Becuase this is my 8th class of Techstars, (I can't believe I just admitted that out loud), I've gotten to see a wide range of startups go through, everything from stage of business to type of founder to age of founder.
But as we just opened up the applications for the next Colorado class, and after having sat in literally hundreds, I mean HUNDREDS of meetings with founders, I come across the same misconceptions around the value of Techstars and why companies should go through it.
So if you're thinking of applying, but one of the arguements below pops up in your head, let's chat. I'll have a very honest conversation with you around whether Techstars is a good fit for your current situation (it probably is).
Okay, without further ado - here are the most common misperceptions of Techstars.
I'm too far along. Many of the companies that go through the program have well over $1M in funding or revenue. Mentorship and network are effective across an entire range of maturity of a startup.
My team is too senior. Lots of people that go through Techstars are serial entrepreneurs, on their 2, 3rd, or 4th startup. Look at guys like David Mandell, Rich Schmelzer, Ari Newman, Tim Wolters, and more. Techstars isn't just an accellerator, its a network. The gestault of network plus accelleration is a killer combination. We take 18-36 months and pack it into 3, and then give you access to the people you need to be successful. And the network you develop there, you'll have for life.
I'm not 22 anymore. Well neither are we. Founders going through the program range in age from single and in their 20s to married and in their 50s with kids. It's your company, you set the pace, you set the hours. You just want to take advantage of all the opportunities presented to you.
I can do it on my own. Maybe. But look at our track record, and look at your odds of doing it alone. Why risk years of your life, all that money, all that time, just because you might be able to?
The timing isn't right. It never is. Every company that comes through the program makes huge personal sacrifices to pull it off. But spending 3 hard-core months on your startup is less of a sacrifice than the next 18-36 months of slow, life-and-cash-sucking, lonely grind that has a 95% liklihood of ending in failure.
6% for 18K? My company is worth more than that. The cash you get from Techstars doesn't set a valuation for the company as the real value is in the network, mentorship, and accelleration. Many companies that have raised well over $1 million have gone through the program, and their investors are usually excited because they know what Techstars does for the company - helps it skyrocket.
Clearly I'm biased because I am a huge supporter of Techstars, but after having seen this many teams and founders and companies, I can tell you that the program is life changing. Its why I've been here so long and why I continue to sacrifice wrinkes and gray hair and time with my kids and sleep and social life in order to keep doing this.
If you think Techstars might be right for you - apply today.
Techstars is a mentorship-driven seed stage investment program. We run a three month long program in Austin (TX), Boston (MA), Boulder (CO), Cloud (San Antonio, TX), Chicago (IL), New York City (NY), Seattle (WA), and London (UK) once each year. We’re very selective – hundreds of companies apply and we only take about ten companies per city. These companies get $18,000 in seed funding. In addition, companies accepted into the program are offered a $100,000 convertible debt note by a group of prominent VCs immediately upon acceptance into Techstars. Techstars founders also get great perks such as free hosting and services, a nice place to work, three months of intensive top-notch mentorship, and the chance to pitch to angel investors and venture capitalists at the end of the program. When the program concludes, being an alum does not. The supportive network of Techstars alumni, mentors, and investors is unrivaled. Historically, Techstars companies go on to average more than $1.6M raised in outside capital after the program. See the detailed results.