Today, we are thrilled to announce Techstars Austin!
Forbes and Bloomberg have been calling Austin the No. 1 Boomtown and the best place for your startup for years now, and Google recently chose it as the second city to receive the fastest Internet on the planet. Techstars exists to put the best mentors and the best entrepreneurs together in the best startup communities so Austin is a natural next stop for us. We will run our first program starting this August and applications are open as of today!
Nominated by investors, rapidly growing startups like SpareFoot, Mass Relevance, MapMyFitness, and Spredfast are just a few of the city’s new promising companies recognized in the A-List, created twice a year since 2011 by The Austin Chamber of Commerce (now partnering for this effort with SXSW Interactive). You probably know all about great Austin area companies such as Indeed, HomeAway, Bazaarvoice, Spiceworks, and more. There is so much happening in Austin and we are grateful to be joining the ranks of an already strong community.
We have received enthusiastic support from the local tech groups in Austin and there are already many fantastic mentors and investors involved including Brett Hurt (Bazaarvoice), Tom Ball and Mike Dodd (Austin Ventures), Sam Decker (Mass Relevance), Jeff Dachis (Dachis Group), Kip McClanahan and Morgan Flager (Silverton), Josh Baer and Bill Boebel (Capital Factory), Ned Hill and Aziz Gilani (Mercury Fund), Rony Kahan (Indeed), Rob Taylor (Black Locus) Lori Knowlton (HomeAway), and many more.
The Managing Director of Techstars Austin is Jason Seats. Jason is a “techie” and entrepreneur. Rackspace acquired his company Slicehost in 2008 and then made him VP of Engineering. Jason is an active angel investor and has been with Techstars since 2011 with two very successful programs under his belt as Managing Director. He brings amazing technical chops, founder experience and a strong network of his own. Jason is moving down the road from San Antonio to Austin and we’re confident that he will be a big part of growing both Techstars and the startup community in his new home.
Techstars will operate out of Capital Factory in downtown Austin. This beautiful space is “the most inspiring office space in Austin” for startups, and we’re happy that it’s our new home too. The amazing folks behind Capital Factory (Josh Baer and Bill Boebel) have played a critical role in bringing Techstars to Austin and we’re thankful for all of their support.
Whether you’re a born and raised Longhorn or simply think you can contribute to keeping Austin weird, we’re ready to review your application. Find out for yourself what three months of intense mentorship, seed funding and a powerful network can do for your company. Start by seeing what it has done for our alumni.What is Techstars?
Today, we’re thrilled to announce our Spring 2013 Techstars class for New York City. Our applicant pool of nearly 1,700 companies was an all-time high for NYC. We had applicants from 420 cities, 66 countries, and 6 continents (no applicants from Antarctica—this year). The acceptance rate for our program (0.6% this time) grows ever smaller by the year.
We had applicants from countries as diverse as Nepal and Tanzania. More than ever, our applicant pool reflects the global reach of Techstars and the infusion of technology in the cultural zeitgeist of societies around the world. The movie The Social Network has become the Wall Street of our generation. This is true not just for America but for the world at large. Some of the brightest minds of our era are choosing to become entrepreneurs.
Even more impressive than the geographic diversity of our applicant pool was the outstanding range of business ideas, and this is reflected in the diversity of our class. The unifying theme is the fantastic quality of our founders and the interesting (and large) market opportunities they are tackling. We are not afraid to take chances. For the first time ever, we have a company tackling the religion space, an underserved yet massive market with incredible opportunities for disruption. Two of the things that Americans care most about are what they drive and what they eat, and we have companies revolutionizing both. The areas our founders are tackling are as varied as optimizing ecommerce to the world of pets. Our companies dream big, tackling the exciting new trends in cutting edge 3D to new ways of experiencing live shows to the quantifying of innovation for every company in the world. And the markets are large, with our founders bringing solutions to the millions of new parents in the US every year to providing pioneering solutions for the $40 billion online advertising market as well as the $1.2 trillion local commerce market.
Without further ado, here is our class for 2013:
AdYapper: Transparency and analytics to cut wasted ad spend.
Dash Labs: Connected car platform.
FaithStreet: Social outreach platform for faith communities.
Jukely: 2-tap concert concierge.
Klooff: Uniting pet lovers around the world.
Placemeter: Smart in-store sensors capturing customer data.
Plated: Redefining the way we eat.
Sketchfab: Publish, share and embed interactive 3D models.
TriggerMail: Intelligent ecommerce emails.
