By Neal Sáles-Griffin, Managing Director of the Techstars Chicago Accelerator
Applications are open for Techstars Chicago! We are on the hunt for our next class of companies to help succeed.
Techstars Chicago's next program has an application deadline of March 23rd, a start date of June 6th, and will run as a hybrid program through Demo Day on September 1st. This means we'll bring founders together for in-person experiences at both the beginning and end of the accelerator, but provide the flexibility for companies to work remotely or in co-working settings throughout the program.
We have formal systems to help you fundraise, hone your financial models, dial-in your KPIs and growth lever metrics, enhance product development, and much more. Above all else, the relationships you form with your fellow founders and with the greater Techstars community is the highest value-add from the experience. Through the many challenges you'll face as you scale your company, there will always be someone within reach to help you out.
Many have slept on the strength and growth of the Chicago tech and startup ecosystem. But the numbers are beginning to bear fruit; investors and strategics are taking notice. 13 Chicago companies became unicorns last year, totaling 26 overall (up from 8 in 2016). We'll help you and your team seize the momentum happening in the Chicago startup community. The concentration of knowledge and talent here is a major strategic advantage.
Lilliana Robinson (de Souza) is joining our team as Investment Associate alongside Brad Schnitzer. She brings experience in computer science and SaaS product development, customer discovery expertise, and has worked with Techstars Chicago over our past three programs. Brad and I couldn't be more grateful and excited to have her on board.
When you apply to Techstars Chicago, we will not waste your time. You will know exactly where you stand throughout the application process. Regardless of outcome, you'll have more insight about your business than you had coming in. I personally review every company that applies. We also make sure at least one of our team members meets with every founder who gets through our first round.
We're hosting a series of workshops over the next two months leading up to our deadline. The topics will be precursors to what we do during the program itself (metrics, fundraising, customer discovery, etc.). You can sign up here to be the first to know when we've announced the line up and schedule for these events. You can submit your application to Techstars Chicago here.
My final ask is for you to make no little plans. We can't wait to meet you and learn about your business and its potential impact.
Thanks for reading, and we'll see you soon.
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.