ve experienced the high quality of Techstars startups, overcome cultural barriers that made trust and communication difficult, and infused some of that energizing startup culture into their corporate culture—and these are just the intangible successes. Crux OCM is one of six startups from the program that are exploring potential solutions with Equinor. That’s a win-win times six—and a very measurable, and speedy, path to creating value.

Register to attend Techstars AMA “Five Steps to Building a Successful Corporate – Startup Relationship” on 4/3/19 @ 3PM EST

Looking Good! Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars Spotlight: Petitas Los Angeles Empowers Women One Stitch at a Time

In December 2018, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation and Techstars announced the creation of LaunchPad Lift, a 10-week program for top performing student-led ventures. The cohort was chosen from across the LaunchPad global network and represents a diverse group of businesses that span industries. LaunchPad Lift will help bridge the gap between the programming available on each college campus and the next steps these student-led ventures need for their companies.

Highlights of student-led ventures participating in the LaunchPad Lift Cohort, part of the Blackstone LaunchPad® powered by Techstars® entrepreneurship program

Searching the aisles of a teen clothing section for appropriate work clothes that fit well is an exercise in frustration for petite women.

Chelsea LaFerla knows this all too well. Walking into her first business school mixer at USC, she was faced with a room full of men dressed in neatly pressed and perfectly tailored suits while her outfit was a dress from the Nordstrom teen department. Her confidence took a heavy blow, and she began to feel out of place.

That was the moment she decided to change fashion for petite women.

“I never wanted to feel that way again,” Chelsea said. Her response was to found Petitas Los Angeles, a fashion line made by petites, for the fast-paced petite woman.

Growing up, Chelsea was always around textiles. She came from a long line of Italian tailors and seamstresses. Some of her favorite childhood memories were making dresses with her grandmother, a wedding dress designer. So she knew clothes—and the impact they could have on a person’s self confidence, or on how they were perceived.  

“I remember walking into the fabric store with my grandma and spending hours choosing just the right fabric and trim for my newest design. She’d inspect my sewing, and inevitably make me un-sew and re-sew each garment. I loved the process,” said Chelsea. “It was my grandmother who taught me that every stitch matters. It’s that same quality that we bring to Petitas Los Angeles.”

Chelsea wants Petitas to empower petite women, 5’4” and under, to be “clothed in confidence” through uniquely tailored, high-end garments. The clothes will be made ethically and sustainably in the United States, using premium, hand-sourced fabrics.

Petitas Los Angeles was selected for the inaugural LaunchPad Lift Cohort, a 10-week personalized mentorship-driven program for student-led ventures, which comes with a $10,000 grant upon completion of the program to help founders move their businesses forward.

“Petitas LA’s acceptance into Blackstone’s LaunchPad powered by Techstars has been such a godsend. The mentorship, training, and support came at just the right time!” said Chelsea. “Building a business can easily get discouraging without the right help.  Fortunately, we’ve had the opportunity to work with incredible mentors, who’ve been in our position and know how to get to the other side of building a successful company.”

Learn more about LaunchPad HERE

Follow our LaunchPad Lift Cohort series where we highlight each student-led venture.

Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars Spotlight: NUA Surgical Aim to Improve the Safety of Cesarean Deliveries

Highlights of student-led ventures participating in the LaunchPad Lift Cohort, part of the Blackstone LaunchPad® powered by Techstars® entrepreneurship program

NUA Surgical Team

When a baby is born, everyone hopes for a smooth and safe delivery. But that doesn’t always happen. In cases involving a cesarean (C-section) delivery, whether planned or emergency, there are risks involved for the mother and baby.

 NUA Surgical, a researcher-led venture from NUI Galway’s Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars entrepreneurship program, is developing an obstetrics product that improves the safety of the mother undergoing a cesarean delivery.

