Techstars Strengthens European Commitment in Hiring Tech-industry Veterans to Lead 4 Prominent Accelerators

Feb 01, 2022

 Raphaele Leyendecker, Martin Schilling, Pete Townsend and Saalim Chowdhury join Techstars as Managing Directors

Techstars, a global investment business that provides access to capital, one-on-one mentorship, and customized programming for early-stage entrepreneurs, is strengthening its commitment to the European startup ecosystem with the appointment of four tech-industry veterans as new managing directors to head Techstars programs in Europe. Joining the early-stage investment business are Raphaele Leyendecker for Techstars Paris, Martin Schilling for Techstars Berlin, Pete Townsend for Launchpool Techstars Web3 Techstars Accelerator, and Saalim Chowdhury for Techstars London. 

“Through our unique pre-seed investment model and embedded approach to working with local ecosystems and networks, Techstars has the unique ability to profoundly impact entrepreneurs’ innovative ideas and businesses across the world,” said Chief Accelerator Investments Officer Rupa Athreya. “With these tenured tech leaders at the helm of our accelerators in Paris, Berlin, Dublin and London, Techstars will fund more than 100 early-stage founders across its eight European programs in 2022.” 


  • Leading Techstars Paris, a new Techstars accelerator, Leyendecker is a two-time founder of renewable biomass supplier Agronergy, and online booking software Horseee. She joins Techstars from a corporate innovation startup studio where she served as Partner & COO working with Fortune 500 companies. As Managing Director, Raphaele will support 24 early-stage startups addressing societal and environmental challenges through technology solutions. In 2022 the program will operate two classes of 12 companies from April 4, 2022 through June 30, 2022 and Sept. 12, 2022 through Dec. 8, 2022.

  • Townsend joins as Managing Director of the Launchpool Web3 Techstars Accelerator, a new Techstars program to run in partnership with egalitarian community based investment platform Launchpool, and digital currency fund Alphabit. An early-stage startup advisor, investor, nonexecutive director and mentor, Pete brings over 25 years of experience in the financial markets at both early-stage and enterprise levels. He will support the development and acceleration of 10 startups building blockchain technology and tokenization protocols. The program will operate April 4, 2022 through June 30, 2022.

  • Technical founder and startup veteran Chowdhury joins Techstars London as Managing Director. Saalim joins Techstars from a global early-stage venture fund where he previously served as Partner, and formerly served as CTO & Co-founder of talent marketplace, Skillbridge. He will support and invest in 24 early-stage startups building and growing their businesses in the London and UK ecosystem. In 2022 the program will operate two classes of 12 companies from April 4, 2022 through June 30, 2022 and Sept. 12, 2022 through Dec. 8, 2022.

To date, more than 200 companies have graduated from Techstars accelerators operated in Paris, Berlin and London, while 2022 marks the first year Techstars will operate an accelerator in Dublin. Today, the more than 260 Techstars portfolio companies headquartered across Paris, Berlin, Dublin and London are collectively valued at more than $2B.

In 2022 Techstars will also operate programs in Amsterdam, Oslo, Stockholm and Turin, in total providing funding for more than 100 companies through these European-based programs. Since its inception in 2006, Techstars has invested in more than 2,900 companies, which today have a combined market capital valuation of $189 billion. It counts 18 unicorns among its accelerator graduates, including DigitalOcean, Chainalysis, PillPack and SendGrid. With more than $850 million in assets under management, Techstars invests in approximately 500 startups and deploys approximately $130M per year, making it one of the largest investors in high-growth early stage companies by volume in the world.

To learn more about these programs and other Techstars accelerators visit

About Techstars

The Techstars worldwide network helps entrepreneurs succeed. Founded in 2006, Techstars began with three simple ideas—entrepreneurs create a better future for everyone, collaboration drives innovation, and great ideas can come from anywhere. Now we are on a mission to enable every person on the planet to contribute to, and benefit from, the success of entrepreneurs. In addition to operating accelerator programs and venture capital funds, we do this by connecting startups, investors, corporations, and cities to help build thriving startup communities. Techstars has invested in more than 2,900 companies with a combined market cap of more than $189B.