Validation Board: Quantifying innovation and testing ideas for enterprises.
weeSpring: Community for new parents built around the people they trust most.
I am thrilled to announce the Spring Boston 2013 class. Each session we push ourselves to get better and continue to try new things. This is the sixth Techstars program in Boston and we are pleased by the continued strong quality of the startups and by the support the community has shown for them. Our session begins today and will end on May 23rd with demo day.
We seek to invest in a diverse set of companies because our Boston mentors and investors have wide interests and experience across technologies and businesses. This program includes companies that range from B2B enterprise software to technology-driven custom fashion, data hosting and visualization, mobile consumer services, developer infrastructure to “brains for bots” and more. Once again, we’ve stretched beyond software: this time to include a company transforming agriculture.
The founders bring a fantastic level of drive, knowledge, enthusiasm and tenacity that I know will make great businesses. Many of the companies are from the Boston area but we also have teams from Washington, DC, Austria, France, and Ukraine. If experience is a guide, I know they will all be blown away by the welcome they receive from the Boston community. This is an amazing city; we are all lucky to be here.
Here are the 14 companies in the Techstars Spring 2013 program in Boston:
An interactive and educational game and competition platform for developers.
A hosted continuous integration and deployment platform.
A crowd-sourced fashion label, where anyone can create and sell their unique designs with our 3D design tools, custom fit, and on demand production.
Helps communities and developers build better real estate projects.
A new social app for sports fans.
A scalable farming platform can be installed anywhere and operated by almost anyone, transforming shipping containers into a source for high yield crop production.
Jebbit’s pay per performance model benefits both brands and consumers, guaranteeing a brand that their message is comprehended while rewarding consumers with cash for actively answering questions that educate them on the brand.
LinkCycle helps manufacturers manage resource consumption across product lines to reduce costs without any extra hardware or data collection.
We build brains for bots.
Using advanced economic modeling and data visualization to improve government transparency, efficiency, and performance.
A “YouTube for numbers,” a platform that makes data broadcasting and data visualization accessible to anyone.
Helps organizations achieve their goals by connecting and engaging communities around meaningful actions.
Redefining vulnerability discovery.
We’ve always been cautious with our growth, always prioritizing quality over quantity. We have great programs in the US that are well respected, and have built an incredible network of hands-on mentors and alumni. We’ve learned that the most important thing when entering a new location is to ensure that the quality of the person running the program (we call it the Managing Director), their team, and the mentors is exceptionally high. We found that in London in Jon Bradford.
The reality is that we found it some time ago. I first met Jon about three years ago when he was launching The Difference Engine in Newcastle. I went there to help him understand how to build a high quality mentorship-driven accelerator. We spent a few days talking about the philosophy of giving first, and about the powerful motivation of building startup communities. It was immediately obvious that we were culturally and philosophically aligned. Jon put the startups first in every thought he had. Because of this, we kept in touch over the years. We compared notes and tried to help each other. Each time I would come to the UK we’d get together, and it was the same when Jon visited the US.
Fast forward a few years and Jon had moved to London and built Springboard. In London, Jon had more “raw material” in the form of experienced mentors and startup talent. More and more interesting companies started to emerge. Jon continued to give back to startups by co-founding f6s which has since grown into a very large and useful social network for startup founders. After one of Brad Feld’s trips to Springboard, Jon encouraged and contributed to the Mentor Manifesto.
Meanwhile, Techstars in the US had funded some fantastic companies such as Memrise (from London, $6M in venture funding), GrabCAD (Estonia, $12M in venture funding), and DocTrackr (Paris, $2M in venture funding) so we also became more familiar with the great talent that Techstars London could tap into.
Then in September of last year when I visited Jon in London again, it was very clear to me that something had changed there. It just felt different. Better. Google Campus was teeming with startups that were thinking big. The Tech City branding had attracted more talented and provided visibility to what was happening in London. Big companies were starting to help the little companies. The community was showing all of the early signs that form the Boulder Thesis in Brad Feld’s book Startup Communities.
This is when I approached Jon about becoming part of Techstars. He agreed and the story is to be continued as Techstars London. Applications open March 16th, 2013 and the final application deadline is May 5th, 2013. As always, see our full schedule for more details.
