What investments does Techstars make in its Accelerator portfolio companies?

Techstars provides Accelerator portfolio companies with access to financial, human and intellectual capital to fuel the success of their business.  

Upon acceptance to a Techstars Accelerator, every company is offered a $100,000 convertible note.

Techstars contributes $20,000, which is commonly used as a stipend to support living expenses during the program, and in return receives 6% equity of the company (on a fully diluted basis, issued as common stock) until the company raises a priced equity financing of US $250,000 or more (a “Qualified Financing”).

When you join a Techstars Accelerator, you also receive:

  • Access to Techstars resources for life.

  • Acceleration in a 90-day Techstars mentor-based Accelerator program with personal mentorship and office space to accelerate your business.

  • Lifetime access to the Techstars worldwide network of entrepreneurs including more than 10,000 mentors; 2,700 investors; 1,200 alumni companies  and 180 staff members.

  • Access to over $300k of cash equivalent hosting, accounting and, legal support –plus other credits and perks worth more than $1M.

  • Demo Day exposure and other investor connections.

In the unlikely event that a participating company is dissatisfied with their experience in the Techstars program, Techstars offers an Equity Back Guarantee, the only one of its kind in the industry.

Historically, on average, Techstars companies go on to raise more than $2M of outside capital after the program. We believe our stats speak for themselves.

What kind of companies do you fund?

We fund technology oriented companies, typically web-based or other software companies, but we’ve funded companies that don’t quite fit that mold as well. We’re also looking for companies that can have national or worldwide reach. Specifically, we don’t fund biotechnology companies, restaurants, consultancies, or other local service oriented companies.

What countries of incorporation does Techstars accept for investment?

This list is updated from time to time, but currently we can only fund companies that have jurisdiction in the countries shown below. Companies incorporated in other countries are still encouraged to apply, as we are adding to this list all the time and we can try assist with re-incorporation in a supported jurisdiction, or we may use it as an opportunity to add support for a new jurisdiction.

Countries include: ADGM (Dubai), Australia, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mauritius, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, UK, and United States.

Do you fund companies that are competitive with each other?

We do our best to avoid accepting competitive companies into the same program class. However, with the growing number of Techstars companies, it is possible that there may be competitive companies in the broader Techstars network. In the event there is a company in the Techstars portfolio that’s competitive, we work tirelessly to ensure there is no exchange of sensitive data.

Why does Techstars want stock in my new company?

Like you, we’re entrepreneurs. We think that the value of the learning, networking, and mentoring provided by the program is of tremendous value. The Techstars program will provide you with the healthiest possible start and greatly improve your chances for success and sustainability. Once we invest, we’re motivated to help you succeed by introducing you to people who can help, assisting you with strategy, finding more investors, and generally helping you win all along your entrepreneurial journey. That’s a good deal for both of us.

Who are the most notable Techstars companies?

There are too many to name and more great companies being added every year, but you might want to check out ClassPass, Digital Ocean, Localytics, SendGrid, Contently, Occipital, Next Big Sound, Kapost, Synack, Ginger.io, Sphero, FullContact, Simple Energy, Mocavo, GrabCAD, Kinvey, Placester, Crowdtwist, OnSwipe, Everymove, Remitly, Romotive, Cloudability, Distil Networks, DataRobot, DoubleDub, Pivotdesk, Revolv, Coachup, Pillpack, Keen.io and Plated.

Is my company “too far along” to apply to Techstars?

Probably not. We’ve had companies start with $1M+ in funding (read about one). We’ve had companies start with fully developed products and we helped them with business model, introductions, financing and more.

Here are a few more companies who have raised over $1M before Techstars:

We’ve even had companies go through our program once (Sphero, Boulder ‘10), sell millions of units, get up to $40M in funding, and then go through another one of our programs (Disney Accelerator ‘14). It depends on a number of factors including the product/service, the market, the program and the business strategy.

Likewise, nothing is too early. We’ve accepted companies with no more than an idea, a dream, and maybe a dog. Do the work. Ask any past founder by contacting them at founders@ their domain name – they’ll be happy to answer any questions that you might have.

Hear what other founders have to say on this topic.

After I apply, I’m thinking of emailing many of the mentors to get them interested in what I’m doing. Good idea?

No. We receive thousands of applications per year, which is why we have an application process. Systematically emailing some or all of our mentors in order to try to influence them before being accepted into the program will hurt you more than it will help you (because they’ll complain about it to us). The mentors are dedicated to helping the companies that we select, but are not a part of the selection process. Please don’t bombard them with emails.

Can I stop by your office to say hello?

Please don’t stop by our offices without an appointment. This is not a good example of persistence on your part and it will negatively influence your application. We are happy to consider taking an appointment, so please contact us instead.

Do I have to be in the Techstars location for the entire 3 month period?

Yes. We do require that you be primarily based on site during the program. (Unless you are in Techstars Anywhere, our mostly-virtual program). This benefits you because you can take advantage of the numerous learning opportunities, networking and coaching that will be provided. The amount of serendipity, unannounced-drop-in mentors, and camaraderie that is developed during the program is staggering.

Techstars is a major commitment, and we expect you to be around most of the time. However, it’s your company, you call the shots, so traveling as necessary for business or family requirements is okay by us.

Do I have to stay in that city when the program ends after 3 months?

No. It’s your company, so live wherever you want to. Many companies do decide to relocate to the city where they went through their Techstars program because of the vast local network that they can continue to tap into once the program concludes.

Can I apply if our company or founders are not from the US? Can you help with Visa/immigration issues?

Yes. Anyone from anywhere can apply, and we’ve funded many non-US companies in the past. You do have to be legally in the U.S. during the program, of course. Once accepted, we can help with legal/immigration issues by leveraging our contacts and network to help. However, we cannot help with them in advance of acceptance to Techstars.

