The Winning Formula for Startup Acceleration

Nov 17, 2023

By Christine Hong, Investment Manager of Techstars New York City and Techstars New York City powered by J.P. Morgan

Reflecting on the past Techstars programs I’ve run with my Managing Director KJ Singh, we’ve noticed a few recurring themes shared by the company teams that have continued to prosper even during a market downturn: they have strong founder-market-fit, are obsessed with fixing a problem in their industry, and usually have a technical co-founder.

While our program isn’t constrained by a particular theme, thesis, or geography, in spring 2024 we are paying special attention to strong technical teams disrupting industries in fintech, health, supply chain, prop tech, climate, and vertical SaaS with a particular bias towards companies building for the enterprise.

Our team has run 20+ programs, allowing us to constantly iterate on the ideal environment for startups to get to the next level faster. Doing this over a decade has allowed us to establish deep personal relationships with top mentors, speakers and investors in the local NYC startup ecosystem and beyond.

Here’s our winning formula for acceleration:

  • Personalization - We steer clear of a generic plug and play formula. Founders only attend workshops that are beneficial to them and our mentor, investor, and speaker selection is done after the class is finalized to bring in the most relevant advisors for each company. Instead of a generic demo day, we organize an investor week where investors with pre-vetted interest are matched 1:1 to meet with our companies. We achieve this level of personalization with an unparalleled ratio of 8 team members to 12 startups during program.

  • In Person - Our founders from all over the world join us in NYC for the full 13 weeks of program, where they work closely with our team, mentors and speakers out of our office space. You never know who will make a guest appearance in the office - might be your future lead investor.

  • Let Founders Build Quickly - We avoid over programming to allow founders to focus on growth and let founders only attend workshops relevant to their success. We hire incredible business associates to help founders with any task to accelerate their growth including sales, financial modeling, investor lists, market research, and product design.

  • The Network - There is a strong family within both our program’s alumni in our internal program Slack (KJ has worked with over 200 companies during his decade at Techstars) while the entire Techstars network of over 3000 companies (including 18 unicorns & 103 companies with market cap > $100M) is one click away with Techstars Universe, our in-house networking platform.

  • Invest financially and operationally - Although we financially invest up to $120k and provide $2M+ cash equivalent in credits and perks, our true value is our operational investment. We support our alumni for any need beyond the program including Series A+ raises. This is why we take common stock (not preferred shares) since we want to be a cofounder at the seat of the table with our startups.

If this sounds like a fit for your company, apply to the Techstars New York City powered by J.P. Morgan here before applications close.

About the Author
Christine Hong

Christine is an Investment Manager for Techstars NYC & NYC JPM and multi-time founder that has been featured on Forbes. She has also worked in product roles at Tinder (head of trust & safety, then the innovation team) and software engineering roles (at companies as large as LinkedIn to startups where she was the first developer). Follow her on Twitter @christineluhong.