Growing a Startup Ecosystem in Louisville, KY

Photo courtesy of University of Louisville

Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, and the Louisville Entrepreneurship Acceleration Partnership (LEAP) together announce the launch of the Techstars Startup Ecosystem Development program in Louisville, Kentucky. Techstars and LEAP will build a self-sustaining coalition of entrepreneurs, corporate partners, local and national investors, government and academic leaders, and startup enthusiasts in the community to collaborate on accelerating the growth of the ecosystem.

We have been working in Louisville over the past three months to learn as much as possible about the community’s entrepreneurial ecosystem through stakeholder interviews and surveys as well as extensive secondary research. The results are now released as an assessment and roadmap for Louisville. Using the Techstars’ startup ecosystem development model—with a focus on the interactions between attitudes, actors, and activities—the findings of the assessment include analysis of Louisville’s culture, capital, talent, institutions and density. This report is the beginning of a year-long engagement to help create a more robust Louisville startup community.

The Louisville startup ecosystem has been building momentum over the past decade and is on a path to continue that growth in the near term. There is already a generous #givefirst culture in the network, a variety of events and activities that support idea stage founders, and handful of startup-focused organizations that are beginning to work together.

The Techstars model does not prescribe a general playbook in the communities it supports. Instead, it builds a living roadmap that outlines a set of guidelines based on the voices, experiences, and insights uncovered during the assessment. Everyone in a community has an important part to play, but thriving startup ecosystems are led by entrepreneurs, and when entrepreneurs win, everyone wins.

The Techstars Startup Ecosystem Development program is built in part based on principles outlined in the Book Startup Communities by Brad Feld, cofounder of Techstars and partner at Foundry Group. “Building a startup community is not a zero-sum game in which there are winners and losers: if everyone engages, they and the entire community can all be winners.”

The Techstars Startup Ecosystem Development program works with local community leaders at the state and city level and local entrepreneurial support programs to support community infrastructure and leadership to stimulate economic development and job growth. Louisville is the second city to launch this extended program, the inaugural of which was Buffalo, NY. Click here to learn more about how to activate your startup community.








Techstars and 43North Partner to Grow Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Buffalo

Buffalo, NY — January 31, 2019 — Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, and 43North, New York State’s startup competition that invests $5 million annually to attract and cultivate startups in Buffalo, NY, are partnering on a multi-year program to further develop and scale the Western New York entrepreneurial ecosystem. Together, Techstars and 43North will build a self-sustaining coalition of entrepreneurs, corporate partners, local and national investors, government and academic leaders, and startup enthusiasts within the community.

In addition, Techstars announces the formal launch of the Techstars Startup Ecosystem Development program. The Techstars Startup Ecosystem Development program offers economic and government leaders at the state and city level research, program management staff, and services to support the rapid injection of key ingredients into city infrastructure and leadership—all with the goal of driving economic development and job growth. Techstars is launching with Buffalo as the inaugural city for the Techstars Startup Ecosystem Development Program.

“Techstars sought a community that had a blend of passion, population size, and the organizational commitment to take their ecosystem and supersize it,” said Chris Heivly, vice president of Innovation at Techstars. “Buffalo already has a burgeoning ecosystem with strong players such as 43North, Launch NY, and University at Buffalo. While Techstars is partnering with 43North on this initiative, the Techstars Startup Ecosystem Development program is a community-wide effort, and Techstars will focus on increasing the existing collaboration in the community.”

Techstars began its work on this initiative in the fall by researching the current state of the Buffalo entrepreneurial ecosystem through a series of interviews and surveys. Techstars officials then used this information and Techstars data on building ecosystems in other communities to create a roadmap for the future growth of Western New York’s startup community.

“I have long believed that in the modern era, you can start a scalable, high-growth company almost anywhere, and every metropolitan area with over 100,000 people should have a thriving startup community.” Brad Feld, co-founder of Techstars and partner at Foundry Group.

Techstars Startup Ecosystem Development program for Buffalo includes providing mentorship to 43North companies and other Buffalo startups; coaching and facilitating interactions with Western New York mentors, community leaders, investors, and potential investors; producing year-round events and programming; forging connections with Techstars global network; producing and posting digital content about the Buffalo ecosystem; and conducting ongoing measurement of the progress of Buffalo’s startup community.

Techstars is currently seeking a Buffalo-based Executive Director who will work with Techstars executives, a small Buffalo staff, and the 43North team to execute the plan.

“Whether you’re looking at the number of startups, the volume of venture capital, or the engagement of our community’s leaders, Buffalo’s startup ecosystem is the strongest that it has ever been. While we are encouraged by our recent growth and success, we have an opportunity to double down on our efforts to build our entrepreneurial community into one that generates jobs and prosperity for generations to come,” said Eric Reich, 43North board chair. “Techstars is one of the world’s most respected organizations for supporting startups and building startup communities, making them the ideal partner to help Buffalo and 43North take the next steps on our journey. We are excited to welcome them to Buffalo and to work collaboratively across the ecosystem to deliver the results that this great community deserves.”

“Buffalo’s startup ecosystem has made significant progress, and the partnership between Techstars and 43North is a strategic commitment to support its continued growth and regional economic impact,” said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky.

The Techstars Startup Ecosystem Development program in Buffalo is a partnership with 43North, with support from M&T Bank, National Grid, and others to be announced.

To learn more about the Techstars Startup Ecosystem Development program, join Techstars and 43North for an AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) on Ecosystem Development on February 28, 2019, at 3 pm EST. The AMA will be recorded.

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. www.techstars.com

About 43North

43North is New York State’s startup competition that invests $5 million annually to attract and cultivate high-growth startups in Buffalo. 43North portfolio companies also receive free incubator space in Buffalo for one year, guidance from mentors in related fields, and access to other business incentive programs such as START-UP NY. 43North operates through the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative, Empire State Development and several other sponsors. For more information about 43North, visit www.43north.org.

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Media contact:

Joanie Kindblade
Techstars
Joanie.kindblade@techstars.com
303.562.6230

Peter Burakowski
43North
Peter@43north.org