Techstars 2.0: Supercharging Founder Success

Feb 21, 2024

UPDATED: 2/22/2024

In 2024 we plan to invest in 700-800 companies (~100 more than in 2023) through more than 50 accelerator programs in more than 30 locations around the world. That is more early-stage investments through more accelerator programs than any investor in the world. See our programs here. We will do this by delivering what founders need, or what we call, the Techstars formula: Capital + Programs + Connections = Opportunity

Since 2007, Techstars has run 397 accelerator cohorts for more than 4,000 early-stage startups, making us the most active pre-seed investor in the world. Over the past 17 years, we have learned more than a few things about what founders need — and how to set them up for success. We consistently tell Techstars entrepreneurs to: “Focus on your core customer; continuously refine your product based on their needs”; and, “Fall in love with your problem, not your solution” (thanks to Uri Levine for putting that so perfectly). Well, we’re practicing what we preach. We’re taking all of our experience, all of our understanding of what entrepreneurs need from an accelerator or pre-accelerator program, and creating Techstars 2.0.


Techstars 2.0 is the result of two years of internal analysis, planning and listening to our stakeholders. Over the course of this next year, we will be evolving our offering and platform to provide greater value to the entrepreneurs we invest in. Our goal? To create an even better Techstars which will enable us to supercharge more startups, empower more entrepreneurs and create additional success for everyone involved. 

Techstars 2.0 is a wide-ranging initiative that touches just about every part of our business and operations internally and externally. Let me give you just a few examples of some of the work we’ve been doing, and that will continue to unfold in the year ahead:

1. Delivering accelerators that are even “Better for Founders” 

  • We’re rolling out a new approach to founder support, with a best-in-class curriculum built from the top programs of the past 17 years. Think: MasterClass for entrepreneurs, with some of the best and most experienced mentors in the world sharing their expertise while also answering questions live.

  • We’re going to be delivering even more 1:1 support from our Managing Directors and their teams, including fundraising and vertical support, tailored to the needs of each entrepreneur. 

  • Over the last 18 months, we have built a new global tech platform, Techstars Universe, which enables founders to tap into the power and sector expertise of the Techstars network and engage with our community of more than 9,000 Techstars founders, 4,000 mentors, hundreds of partners and thousands of VCs, spanning geographies and industries. Techstars Universe is now available to all our new portcos.

  • No other global accelerator network has built such an extensive and influential range of partners – including NASA/JPL, eBay, J.P. Morgan, Cox Enterprises, Cedars-Sinai, Point32Health, and University of Southern California to name but a few. They provide our portcos with unique access to expertise, infrastructure, sector-specific connections and, potentially, customers. Until recently their impact was limited to the specific program on which they were partnering with us. From now on, Techstars partners will be able to go beyond their individual programs to reach and provide insights to founders across multiple accelerators. We will be rolling out Practices in 15 capability and industry categories such as sustainability, health-tech, and consumer goods & retail. This means founders will have access to strong connections and content specific to the practice area(s) they operate in, which will further enrich their experiences and strengthen the portfolio during and post-accelerator. 

2. Refocusing our accelerator footprint to optimize founder success

  • We know that founders are more likely to succeed when they are plugged into a thriving ecosystem — because no one succeeds alone. So we’re doubling-down on running in-person programs in the largest tech ecosystems so entrepreneurs can be surrounded by the highest concentration of VCs, startups, talent, mentors, and support. See our 50 programs.

  • We will continue to support smaller ecosystems (see #3 below) and actively look for entrepreneurs from all around the world. Appreciating that not every founder can easily relocate, we are also prioritizing our very successful Techstars Anywhere program, a hybrid format we developed during the pandemic which mixes intensive in-person and remote weeks. Learn about our 30+ cities.

  • We’ve taken the decision that we will move Techstars’ corporate headquarters to NYC. Boulder, Colorado has been our home for more than 17 years and that community has made us the global company we are today. We remain proud of our Colorado roots, however, New York is the second largest — and growing — startup ecosystem globally, and we want our headquarters to be in one of the epicenters of the startup world with more funding, connectedness, talent, knowledge, and market reach. We will still be present in the Denver/Boulder ecosystem, and we just opened a new office in downtown Denver which remains home to a large number of Techstars employees. 

3. Continuing to support smaller tech ecosystems

  • From the very start, Techstars has been committed to nurturing entrepreneurship from the ground up and we will continue to do so. We have learned — and have the data from almost 400 accelerator programs — that a tech/startup ecosystem is not built simply by Techstars having an accelerator program in a particular market, especially if we don’t have strong local partners to work with. It takes a large group of stakeholders and many years of deep engagement to build the necessary density. See our 50 programs in 30+ cities here.

  • In accordance with our foundational belief that great ideas exist everywhere but opportunity is not equally distributed, we will continue to run programs in smaller venture ecosystems where we have partners that offer valuable expertise in addition to capital. This does mean that we will be phasing out some accelerator programs in a few smaller venture markets where we have run accelerators in the past. 

    • For example, our last Boulder accelerator will run this March through June. We will, however, continue to operate our Workforce Development accelerator out of our Denver office with our partners Strada Education Foundation and World Education Services. Furthermore, we are an active participant in the consortium with the Governor’s office to bring federal funding to the state to accelerate quantum technology innovation which would likely result in additional Techstars accelerators. We will also continue to be the proud title sponsor of Boulder Startup Week ensuring we remain a part of the community that helped build our company. 

    • In 2024 we expect to continue running accelerator programs in 30 other locations in addition to our core cities. 

  • We have also developed what is now a robust suite of pre-accelerator programs that begin with Startup Weekends, Startup Community Catalyst programs and Founder Catalyst programs. Together, with local universities, corporations, federal, state and local governments we are nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs, many of whom will go on to attend one of our accelerators in a hub city or one of our partner programs. In 2023, these pre-accelerator programs supported 30,000 founders around the world. And, they’re a great way for us to connect with founders who are often overlooked by traditional VCs.  

    • This process of building from the ground up is a proven model that we’ve most recently seen come to fruition with the launch of Techstars Tokyo Accelerator which followed years of ecosystem development work, including 377 Startup Weekend events across 66 cities and three Founder Catalyst programs (partnering with JETRO). 

4. Investing in the best founders

  • Despite running more programs than ever, we set a very high bar when it comes to founder selection. In 2023, most of our accelerator programs had less than a 1% acceptance rate. All the changes outlined above (and some more we’ll unveil in the coming months) are aimed at perpetuating this culture of excellence.

  • Armed with 17 years of data from hundreds of thousands of applications and 4,000+ portcos, we are continuing to strengthen our selection process. Whereas many investors talk about being data-driven, we’re building the first truly data-powered early-stage tech investment firm.  

  • We have developed global and multi-channel sourcing capabilities — if you’re an entrepreneur or an aspiring entrepreneur, the chances are high that there is a free Techstars event for you this month. Whether it’s via top universities around the world, local Startup Weekends or online events, we are determined to reach every unstoppable founder, wherever they are and try to help them start on their journey. 

I could go on and on about the ways we are making Techstars better for founders, for VCs and LPs, but then what would I have to share with you in the months ahead? 

Fundamentally, our company is ready to source, equip and support more founders than ever before. With Techstars 2.0 we now have a platform in place to increase investment rigor and deliver world-class accelerator experiences at scale that will ramp up our portfolio companies’ chances of success. I can’t wait to share more as the year goes on.

Maëlle Gavet

CEO, Techstars