In a C-section delivery, doctors remove the baby from the mother’s lower abdomen. In the medical journal The Lancet, a recent study estimated that globally “29.7 million births occurred through cesarean section in 2015,” almost double the number from 2000. In the U.S., C-sections account for 32 percent of all deliveries, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)

As with all major surgery, delivery by C-section can result in complications. Post cesarean, mothers face a risk of surgical site infection (SSI). SSIs are reported to be the “second most common health care-associated infection in Europe and the US” according to the World Health Organization

Depending on various factors, SSIs following c-section can occur up to 20 percent of the time, causing severe pain, discomfort, even death to an otherwise healthy new mother. SSIs are also becoming a major cost burden on the healthcare system, according to the BJOG, an International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the NCBI.

NUA Surgical wants to change this, and make C-sections safer for mothers and better for doctors. “Our novel medical device will be used by physicians during surgery and is intended to improve the quality of surgery for both the doctor and patient,” said Founder of NUA Surgical, Barry McCann. “The needs and requirements of physicians, patients and hospitals are all vital ingredients into our device design, and we are committed to delivering innovation that will positively impact these key stakeholders.”

The team at NUA Surgical have over 50 years of combined industry experience covering commercial, technical and design development requirements. Barry McCann is a previous BioInnovate Ireland Fellow and founded NUA Surgical based on the unmet clinical need discovered during the fellowship; Marie-Therese Maher is an engineer and project manager who spent fourteen years in Research & Development with Medtronic; And Padraig Maher is an engineer with over twenty years’ experience in the medical device industry and has a passion for resolving technical challenges. They were awarded a Commercialisation grant from Enterprise Ireland and the European Commission, and aim to spin out of NUI Galway in 2020.

The team is in prototype phase and conducting some preclinical trials and testing in preparation for regulatory submissions to the US and EU.

NUA Surgical was selected for the inaugural LaunchPad Lift Cohort, a 10-week personalized mentorship-driven program for student-led ventures, which comes with a $10,000 grant upon completion of the program to help move their business forward.

“The Cohort is a great opportunity for NUA Surgical. With the help of Techstars, we aim to expand our network of advisors, key opinion leaders and potential investors,” said Barry, Marie-Therese and Padraig. “Our team have set clear objectives that we wish to achieve during the Cohort. We’re focused on activities that can be accomplished within the specific timeframe, and ones that require the assistance of the Techstars worldwide network of mentors.”

Learn more about LaunchPad HERE

Follow our LaunchPad Lift Cohort series where we highlight each student-led venture.

Preserving Lives: Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars Spotlight on Lazarus, Tech for Law Enforcement

Highlights of student-led ventures participating in the LaunchPad Lift Cohort, part of the Blackstone LaunchPad® powered by Techstars® entrepreneurship program

Lazarus founders Ben Omonira and Elise Hackney.

Technology companies and innovators are taking a lead on developing less lethal devices for law enforcement to reduce fatal police encounters.

In July 2016, a Dallas ambush inspired Lazarus founder Ben Omonira to provide first responders with an alternative method of stopping a threat while preserving the life. Lazarus, a student-led venture from Texas A&M’s Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars entrepreneurship program, is currently in prototype phase for the development of a less lethal projectile which could help law enforcement safely and effectively deal with threats, while preserving lives.  

“First responders are actively looking for new technology and methods to stop a threat without losing a life,” say Lazarus founders Ben Omonira and Elise Hackney.

“Our company’s number one priority is to give law enforcement agents the tools they need while preserving lives. We do this by bridging the gap between lethal and non-lethal options.”

Lazarus is in the process of securing a patent for their solution and working to produce an MVP by May 2020.

Lazarus was selected for the inaugural LaunchPad Lift Cohort, a 10-week personalized mentorship-driven program for student-led ventures, which comes with a $10,000 grant upon completion of the program to help founders move their businesses forward.

“We operate in an industry that deals with important but difficult topics, and want to create a brand that is seen as positive and focused on safety – both for law enforcement and society at large.  We are excited about the opportunities to learn through Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars” as we continue to grow our business.”

Learn more about LaunchPad HERE

Follow our LaunchPad Lift Cohort series where we highlight each student-led venture.

After the Exit: What’s Next for SendGrid Founder Isaac Saldana?

Techstars Studio is Isaac’s Way of Giving First & Giving Back

Ever wondered what a startup founder does after their company is acquired for billions of dollars?

