Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Welcome to Glilot Capital and Lou Kerner as Key Mentors and Collaborators in Israel

It is with great pleasure to announce that Techstars is collaborating with Glilot Capital and Lou Kerner in our Barclays Accelerator Tel Aviv program.  

The Barclays Tel Aviv accelerator is focused on both FinTech and cybersecurity, two strengths of the Israeli ecosystem.  Glilot Capital brings added strength to the cyber side.  Kobi Samboursky, the partner at Glilot leading this collaboration from their side, is an entrepreneur's investor.  Having founded a successful cyber company himself, Kobi understands the value of mentorship and network. As such, he has pulled in senior executives from the world's leading cyber and defense companies like Check Point and Lockheed Martin as mentors in the program.  Along with Troels Oerting, Barclays' CISO who is also highly involved in the program, this group of cyber mentors is formidable.

Lou Kerner is Managing Partner of The Social Internet Fund and a super connector between the Israeli and U.S. markets.  Based in New York City, Lou is also a partner at Flight VC, a federation of 23 AngelList Syndicates providing more than 10% of all the capital raised on the platform.  At Flight, Lou manages the Israeli Founder Syndicate which invests in tech companies founded by Israelis wherever they may be.  As such, he spends a considerable amount of time in Tel Aviv, connecting Israeli entrepreneurs to his large network in the States.

Some of you may have already read his widely shared blog post, "Why I am Doubling Down on Israel." Lou has had an illustrious career on Wall Street and understands both the challenges and tremendous opportunities that FinTech can bring to the Israeli ecosystem.  

Everyday Techstars is building a larger and more robust network not only in Israel but around the world. Our belief is that entrepreneurs can build great companies anywhere —  so long as they have access to the right partners. Both Glilot Capital and Lou bring a powerful contribution to the Barclays Tel Aviv program.

The deadline for Barclays Techstars Tel Aviv applications is in less than 2 weeks. Apply now!


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A Look Back at 2015 & Happy Holidays from Techstars

This past year has been a wild ride at Techstars! We joined forces with UP Global to support entrepreneurs around the world; we launched the Techstars Foundation to improve inclusive entrepreneurship; and we announced our new fund, Techstars Ventures, to extend our investments into the Techstars network. We'd like to say thank you to all of the founders, mentors, community leaders, organizers, sponsors, employees and partners who've made it all possible.

Happy Holidays from Techstars and here's to an even more successful 2016!



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Friday, December 18, 2015

Get Backed: Tips on Funding Your Startup #3

Welcome to guest blogger, Evan Loomis, entrepreneur, Techstars mentor & the author of Get Backed.  

Get Backed provides entrepreneurs with information on how to raise capital and build genuine relationships with investors.  Everyone from first-time entrepreneurs to seasoned veterans will find useful, practical advice from other founders in this book.

The book is also a workbook that offers in-the-trenches, real-world advice with helpful data, charts, photos, slides and actual examples of the most important things that every founder needs to know.

This is the third and final post in this blog series. Look for our podcast Q&A kicking off in January!

Get Backed

Chapter Nine excerpt: Pitching Exercises

This chapter brings together the best in experiential learning on pitching. It outlines several exercises—some easy, some bizarre—that entrepreneurs have used to turn their mediocre pitching into confident, powerful, cash-earning pitches. The goal with each of these exercises is to build your pitch muscle, to help you get over yourself, to become more comfortable telling your story, and to identify the style of pitching that resonates for your particular venture and personality.

Be warned, many of these exercises will feel awkward. Embrace the awkwardness. These exercises are what the best of the best use to teach the art of pitching.

Pitching Exercises:

  • The Techstars Jedi Mind Trick
  • The d.school Pitch Frameworks
  • The Dry Run
  • The Spy Dry Run

The Techstars Jedi Mind Trick

From Jason Seats, Partner at Techstars

How long does it take? Five minutes

Who do you need? You and one person who doesn't know anything about your venture

You've got twenty words. With those words, can you get someone to ask you the question you want to be asked about your venture?

To play the game, find someone who knows nothing about your venture to play with you. Then, tell the person your elevator pitch. As soon as you are done, ask the person, "What's the first question that comes to your mind?"

You may be surprised by what you hear. Jason talks about his experience playing this game with Techstars companies:

The entrepreneurs may not know what question they wanted them to ask, but they sure know that wasn't it.