What else does Techstars provide? Office space, internet, legal, hosting, etc?

We provide working and meeting spaces, as well as a nice lounge all with super fast and reliable wireless Internet access. Here’s a full list of perks that Techstars companies automatically receive, worth $1M. Basically, we’ll help you get everything covered with minimal expense. We just want you to focus on creating a great product while you’re here, and not have to worry about all this other stuff.

How can we get funded after Techstars ends?

We provide the seed funding to get you going, but you may well need more funding to really make it. Near the end of the three month program, we’ll organize an Investor Demo Day where angel investors and venture capitalists will check out your technology and listen to your pitch. Usually we have about 100-200 investors there. We’ll coach you so you’re as effective as possible, and do everything we can do help get you follow on funding. We may also fund your company further through Techstars Ventures, the venture capital arm of Techstars. So far, about 75% companies have received follow on funding and/or immediately became profitable after Techstars ended. On average, Techstars’ companies raise $1-2M post demo day.

What sort of control am I giving up by granting equity to Techstars?

Techstars wants to be viewed as a co-founder. In a nutshell, we don’t want any special or controlling interests in your company. We won’t ask for a board seat or for any uncommon investor rights. You will still run the show.

I’m a single founder. Can I get accepted into Techstars, or do you only look for teams?

While we don’t screen applications just because they have a single founder, it does make things more difficult. We look for great, balanced teams who have a full range of skills. We strongly advise you to seek co-founders who balance your skillset. For example, if you’re a strong developer, you might consider adding someone with business and/or marketing experience. If you’re a great business evangelist with no developer, it’s very unlikely we’ll accept you into the program, so go find a rock star developer to join you.

I’m a single founder. How can I find a co-founder?

Check out options like CoFoundersLab. We also suggest your local tech meetups, and a healthy dose of networking. Check out some of our events as we occasionally have Founder meetups.

Where will we live while we’re there?

That’s up to you – we don’t provide a place to live. If you’re accepted into Techstars, we immediately assign someone on our end to help you find housing. It hasn’t been much of a problem for past founders.

How do you choose which companies to accept into the program and to fund?

We will choose great founders who are proposing products that solve real problems or create meaningful innovations. For us, it’s about the team. Because of this reason, we’re less likely to accept single founder companies. The best things you can do to strengthen your application are:

  • Round out your team with business, technical, and other necessary skills.
  • Make progress on your prototype or product and reference it in the application.
  • Show us you’ve really thought about your business and have gotten off your butt to do something about it.
  • Demonstrate early traction or provide data points to validate your core assumptions.

Here are some tips about how to get accepted in the program:

Is my age a factor in your selection process?


When will I hear back about my application?

We try our best to notify applicants at least 1 month before the program starts.

What time specifically do applications close?

All applications close at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on the date indicated on our application page.

Can I apply to more than one program?

Yes, you can apply to more than one program. Within your application you can choose which programs you would like to apply to. You can also apply to both Techstars programs and the vertical programs we run with corporate partners at the same time. Should you talk to more than one Managing Director you should feel comfortable discussing that you have applied to more than one program.

Do I need to send in a business plan?

Nope. Just fill out the online application – that’s all you need for us. In fact, we probably don’t want to see your business plan if you have one.

When is the deadline to apply and what’s the overall timeline?

Check the schedule for details. Once you have submitted, you can’t edit the fields. That’s okay! You can always add notes, video URLs, and progress details in the notes section.

Do I have to work out of the Techstars office?

Most everyone does and we highly encourage it. We provide the space and our locations are fully equipped and have both traditional and lounge-like space. We do believe there is a great deal of value in being in the space together because the other companies and mentors interacting there present a great opportunity. Here is one great story about how working the space led to a huge opportunity.

What will a typical day be like for a Techstars founder?

It’s your company, so you’ll be hard at work on your product. You can choose to work out of the Techstars office if you’d like, or you can work anywhere else that you might prefer. About two or three nights a week, we’ll organize informal educational sessions with our mentors. We also expect many of the mentors to drop into Techstars at various times throughout the program.

In general though, you’ll be working on your product each day, just like all of the other founders in the program. We don’t tell you what to do or when, but we create an environment that is conducive to helping your startup every day. And we’ll make sure you have lots of experienced mentors around to help you.

Here are some posts from Founders about what it’s like in program:

Also, be sure to check out our “Where are they Now?” video series which chronicles life post-program for our founders.

I’m concerned that if I apply, you won’t protect my intellectual property. Should I be worried about this?

We’re certainly not in the business of stealing ideas, and we treat application data as confidential information. Each year, we see thousands of applications and many of them include similar ideas. For this and other practical reasons, please don’t ask us to sign an NDA. Our application does not ask for your “secret sauce” and there is no reason you have to disclose this to us if you’re not comfortable doing so. We hope that our reputation speaks for itself on this topic.

What if I’m not happy with my Techstars experience?

Check out our Equity Back Guarantee. We firmly believe in the value of the Techstars accelerator program and in the long term value of our network. This makes it easy to take this step to “put our equity where our mouth is.”

Do you ever offer internships to people interested in Techstars?

Yes, apply to be an Associate. You can cross-apply to multiple program locations as well.

My team outsources software development. Are we still qualified to apply?

Yes. We think it’s best not to outsource what you are, but it obviously works in some cases. We’re happy to consider any application. Just remember that we’re primarily focused on the team.

You talk a lot about the Techstars family and being a part of Techstars for life. Is there anything I could do to get kicked out of the Techstars network?

Yes, you can get kicked out. Just adhere to our Code of Conduct and all should be well.


Other questions, comments, or concerns?

Didn’t find the answer you were looking for? Send us an email at help@techstars.com and we’ll get back to you shortly!