Isaac Saldana, Co-founder of SendGrid—which was acquired by Twilio for $3 billion in an all-stock deal in October 2018—isn’t lounging on a beach. He’s helping other entrepreneurs create companies, using everything he learned by building SendGrid. And he’s returned to Techstars, the company that taught him how to build SendGrid, to do it.

Just months after SendGrid’s headline-grabbing exit, Isaac has a new job, as Chief Technology Officer for Techstars Studio, a new Techstars offering that will empower members of the Techstars worldwide network to rapidly envision, validate, and launch disruptive startups.

Techstars For Life

“When I started building SendGrid, it was to solve a problem I had. I wasn’t thinking about acquisitions or the company going public.” Isaac says. “I had a problem, I thought I could fix it, I tried, and I couldn’t. And because I couldn’t, I became passionate about trying to solve it.” Isaac was on a mission to help businesses solve the problem of email deliverability, and he ultimately did it so well that by the time SendGrid was acquired, the company was the world’s largest email delivery platform.

But back in 2009, Isaac knew he needed help to build SendGrid into a successful company. His first company had a great idea and a great team, but failed for lack of funding. His second company had a great idea, a great team, and funding, but didn’t have the right mentorship. “We didn’t know what we didn’t know,” Isaac says. “We didn’t know the right questions to even ask.” That company failed as well. So when SendGrid was just starting out and Isaac saw the opportunity to apply to a Techstars mentorship-driven accelerator program, he jumped on it.  

“Techstars really, really helped me get SendGrid started,” Isaac says. “I attribute a lot of the reasons for SendGrid success to Techstars.” The benefits lasted far longer than the three months of the accelerator program. Over the years, Isaac hired from the Techstars network, and formed partnerships through the network as well.

Give First, Give Back

Returning to Techstars as a key player in Techstars Studio feels to Isaac like giving back—and an opportunity to be even more involved in Give First—the core Techstars value that encourages all members of the Techstars network to give of themselves, of their time and expertise, with no expectation of receiving anything in return.

“I feel so thankful to the network. I’ve experienced the value that it provides first hand,” Isaac says. “Techstars makes a difference to entrepreneurs, and Techstars Studio was a great opportunity to get involved in the mission and contribute to it.”

Techstars Studio

To Isaac, Techstars Studio makes sense because it makes use of so many of Techstars strengths: a network of top quality talent, experience building successful companies, access to intelligent funding. “People used to think that you only needed a great idea, or great entrepreneurs, or great engineering,” he says. “Now they realize that you need more. Techstars has everything you need to build great companies from the ground up.”

For himself, personally, Isaac is looking forward to working with the amazing people in the Techstars network. “I want to work with the great talent of the Techstars network, to help them and also learn a lot from them, and become a better entrepreneur myself.”

Diverse Startups Do Better: How To Make Yours More Inclusive At Any Stage

“Decades of research by organizational scientists, psychologists, sociologists, economists and demographers show that socially diverse groups (that is, those with a diversity of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation) are more innovative than homogeneous groups.”

—Scientific American, “How Diversity Makes Us Smarter

“Our latest research finds that companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians.”

—McKinsey & Company, “Why diversity matters

As an entrepreneur—and as a human being—you know that having a diverse founding team, advisory board, and team of employees is both the right thing to do and good for business.

Still not sure about this? Check out this terrific article from Scientific American, “How Diversity Makes Us Smarter” and this McKinsey report on “Why diversity matters.”

Focusing on Diversity & Inclusion can be difficult for busy founders who are trying to get a new company off the ground. That’s why we want to offer some simple and actionable advice for founders about how to create a diverse and inclusive company, starting from the very beginning. This advice is based on Techstars Founders Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion, including the Kapor Capital Founders’ Commitments. All participants in our mentorship-driven accelerators sign on to these commitments; we believe that they can be helpful to founders everywhere.  

Set Goals

Setting goals around diversity and inclusion is an important first step. You can’t meet goals you don’t set, so the very act of setting goals is meaningful—even if you don’t meet them yet.

Of course, not all companies are the same, so nor should their goals be identical. In setting your goals, take into account your company’s funding stage, employee size, customer base, and core business.

