By Jenny Fielding, Managing Director of Techstars New York
Reflecting on the last 5.5 years of investing, many of the most impactful startups I’ve worked with have been pioneering software and services in the areas of health, wealth, and what I’m calling ‘happiness.’ Not so sexy, often behind the scenes, these companies are instrumental in improving the quality of our lives and changing how we function in the world.
While Techstars NYC isn’t constrained by a particular theme or thesis, in 2020 we are paying special attention to companies focused on these areas:
So much depends on our health and the health of our families and friends — even our pets! We are encouraged by the volume of innovation around the improvement of the doctor + patient experience and the ways that technology can democratize access to healthcare and resources.
Technology has dramatically reshaped so many of our consumer experiences to be more convenient and personalized. We believe healthcare can and will start to follow suit, and we’re interested in companies that will catalyze this change.
The ability to acquire wealth and transact is core to our society, and we’ve been excited about many of the radical shifts we’ve seen in the last few years fueled by automation and decentralization.
Since most of us acquire our wealth through our work (and will spend 90k hours at work over our lifetime!), one key focus is on the changing nature of the workplace. Advances in AI and machine learning are transforming how we work (and what work we do!), whereas human capital software in HR and training are changing how we interact at the workplace. Not to mention, the digital infrastructure that un-tethers us from our desks. All in, we see work changing, and we want to fund companies that are ushering in that change and preparing the workforce for what’s to come.
We’ve also seen startups continue to reimagine how money flows throughout the world. Money is moving more quickly and securely between consumers and businesses than ever before. Moreover, customers are demanding that our financial systems become more accessible and easier to navigate. We’re on the look-out for founders with novel ideas about how to manage money, assets, and reshape the way we do business with one another.
Increasingly, technology that was intended to bring us closer together has been linked to growing rates of anxiety, depression, and feelings of isolation. This doesn’t have to be the case. New products and services have the opportunity to create meaningful experiences, community, or, at least, fun. We expect to see more businesses focused on the intersection between the digital and the physical, a space where customers can connect and engage with each other.
What if my company doesn’t fit the above themes?
If you’re working on something that doesn’t fit neatly in one of the above categories, great! While these are areas that excite us, people are so much more important at this stage – definitely reach out and apply if Techstars NYC feels like a fit for you.
Is there a type of founder or team that you’re looking for?
Every team is different, but we’re ultimately looking to invest in founders that are persistent, thoughtful, passionate, and, most importantly — teams that execute.
We also want to invest in founders that are representative of the amazing city we call home. We know tech in the US has and continues to under-represent women and people of color, despite consistent evidence that more diverse teams outperform their more homogenous counterparts. Techstars is committed to building a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Sign up for office hours with the Techstars NYC team here.