I’m excited to announce the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator, powered by Techstars this morning. Kaplan will host ten companies focused on education technology and product innovation for an intensive three-month program in New York City this summer. The program will be housed very close to Techstars NYC in the West Village-SoHo neighborhood from June to September 2013. Mentors include Udemy CEO Eren Bali, Kaplan’s CEO Andy Rosen, Treehouse CEO Ryan Carson, General Assembly CEO Jake Schwartz, Benchprep co-founders Ashish Rangnekar and Ujjwal Gupta, Nick Ducoff (Boundless Learning), Brad Feld (Foundry Group), Sree Sreenivasan (Columbia University), Phil Weiser (Former Senior Advisor for Technology and Innovation to the National Economic Council Director at the White House, Dean of CU Law School), Matthew Greenfield (Managing Director of Rethink Education), myself, and many more industry leaders in the edtech space. Teams will receive $20K in seed funding, introductions to angel investors and VCs and access to Kaplan’s extensive network of resources; schools, students, tools, and research.
We’re very excited about partnering with Techstars to launch the KaplanEdTech Accelerator. Kaplan’s mission is to provide students with the best, most efficient means to achieving their educational goals. Ongoing cultivation of new innovations in the sector—in ways like this accelerator initiative—is embedded in our company’s history – Andy Rosen, Kaplan, Inc. chairman and CEO
My team and I are just as thrilled as Andy. Kaplan has been a long-time champion of startups and has been supportive of the Techstars community. We’re looking for teams that support ongoing learning, certifications, continuing education, and, in Kaplan’s words, any startup that “harnesses the latest learnings from the fields of science, instructional design, and technology to support the development of highly effective, evidence-based learning products.” Teams aren’t limited to traditional classroom education nor K-12. We’re looking for teams that are thinking outside of the box on a big scale.
Details about the program are available at KaplanEdTechAccelerator.com. The final application deadline is April 14, 2013. Selected companies will be contacted by the end of April, and the program will begin in June. Apply now!
Kaplan, Inc. is a leading international provider of educational and career services for individuals, schools, and businesses. Kaplan serves students of all ages through a wide array of offerings including higher education, test preparation, professional training and programs for kids in grades K through 12. Kaplan also operates an active venture capital fund, Kaplan Ventures, which invests in and supports early-stage education companies. Kaplan is a subsidiary of The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO) and its largest division.
Excelerate Labs is a world-class accelerator in Chicago, led by accomplished entrepreneurs Troy Henikoff (SurePayroll) and Sam Yagan (OkCupid, SparkNotes, Match.com) as well as two of the leading VCs in the Midwest, Sandbox Industries’ Nick Rosa, and New World Ventures’ Adam Koopersmith. In its first three years, it has already earned a place among the very best accelerators in the country.
Brad Feld and I have been close to Excelerate Labs since the very beginning, advising Sam and Troy and mentoring the companies in their three classes. The Excelerate Labs Demo Days have always been tremendously energetic and have inspired us to make the trip to Chicago and get more involved in the local startup ecosystem.
I have personally invested in three Excelerate alums: SpotHero, GiveForward, and Tap.me (acquired by Media Math). Excelerate’s results speak for the themselves: its first three classes have yielded thirty portfolio companies that have raised a total of over $30M.
As Techstars has expanded into new cities, we’ve always started our programs from scratch. But Excelerate made us think differently. We were so impressed with what they’ve built that we asked them to join forces with us and turn Excelerate Labs into Techstars Chicago. Techstars and Excelerate have always been kindred spirits: we both put entrepreneurs first and believe in the power of mentorship.
Troy Henikoff says, “We are excited to combine Excelerate’s deep roots in Chicago with Techstars’ vast alumni and mentor networks. Techstars Chicago will be an even stronger force in Chicago and will add incredible firepower to the Techstars platform.”
“I congratulate Excelerate Labs and I am pleased that Techstars has identified Chicago as one of the best places to start a technology business. This advancement is a huge step forward for the city’s technology economy and will fit hand-in-glove with the other efforts being made to promote entrepreneurship and create new jobs around Chicago.” – Mayor Rahm Emanuel
Please join me in welcoming Troy, Sam, Nick, Adam, and the Windy City to the Techstars family. Applications to Techstars Chicago open today. Apply now and see our full schedule for additional details.
