Techstars Boulder: Team Announcement & Taking on Fintech

Jan 18, 2022

By Elle Bruno, Managing Director of Techstars Boulder

Wow. I can’t believe I get to put this in writing…This announcement comes with great humility and excitement. 

Beginning with the July 2022 class, I  will be taking over as the Managing Director of the Techstars Boulder Accelerator. As a 17 year start-up founder and operator, and with 15 investments across multiple verticals, I am looking forward to utilizing my myriad of experiences and outcomes to continue to build the Colorado ecosystem through Techstars. 

I am also thrilled to announce, joining me as our Investment Analyst will be Kallie Beebe - a Boulder resident, former Techstars associate and recent CU MBA grad. Kallie will run point on program management. 

Boulder is where it all began.

When Techstars was founded out of Boulder in 2007 by David Cohen, David Brown, Brad Feld, and Jared Polis, with a #givefirst mission, little did they know the impact Techstars would have on the global start-up ecosystem 15 years later. We’ve invested in almost 3000 companies and our companies have raised $19B, making us the largest investor into pre-seed companies on the planet. 

It’s an honor to take over a program with a rich history of amazing founders and Managing Directors. I’ll be taking on the former the role of some of my mentors including Natty Zola, Nicole Glaros, and David Cohen. And following suit to some of the most successful companies to come out of Techstars including Salesloft, Digital Ocean, SendGrid, and more recently the early success of Soona and Veho. 

Investment Thesis

We want to continue to evolve the original accelerator, recognizing the positive trends in the venture and startup market and bringing in first in class companies. So, as we are coming off the heels of a successful three year fintech accelerator in CO with Western Union, we want to use those tailwinds to our future founders' advantage. That accelerator produced a portfolio currently valued at over $250M with a vintage of only 2.5 years. We also built (much thanks to the former team of Ethan Austin and Josef Scarantino) a community of over 300 fintech focused investors, and 100+ mentors that have positively impacted all of our founders. We will optimize the existing Boulder community which has the strongest roots of any of our accelerators and mesh that with a focus on fintech. However, our definition of Fintech is broadened*. 

We see an opportunity for Colorado to put ourselves on the map as a fintech hub which will in turn attract even more venture and HQ2 interest. Fintech was the most invested in and exited vertical in 2021, and similarly headed that way in 2022. We also hope our fintech founders come to Boulder and see the opportunity to build and source employees here in the long term. 

We do encourage local startups outside of the fintech thesis to apply as well. If we believe we can support you, we will certainly consider your company. 

Also, the July Boulder class will run as a hybrid program, allowing flexibility to our founders to run their companies, be with their families, and support themselves however they need to in their home base, visiting Boulder at the beginning and end of the program. 

Lastly, I’d like to emphasize our focus on diversity. As an investor, I’ve made 15 investments and all have been underrepresented founders and/or CEOs, and my partner, Kallie Beebe is equally committed to this focus. We will continue that trajectory with the Boulder program. While I’m extremely passionate about supporting underrepresented founders because I believe in equal playing fields, and know first hand the challenges associated, we have this focus because it is a smart investment decision. Data shows that underrepresented founders ultimately produce the strongest IRR. 

If you’d like our support on your startup journey, you can apply for our program here or reach out for office hours here. 

*Company thesis: 

  • Pre-seed 

  • Fintech Anything defi: crypto, web3, open source, Prop tech, Death tech, Silver tech, Insurtech, Payments infrastructure, Lending - repayment products only 

  • Financial inclusion offerings - supporting the unbanked and underbanked 

  • Consumer and Commercial

  • Domestic and LATAM