Keep Yourself Accountable

Now that you’ve got some goals, hold yourself accountable to them. Keep track of how you’re doing, and include progress reports on D&I in your quarterly investor updates.

Review (or Set) Policies

When was the last time you looked at your company’s anti-discrimination and harassment policy? Do you even have one?

Take the time to review your policy, and if you don’t have one yet, set one. A major step toward building an inclusive environment is making sure everyone feels welcome and respected; a good way to do this is to make sure your values are reflected in your priorities.

Here are some samples that you can use:

Example of a non-discrimination policy:

(Your company) is dedicated to the principles of equal employment opportunity in any and all terms, conditions or privileges of employment including hiring, promotions, termination, training and compensation.  (Your Company) does not discriminate against applicants or employees on the basis of age, race, sex, color, religion, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, genetic information or any other status protected by federal, state or local law, where applicable.

Example statement on addressing bullying, discrimination and/or harassment:

A repeated pattern of physical and/or non-physical behaviors that (a) are intended to cause fear, humiliation or annoyance, (b) offend or degrade, (c) create a hostile environment or (d) reflect discriminatory bias in an attempt to establish dominance, superiority or power over an individual athlete or group based on gender, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual orientation, gender expression or mental or physical disability; is prohibited.

These are just a few key steps, but if you do all three, you’ll have made a very good beginning toward building a diverse and inclusive company.


Do you have questions about how to build D&I into your startup?

Come to our AMA on March 1, 2019 at 1:00 pm ET “Diverse Startups Do Better: How To Make Yours More Inclusive At Any Stage” with Jason Thompson, Techstars VP of Diversity & Inclusion and Allyson Downey, weeSpring founder and author of Here’s the Plan: Your Practical, Tactical Guide to Advancing Your Career During Pregnancy and Parenthood.

Get Help Faster: Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars Spotlight on My Wellbeing, a Therapist-Client Matching Service

Highlights of student-led ventures participating in the LaunchPad Lift Cohort, part of the Blackstone LaunchPad® powered by Techstars® entrepreneurship program

Sometimes we all just need to talk out our worries, stresses, and challenges with someone who is trained to help process the curve balls of life. Unfortunately, most people don’t seek professional care because it’s hard to find the right therapist-client fit.

To solve this problem, My Wellbeing, a student-led venture from New York University’s Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars entrepreneurship program, developed a therapist-client matching service that takes the stress out of finding the right mental health professional and improves retention of care.

Clients answer a five-minute questionnaire identifying their needs and what they’re looking for in a therapist. Within 24 hours, My Wellbeing sends a match and encourages them to schedule a free phone consultation with the therapist. Clients have the option to book the therapist or request another match.

“Ninety four percent of individuals who speak with their therapist by phone express a positive match and schedule an in-person appointment,” says Alyssa Petersel, My Wellbeing founder.

During her Masters in Social Work program, Alyssa discovered that finding mental health services that matched a client’s need was a growing problem, and when a client didn’t feel compatible with a therapist they would cease care.

“One in four Americans are in need of therapy but don’t seek care because they don’t know where to begin. Of those who do go to therapy, over half drop out prematurely because they don’t feel a strong connection with their therapist,” Alyssa explained.

Since the company launched in August 2017, My Wellbeing facilitated over 3,500+ matches. Therapists can sign up to be in the network and matched with clients. My Wellbeing is currently offered in the New York City area, with plans to expand in the near future.

My Wellbeing was selected for the inaugural LaunchPad Lift Cohort, a 10-week personalized mentorship-driven program from Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars for student-led ventures from the United States and Ireland, which comes with a $10,000 grant to help move the business forward.

“We have benefited from the perspective and generosity of countless mentors, without whom we would not be where we are today. We look forward to participating in this exciting new community with Techstars, Blackstone, our mentors and advisors, and our colleagues in our cohort, to #givefirst and grow together,” said Alyssa.

Learn more about Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars HERE

Follow our LaunchPad Lift Cohort series where we highlight each student-led venture.

