5 Questions with Gregory Raiz, Managing Director of the Techstars Boston Accelerator

Jun 01, 2021
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Gregory Raiz is the Managing Director of the Techstars Boston Accelerator. In 2003 he founded Raizlabs, a leading mobile agency which, after being included on the Inc. 5000 fastest-growing companies list four straight years, was acquired in 2017. Since then he has shifted his focus to investing in and working with startups, both directly and through angel groups like TBD Angels. In the last year, he has invested in 18 companies including a number of Techstars graduates. Greg has dedicated countless hours to mentoring entrepreneurs, including serving as a mentor-in-residence with Techstars Boston. He actively speaks on the topics of technology, innovation, and design at leading companies and universities including Harvard, MIT, Tufts, Northeastern, and Boston University, among others. 

01. What are you looking for in startups for the Techstars Boston Accelerator?

I’m looking for companies that can change the world in profound and extraordinary ways. And I’m looking for diverse founders who are passionate about their field and the impact that they can make on the world. Boston is an amazing place with the world's best universities that attract the brightest minds on the planet. I want to be inclusive of different types of companies but two things I’m particularly excited about are companies that are either saving lives or saving the planet. 

02. What are some of the biggest learnings from your career and entrepreneurial journey that you bring to being a Techstars Managing Director? 

I believe that successful companies are able to fuse technology, entrepreneurship, and design. The combination of technology and design takes things that are complex and makes them simple to understand and easy to use. Entrepreneurship helps balance teams and ensures that they are not just solving a technically interesting problem but something that’s truly valuable. The combination of these things is a delicate balance but when done well, this is what makes companies extraordinary. 

03. What is your favorite thing about the Boston startup scene?

The Boston startup scene is incredibly pragmatic and focused. Our tech unicorns aren’t the loud and glittery tech darlings of the media, we’re more like bearicorns. We put our heads down and get it done. The community is incredibly tight knit, with deep expertise across biotech, healthcare, robotics, enterprise software, martech, fintech, and so much more coming out of the labs and universities in Boston. 

04. As one of the longest running Techstars Accelerators, what do you plan to do differently to help founders be as successful as possible?

Techstars Boston has an amazing alumni pool of successful founders, leaders, investors, and mentors. I’m excited to explore how we can better activate our deep bench of talent to help more startups succeed. While mentorship has always been a key cornerstone of the program, I think we can better engage the community to help turbocharge growth. Clem, the previous Boston Managing Director, recently wrote about founder-Boston-fit and I’m excited to expand on that. Founders that are a good fit for Boston will flourish in the deep and diverse ecosystem. 

05. What are some key things you look for in an entrepreneur as an early indicator of probable success?

I look for signs of passion, resilience to adversity, and a deep seated knowledge that they are onto something big. Great entrepreneurs are stubborn and relentless. They see the world as it should be and they won’t stop until they fix it. There’s a glint in their eyes that they are going to do something exciting and big, even if it scares them. When I see that energy and it’s paired with an exciting team or problem, it’s infectious. I get excited.