By Dave Payne, Managing Director of Techstars Atlanta in Partnership with Cox Enterprises
After six months of traveling all over the Southeast, meeting over 1,000 founders, and reviewing hundreds of applications, we are ready to announce the 10 startups that have earned a spot in the 2020 Class of Techstars Atlanta in Partnership with Cox Enterprises.
As this year’s class came together, there were three surprising themes that emerged quite by accident that I’d like to highlight.
When I took over Techstars Atlanta as Managing Director in 2019 I decided to focus my recruiting efforts on the South. It’s a very underserved region of the U.S. from a startup perspective, and it’s a region that I understand well, being born and having experienced my own startup success here. So, like last year, I visited about 10 of the largest startup cities in the Southeast and met with more than 1,000 founders. And yet, despite this geographic focus, four of the startups selected for this year’s class are headquartered outside of the Southeast. The Techstars network is very strong, and we are constantly being introduced to founders all over the country and world. I might begin each year with a focus on one region, but ultimately, I select the best founders I meet, regardless of where they are located.
Those who know my reputation in Atlanta know that my background is with consumer-facing startups.
Despite this background, when I select a class I try to focus not only on my experience, but how the Techstars Atlanta mentor pool and community can support the selected companies. Atlanta is more of a B2B than a B2C town, so I do my best to balance the class. In last year’s class, for example, there were only three startups that sold directly to consumers.
This year’s class is the exact opposite of last year’s class — seven of the startups sell directly to consumers. As with geography, I might begin each year with one direction, but ultimately it comes down to the founders. This year our class happens to be more consumer focused.
Every Techstars program is very competitive and fortunate to receive many high-quality applications from founders, but this year’s application pool for Techstars Atlanta was particularly strong. When I began talking with founders in early January, the world looked very different than it did by the time applications were due early April. The Techstars network is a powerful ally to have for your startup, and this seemed to resonate with founders as the world became unsteady earlier this year.
Techstars Atlanta is a 13-week program that helps founders #domorefaster. During 90 days of rapid acceleration the entrepreneurs build their business networks, receive individualized support from Cox team members and the Techstars network, and learn the building blocks of a successful business. The program kicks off with mentor madness, where more than 1,000 hours of mentorship is provided by leaders from across Cox Enterprises, as well as regional leading subject matter experts.
We welcome everyone to join us at our Demo Day on October 19 where each of these ten startups will present the progress of their businesses to investors and supporters.
Please join us in welcoming the Techstars Atlanta in partnership with Cox Enterprises Class of 2020!
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