Techstars and Stanley Black & Decker Open Applications for their Second Founder Catalyst Program to Serve Diverse Founders in the Mid-Atlantic

May 28, 2024

Applications are now open for this pre-accelerator program for early-stage startups beginning in September 2024.

BALTIMORE, May 28, 2024 - Techstars, the most active pre-seed investor in the world providing entrepreneurs access to capital, programming and connections, and Stanley Black & Decker, a global leader in tools and outdoor equipment, open applications today for the second Techstars Founder Catalyst sponsored by Stanley Black & Decker. This 10-week, vertical agnostic, pre-accelerator program will address the needs of diverse and underrepresented early-stage founders. “Stanley Black & Decker’s long-standing goals have always been to drive both innovation and community impact,” said Marty Guay, Vice President of Business Development for Stanley Black & Decker. “We are pleased to once again partner with Techstars for this Founder Catalyst Program enabling these important priorities in Baltimore and the Mid-Atlantic region.”

The second Founder Catalyst program will build on the foundation of the inaugural program and provide 20 new startups with connection points and entrepreneurial education on a variety of concepts critical for startup success. Founders will additionally gain access to mentors from Techstars and Stanley Black & Decker’s network while working in a collaborative environment with a cohort of fellow founders. The program will run from September through November, concluding with an end of program showcase where founders will present their companies and highlight the growth they have experienced during the program. 

“We are enthusiastic about continuing our support of DE&I innovation and founders alongside a stalwart partner like Stanley Black & Decker,” shared Audra Gibson, Ecosystem Development Program Manager for Techstars. “Founders from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds encounter disparate hurdles in accessing crucial resources for their startup ventures. Initiatives like this program offer these entrepreneurs a chance to receive intentional support from a community of stakeholders committed to nurturing their business development and growth.” 

Techstars Founder Catalyst programs have seen great success, globally serving 461 startups, 255 of which have been diverse founders. Programs have led to over 1,500 mentor connections, numerous product launches, and millions raised by Founder Catalyst graduates. While an invitation to join a Techstars accelerator is not assured as part of the program, participants of the inaugural Founder Catalyst sponsored by Stanley Black & Decker were seven times more likely to join a Techstars accelerator versus an average applicant.  

One such Founder Catalyst alumni company, Reelist, accepted an accelerator invitation as part of the Techstars New York spring 2024 class and reflected on the value of Founder Catalyst. “The program helped us with sales, pitching, and the ability to build our business,” noted Reelist CEO, Sean Worden. Katy Schuck, Reelist COO, added, “Founder Catalyst helped us move at a velocity to better meet the needs of our customers.” Both co-founders shared that the program had been a significant catalyst in helping them gravitate toward a Techstars accelerator saying, “We were better prepared to apply for and make the most of Techstars New York because of the coaching, mentorship, and support we received as part of the Founder Catalyst program.” The upcoming 2024 fall Founder Catalyst program will be delivered in a part-time, primarily virtual format. Selected founders will be invited to attend a program kick-off, founder retreat, and the end of program showcase in person in Baltimore, MD. 

Applications are now open. Diverse or underrepresented founders from all industries and backgrounds in the Mid-Atlantic are encouraged to apply. For more information on the Techstars Founder Catalyst program, please visit: or our program information page.

About Techstars Techstars is the most active pre-seed investor in the world having invested through its accelerators in more than 4,000 companies. Founded in 2006, Techstars believes that entrepreneurs create a better future for everyone and great ideas can come from anywhere. Now we are on a mission to invest in an unprecedented number of startups per year enabling more capital to flow to more entrepreneurs around the world. We do this by operating accelerator programs and venture capital funds, as well as by connecting startups, investors, corporations, and cities to help build thriving startup communities.

About Stanley Black & Decker Headquartered in the USA, Stanley Black & Decker (NYSE: SWK) is a worldwide leader in Tools and Outdoor, operating manufacturing facilities globally. The company's more than 50,000 diverse and high-performing employees produce innovative end-user inspired power tools, hand tools, storage, digital jobsite solutions, outdoor and lifestyle products, and engineered fasteners to support the world’s builders, tradespeople and DIYers. The company's world class portfolio of trusted brands includes DEWALT®, CRAFTSMAN®, STANLEY®, BLACK+DECKER®, and Cub Cadet®. To learn more visit:

Media Contact for Techstars: Amalia Lytle, Director of Media Relations 

Media Contact for Stanley Black & Decker: Emily Cahn, Director, Public Relations