Techstars and Starburst Announce Space-Focused Accelerator Program With U.S. Government And Corporate Consortium

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, U.S. Air Force, Lockheed Martin, Maxar Technologies, SAIC, and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Unite to Disrupt Space Industry

LOS ANGELES and BOULDER, Colo.– Techstars and Starburst announced today their joint effort to help entrepreneurs succeed in aerospace. The Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator, a new Los Angeles-based program, will focus on the next generation of space technology companies and related frontier technologies. Matt Kozlov will be the managing director of the program. Matt previously led the Cedars Sinai Accelerator Powered by Techstars in Los Angeles and has invested in over 30 companies. Van Espahbodi, co-founder and managing director of Starburst, will be advising Kozlov and the broader program, applying his experience of accelerating over 300 aerospace startups.

Building on Techstars success running more than 150 accelerator programs around the world with both government entities and Fortune 500 corporations, coupled with Starburst aerospace industry experience and expertise, this new mentorship-driven accelerator has formal sponsorship from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lockheed Martin, Maxar Technologies, SAIC, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), and the U.S. Air Force, with support from The Aerospace Corporation.

With recent technological breakthroughs such as reusable rockets, 3D printing, advanced materials, and miniaturization of satellites (“smallsats”), as well as the introduction and adoption of new business models, the opportunities for entrepreneurs and corporations are unprecedented. New business models will be a focus for the accelerator, and the consortium will be looking to work with startups that have a use case for new space and related technologies in fields such as energy, communications, robotics, and autonomy. Breakthroughs in these industries contribute to why Bank of America Merrill Lynch recently estimated the space economy will be worth more than $3 Trillion by 2045.

“The space industry is massively exciting but also quite complex,” said Matt Kozlov, managing director of the Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator. “We are bringing together vital industry leaders, both public and private, who will help entrepreneurs navigate the industry and provide unprecedented commercial support and mentorship. We will help founders achieve two years of commercial traction in three months. Given the pedigree of our sponsors, I expect this program will very quickly become a vital resource for entrepreneurs building frontier tech.”

“The list of incredible companies just keeps growing,” said Van Espahbodi, co-founder and managing director of Starburst. “The broader aerospace industry has finally embraced the notion of ‘open innovation’ by partnering with entrepreneurs to co-develop products, with a compelling business plan to match. Starburst is excited to advise the program to ensure early-stage businesses have the appropriate tools to compete in this emerging marketplace.”

Applications for Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator open today. The program, Techstars third accelerator program in California, will kick off in July 2019. Startup companies in commercial space or that are developing related technologies are encouraged to apply. Startup companies looking to connect with program staff prior to applying or to get feedback on their companies are welcome to request Office Hours with Techstars staff.


About Techstars

Techstars is the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. Techstars founders connect with other entrepreneurs, experts, mentors, alumni, investors, community leaders, and corporations to grow their companies. Techstars operates three divisions: Techstars Startup Programs, Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator Programs, and Techstars Corporate Innovation Partnerships. Techstars accelerator portfolio includes more than 1,700 companies with a market cap of $18 Billion.

About Starburst

Starburst is an innovation catalyst in the Aerospace industry. It is the first global Aerospace Accelerator, matching corporates with startups while providing strategic growth consulting for startups and corporations alike. With offices in Los Angeles, Paris, Montreal, Munich, San Francisco and Singapore, the team has built an ecosystem of key players across the Aerospace industry including over 4000+ related startups. Every year Starburst hosts numerous international and national events bringing together Aerospace innovators and puts innovation in the spotlight at international air shows.

David Cohen on The Twenty Minute VC

David Cohen is the founder and co-CEO of Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. To date, David has backed hundreds of startups including the likes of Uber, SendGrid, Twilio, ClassPass, PillPack and more. In total, these investments have gone on to create more than $80B in value. Prior to Techstars, David was a co-founder of Pinpoint Technologies which was acquired by ZOLL Medical Corporation in 1999. Later, David was the founder and CEO of earFeeder, a music service that was sold to SonicSwap. If that was not enough, David is also the co-author (with Brad Feld) of Do More Faster: Techstars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup.

David spoke with Harry Stebbings on The Twenty Minute VC to discuss why seed investing is a different asset class to venture, what makes the best and the worst board members, and why every company has to have a pessimist in the room. 



As always you can follow HarryThe Twenty Minute VC and David on Twitter here!