I’m excited to announce Dylan Boyd as the Managing Director for the Nike+ Accelerator, powered by Techstars program, beginning in Portland March 18th. Dylan is a force to be reckoned with in the Portland startup ecosystem. His background includes building global e-commerce initiatives and online business solutions for large corporations and major brands with integrated interactive content and strategy programs. He has received several creative and business awards, including three INC 500/5000 awards. Dylan has been involved in campaign development with top brands like Wacom, Sega, WebMD, Inc/Fast Company, HBO, The Standard, Harland, Kettle Foods, Cinemax, Seattle Seahawks, Adaptu, Microsoft, Zinio, Mountain Hardware, and many others. Dylan was also VP of Growth for Urban Airship. As a mentor to the Portland Incubator Experiment and a board member of many renowned startups, Dylan is well-positioned to impart his entrepreneurial knowledge to our incoming class of startups.
The Nike+ Accelerator will host ten companies for a three-month, immersive, mentor-driven startup accelerator. The focus is to allow companies to leverage the Nike+ platform, and NikeFuel, to build offerings that inspire and assist people to live more active, healthy lifestyles. If your quantified self company or product helps people to be more active, we want to read your application. The deadline to apply is February 3rd. Apply today and see the schedule for more details. Have more questions? Consider attending our event in Portland tomorrow night or our Google Hangout info session on January 31st.
Today, Nike Inc. announces its first Nike+ Accelerator program, which will host 10 companies for a three-month, immersive, mentor-driven startup accelerator powered by Techstars. The program aims to leverage the success of the Nike+ FuelBand, Nike+ Running and NikeFuel to support digital innovation by connecting with companies that share Nike’s commitment to help people live more active, healthier lives. The Nike+ Accelerator will accept applications from companies hoping to utilize Nike+ technology to create products and services that will inspire athletes across a broad range of activity and health goals including training, coaching, gaming, data visualization and quantified self.
The Nike+ Accelerator will be based in Portland, Oregon, a short drive from the Nike World Headquarters. Once the companies involved have been selected, Nike will provide development tools and support to create solutions leveraging the Nike+ Application Program Interface (API) and Nike+ mobile Software Development Kit. Nike will also support the companies with access to a select list of Nike executives and external mentors.
To apply, go to www.nikeaccelerator.com for details and applications. The application deadilne is February 3rd, 2013. Successful companies will be contacted before the end of February 2013 and the program will begin in mid-March 2013.
Lissy Hu is CEO and co-founder of Careport Health (formerly known as eTransitions/Med2Bed), an innovative web-based tool that connects patients, hospitals, and post-acute care providers. Careport Health was part of the second Techstars program in Boston in 2012.
Coming from a medical background, without any startup experience to speak of, we needed a lot of help. We have been incredibly fortunate to find that help at Techstars in Boston. Two individuals, Rohit and Tuan, stand-out as exemplars of extraordinary Techstars mentorship. Prior to Techstars, Rohit had worked in consulting and venture and was CEO of his own start-up. His breadth of experience meant that he could guide us through any issue that arose — whether it was putting together the endless versions of our pitch deck or striking the right tone in an email. Tuan, the EIR at Techstars, was on loan from Silicon Valley Bank. Tuan is one of those rare people who comes with absolutely no agenda other than to help others succeed. He has the gift of knowing exactly what a team needs even before the team itself knows. Tuan is the ultimate connector. He made key introductions to individuals who had tackled the same challenges that we were facing and who could help us avoid potential pitfalls.
In startups, there are tremendous ups and downs. It is critical not only to believe deeply in your mission, but also to surround yourself with people who believe in you. There were moments — after a negative meeting with a customer or investor — that we doubted ourselves and our next step. During those low times, Tuan and Rohit were always there to remind us of our larger vision and why we are doing this in the first place. For us, it goes back to our patients, and our desire to improve how healthcare is delivered for millions.
Rohit and Tuan are the tip of the iceberg at Techstars. Katie, Reed, Bob, Jay and all the other amazing mentors we met at Techstars have been crucial in our development. In these three short months, Tuan, Rohit and many others became hugely important to us both personally and professionally. Beyond helping us to accelerate the growth of our company, we count them among our close friends. We loved going into Techstars to work each day, in part because of them. We spent time with each other’s families and friends. The prevailing wisdom of startups is that your founding team is critical. Our experience at Techstars has taught us that the next layer, your close mentors, is just as important to your success.
At the end of the day, Techstars reminds me in many ways of some of the things I love about medicine; the opportunity to work with smart, motivated people who are passionate about achieving goals and the mutual trust, support and close friendship among individuals who spend a lot of time together in an intense, fast-paced environment.
The early application deadline for Boston is tonight, December 3rd, one second before midnight PST. The final deadline is December 21st. Apply now so we can get to know your team.