Be a TechStar!
TechStars is a mentorship-driven seed stage investment program that provides early-stage technology entrepreneurs with a summer-long "boot camp" to help grow their companies. TechStars provides a small amount of funding ($12,000-$18,000) for the summer, but the program is really all about focused and intensive mentorship. For three months, our amazing mentors like NCWIT's own Lucy Sanders work directly with the companies to help them improve their business model, go to market strategy, and, if needed, their pitch to investors. At the end of the summer, TechStars organizes a series of "demo and investor day" events where the companies pitch their products and companies in front of hundreds of potential investors and the media.
Acceptance into the TechStars program is extremely competitive. Nearly 400 companies applied last year for just ten spots. This year, we've expanded the program to include a Boston operation, effectively doubling the opportunity for entrepreneurs to be accepted into the program. Applications are open now, and close on March 21, 2009. The process is very simple. No business plan is required. We just ask you to fill out about 15 questions on our web site to apply.
So far, the track record at TechStars speaks for itself. Twelve of the twenty companies that we've accepted into the program so far have gone on to receive significant angel or venture funding, and two more have left the program profitable. Of those, two have already been acquired with very positive outcomes for those involved. So if you or someone you know is working on an early stage web/software/technology company, TechStars is a great option to consider. In fact, a group called Pink Garage Mentors, which is made up of some past participants of the TechStars program, is offering free pre-application advice and feedback to women who are interested.
I hope to see you in Boulder or Boston this summer!
David G. Cohen is Executive Director of TechStars.