By Martin Olczyk, Managing Director of the Torino Cities of the Future Techstars Accelerator
More investments than in the previous years
Second class with a hybrid-program
New program dates and program content innovation
Type of companies we are looking for
Meet us online and in person across Europe.
Market turmoils do not stop our companies and us
When I wrote the post last year, the global economy was on a strong recovery path after suffering for almost 2 years due to COVID. VC investments were at their peak, stock markets were skyrocketing, bitcoin was beyond the $50,000 level and we were approaching a very strong Q4 globally.
Today, the world turned upside down. War, stock, crypto crash, massive layoffs at tech companies, and a recession ahead - this all in less than 12 months.
Our program started during a crisis, in 2020 when COVID hit the world hard, since then we ran three programs with 35 companies, our inaugural class being in-person for 5 weeks and the first program at Techstars moving all operations online, while the second program was fully online. This year, we were finally able to run our in-person class at OGR in Torino with a hybrid/online component - and we had a blast.
Our companies have raised way beyond +USD50m, created +300 additional jobs, and are growing despite the turbulent times. Most of them. Of course, some companies struggle and have to fight to survive. BUT - they have a great network that supports them during ups and downs. Starting our program during a crisis has taught us a lot. We adapted, and managed to navigate through market turmoils in the past 3 years, we have even expanded our proposition and created a new vertical for the program, investing in a broader set of companies. We and our companies will also manage to adapt and emerge even stronger from this crisis. Our founders will continue being funded, create jobs, and solve problems by offering products people really need - each crisis is also an opportunity.
I have covered two companies in our ‘Alumni Spotlight’ series - GetHenry (Germany) and Automotus (US). Both companies went through a crisis-driven market and have navigated extremely well through those times.
From 10 to 12 investments into the next generation of founders
This year, we’ll invest in 12 companies, compared to 10 in the previous years. Each company will have access to 120,000 USD. In addition, the founders will have access to hundreds of global mentors, corporate partners like Fondazione CRT, Fondazione Compagnia di SanPaolo, Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center, and of course the support from the Techstars team and our global network. We continue backing first-time entrepreneurs, doesn’t matter their age, gender, or sexual orientation. If you’re humble, willing to learn, and ready to execute at excellence, including working hard during and after the program - apply, and I'm looking forward to working with you!
In-person benefits paired with the flexibility of an online program
The 2022 class was our first one experiencing the hybrid format of the program. Today, you have the choice to join programs entirely online, without leaving your sofa. But you’ll also miss the social part of the 13 weeks that you’ll probably experience only once in your life. I’m a big believer in the old-fashioned benefits of face-2-face networking - learning from your 11 peer companies, working with us, your mentors, partners, and investors - not missing serendipity moments and the fun activities that only have value in-person (sure, you can drink your family-dinner drinks on Thursdays in front of your laptop, but I’d bet that it’s more fun when we do it together with the other founders, associates, mentors and the local community). One of our 2022 alumni, Zsofia Toth, CEO&Founder Volteum says:
‘By going to the office in Turin every day, sharing the experiences with the whole class in person, getting through the ups and downs together, you truly feel you belong to the Techstars family. There is always somebody in the office who has gone through the same thing as you before and is ready to help, or whom you can help with your past experiences. (Or just go for a coffee or a drink when a 10-minute break is very much needed.) This live community at OGR makes each company stronger and builds everlasting bonds between people from all over the world.
Techstars is a life-changing experience itself, but it is even more impactful when you can share it with 50 other people who are supporting and cheering you in-person all the way through.'
We know that for some of you who have families, children, or simply need to be close to their clients, we’ll provide you a flexible model, where you don’t miss program content but can also be close to your family and clients during the program. We’re combining the best of both worlds.
Enjoy Italy’s spring and be part of an innovative program set-up
The next class will start a few weeks later than the other three classes, with Demo Day taking place on May 11th - giving us more room for outdoor activities, you can enjoy and travel Italy and we’ll sip more aperitifs under Italy’s sun than ever before.
I’ve already described the benefits of Turin in my previous blogs. During the next class, we’ll especially focus on finding Product-Market-Fit faster, support you with your Fundraising efforts and help you boost your Sales and Go-To-Market strategy.
Our thesis - Advancing Cities and Society
Our thesis remains unchanged. We believe that we need more accessible, inclusive, sustainable, and resilient cities, corporates and societies. We want to invest in startups that meaningfully advance cities, corporations and our society.
We’re especially interested in companies that focus on:
Problem: Team is obsessed with solving real problems, the bigger the problem and customer pain, the better.
Unfair insights: Team has experienced those problems or has UNIQUE customer insights.
Innovation: Building INNOVATIVE solutions/technologies - or a NEW way of solving problems. We’re NOT interested in the 50th marketplace for used cars.
Cohesive and ambitious team: Complementary skills and a growth mindset - ie. big ambitions and willingness to build category-defining companies.
Validation: Early validation points, can be customer interviews, first POCs or revenues, or other early indicators of market needs.
Metrics: Founders who believe in data and make data-driven decisions.
Applications are open now through November 2nd.
You can meet us during virtual and in-person office hours. We’ll be traveling across several European cities, you can already mark your calendars to meet us in Milan, Torino, Vienna, and Lisbon. Follow our Linkedin page to stay tuned for further opportunities.
We highly recommend reading our FAQs to learn more about Techstars accelerators and checking out our program website. We also highly recommend visiting our application FAQ, which provides all the necessary answers for a great application.
We’re excited to kick off the next in-person program at OGR Torino, Italy’s largest tech hub, on February 13, 2023.
Martin is an MD at Techstars, and with more than 15 years of experience in the tech industry, he is currently running the Transformative World Accelerator in Torino, Italy. Previously, he was running the Smart Mobility and the Torino Cities of the Future Accelerator and was the MD at accelerator programs in Berlin and Amsterdam.