More Than Money: Announcing a New Rising Stars Selection Process

May 02, 2023

Our Rising Stars team believes that the most successful founders are obsessed with the problem they're solving. Our team looks for early signals of this through how founders answer our due diligence questions.

With this in mind, we're excited to roll out an update to our fund's vetting process: over the course of six-week cycles, our team will make investment decisions based on assignments that founders submit.   We originally created this process for the Techstars Chicago program in 2020, and since then, hundreds of founders have gotten value from it. Our goal for this process is for each company to emerge with a better understanding of their business. This is regardless of our decision to invest or not. The information we'll ask you to share and/or develop will tell us a few key things about you and your business. It boils down to three simple questions:

  1. How well do you know your customers? 

  2. How well do you know your numbers? 

  3. How well do you know yourself and your team?

We used to only teach founders the frameworks to answer these questions well after we invest. We figured, why not share our insights and techniques with everyone? Whichever companies demonstrate potential upon application are the ones we can help the most.

If this approach to applying for investment is compelling to you, we encourage you to apply (or re-apply) for the Rising Stars Fund here. We're looking forward to meeting you!

Neal + The Rising Stars Team

About the Author
Neal Sáles-Griffin

Neal Sáles-Griffin has been the Managing Director of the Techstars Chicago Accelerator since 2019. Before Techstars, he made his name in the startup ecosystem when he founded the nation’s first coding bootcamp, Code Academy, in 2011. Since his exit, Neal has not stopped promoting change - running for mayor of Chicago, assisting several non-profit foundations, and now putting his efforts toward finding, teaching, and supporting the next generation of impactful entrepreneurs.