Techstars is unique amongst seed accelerators in that we operate fourteen different programs across eleven cities in the US and Europe. The depth and breadth of the Techstars network means that Techstars companies are supported by local Techstars MDs and staff in most major US cities. But I was curious: where do founders choose to base their company after they complete a Techstars program? And what insights can be drawn from this data?
When founders base their company in the same city/region where they went through Techstars, they can make maximum use of the local networks they build during the program. But for personal reasons, founders may choose to relocate their company closer to home or in a city they feel is more advantageous for their long-term success.
Recently, I went through data for our portfolio companies. Of the 500+ companies Techstars has funded, I selected 275 that were both operating (had neither failed nor been acquired) and had completed Techstars more than four months ago. In my personal experience, four months after going through a program our companies have largely decided where they’re going to be based. Data for company locations comes from the internal networking application for Techstars founders.
Of the 275 companies, 171 of them (62%) chose to base their company in the same city where they went through the Techstars program. For companies that went through our “city” programs (like Techstars Boulder, Techstars NYC, etc.), 71% of the companies stayed in the city. Our vertical-focused programs like the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator and R/GA Connected Devices Accelerator tend to attract applicants from a wider geographic area, which leads to a lower rate of 39% of those companies staying in the same city.
But where do these companies go when they move? Of the top five destinations, four of them are cities with Techstars programs: New York City, Boston, Chicago and Boulder. The top location where startups go is the San Francisco / Bay Area, where Techstars has a thriving network of alumni, mentors, and investors. In fact, just 38 of those 275 companies moved to a city where Techstars doesn’t have local staff on the ground who have built a local network of mentors and investors.
While the majority of our companies stay in the same city where they went through Techstars, those that move go to cities where they can continue to leverage the Techstars network. They can continue to get advice and connections from the local Techstars Managing Directors and mentors, be introduced to local investors, share office space, or just connect with fellow entrepreneurs. The breadth of the Techstars network across the US and Europe, with local Techstars Managing Directors and staff, means startups can be supported while basing themselves in the city that’s right for them.