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.”

Techstars introduces Techstars Studio to rapidly envision, validate, and launch startups

Techstars Studio Will Create Disruptive New Startups and Help Large Corporations Innovate

January 16, 2019 — BOULDER, Colo. — Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, today announced the launch of Techstars Studio, a new offering that will empower members of the Techstars worldwide network to rapidly envision, validate, and launch disruptive startups.

“In 2007, Techstars forever changed the way entrepreneurs build companies by introducing the mentorship-driven accelerator model,” said David Cohen, founder and co-CEO of Techstars. “Today, Techstars is launching a new way to build companies by coupling a full service venture studio with the entrepreneurial talent of the Techstars worldwide network and our proven track record of helping startups succeed. Techstars Studio provides services including strategy, design, engineering, and more to help you build your next company.”

Large corporations can tap into Techstars Studio to co-create companies to solve specific challenges in their industry. Through an annual membership, large corporations will have access to early views of the technology and routine updates as the Techstars Studio team moves ideas from concepts to prototypes to companies. At launch, Techstars Studio has the support of more than 25 corporate partners and advisors.

“Our corporate partners are so excited about Techstars Studio because we have an unparalleled network of entrepreneurial talent, with a proven track record for discovering the most promising founders and helping them build successful companies,” added Sabrina Kelly, Techstars vice president of Talent.

Techstars Studio will enable Techstars to source and support new company concepts from Techstars alumni founders, community leaders, venture capitalists, and corporate partners. The team will validate ideas, design prototypes, test market adoption, and select the most promising concepts for launch. Techstars Studio will then spin out new startups and source talent and capital from its worldwide network to run the company.

Joining Techstars Studio is Isaac Saldana, founder of SendGrid (NYSE: SEND) and Mike Rowan, former VP of SendGrid Labs, who will work with a team of advisors and founders in residence — each a member of the Techstars worldwide network — who collectively have founded companies valued at more than $10B today.   

“I joined the Techstars network in 2009 when SendGrid went through the Techstars Boulder Accelerator program,” said Isaac Saldana, chief technology officer of Techstars Studio.  “After seeing SendGrid through to IPO, Mike Rowan and I created Joy Labs as an innovation platform to empower the network that develops the world’s best software. Because Techstars is about helping entrepreneurs succeed, I feel grateful for the opportunity to join Techstars Studio and leverage all of this to help other entrepreneurs build great companies, and continue our vision to make software better.”

Techstars has a proven track record of helping the most promising and highest-quality startups succeed and a worldwide talent network ready to go to work on the next great idea. Want to rapidly envision, validate, and prototype disruptive new startups? View this video to learn more. Visit Techstars Studio to get involved:

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.