"That question tells me they think we're in a completely different industry." It's about leaving the right holes, leaving an obvious gap for the other participant in the conversation to step into.

In the words of East Coast investor Walt Winshall, "Don't steal their line."

Entrepreneur: "I'm going to tell you the elevator pitch of the venture I'm working on, and afterward I want you to ask me the first question that pops into your head. Sound good?"

Listener: "I guess so."

[Entrepreneur gives pitch.]

[Listener asks the first question that comes to him.]

Afterward, reflect on the following:

  1. Was that the question you expected to hear? What did you want to hear?
  2. What does that question tell you about what the listener understands about your venture?
  3. What changes can you make to your pitch to set up the kind of conversation you want to have?

Learn more about Get Backed.

About the author: Evan Loomis loves helping startups launch and raise capital, mentoring entrepreneurs through Techstars and Praxis. He is the President of Clarion, heads up Corporate Strategy at Corinthian Health Services, and is the Founder of Tradecraft, a venture fund and consultancy for high growth businesses. His first startup was TreeHouse, a first-of-its-kind home improvement store specializing in performance and design. Evan also co-founded a national angel investment group called Wedgwood Circle. Evan got his start on Wall Street after graduating from Texas A&M University.

Reprinted by permission of Harvard Business Review Press. Excerpted from Get Backed: Craft Your Story, Build the Perfect Pitch Deck, and Launch the Venture of your Dreams. Copyright 2015 Evan Baehr and Evan Loomis. All rights reserved.

 



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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Power of the Network: BizDevDay

When you become a Techstars founder, you gain access to a powerful network of 7,000 mentors, founders, and investors. Additionally, we work hard to connect you with key clients, partners, and potential acquirers. While this is an ongoing effort, we hold specific events called BizDevDay, where we match Techstars companies with some of the largest technology companies in the world.

Our last BizDevDay, held at FounderCon in Boulder, offered an incredible opportunity for founders to meet with representatives of over 40 companies (Google, Salesforce, Facebook, Twitter, Slack, Autodesk, Stripe, GoPro, Microsoft, Pandora, VMWare, NBCUniversal, GroupM, Yahoo, Target, etc.) to talk about potential partnerships. In 2016, we'll be doing more of these events in different cities – so stay tuned!

To get a sense of what happens at BizDevDay, check out this short video: 

Want to be a part of the best entrepreneur network in the world? Apply to Techstars today: we have four programs with application deadlines coming up in January, 2016!



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Monday, December 14, 2015

Techstars & Cox Enterprises Partner to Catalyze the Startup Ecosystem in Atlanta

We're excited to announce the launch of Techstars Atlanta, in partnership with Cox Enterprises. Techstars and Cox are focused on galvanizing the local startup community in the entire southeast region of the U.S. to to broaden and deepen Atlanta's vibrant startup community and empower entrepreneurs to build great businesses. Techstars Atlanta will select, recruit and accelerate the most innovative startups focused on technologies driving positive change in an interconnected world.

Techstars Atlanta's theme is: Life's most important connections are happening in new and exciting ways. Social media platforms, cloud-based data, predictive analytics and cyber security are thoroughly interwoven in our daily lives. The industries of tomorrow – telecommunications, mobility, transportation, healthcare, and financial services – will need to aggregate and share vast amounts of information in creative new ways.

Cox Enterprises and Techstars share a common goal of catalyzing the entrepreneurial community in and around Atlanta, similarly to how Techstars has helped to strengthen startup communities across the globe. Techstars sees Atlanta as a leader in startup innovation in the southern U.S. with a dynamic startup community. Together with Cox Enterprises, our goal is to unify and rally the broader Atlanta business community around its startup community. We believe that great entrepreneurs are everywhere and Atlanta is no exception. It is full of successful business leaders, big brands and a wealth of tech talent that simply needs a way to connect – and this program will bring it all together. 

Applications open today and the program will kick off in summer of 2016!



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Friday, December 11, 2015

One Entrepreneur’s Journey: Jon Rossi

Meet Jon Rossi: Founder and CEO of MyDealerService. Jon is one example of a passionate founder who has experienced the Techstars network in many different ways – through our Startup Programs (Startup Week, Startup WeekendStartup Next) as an attendee, organizer, facilitator and mentor, and as an alumni of the Techstars Mobility program in Detroit. Jon has been a part of over 30 Techstars events!

Check out this video to learn about one entrepreneur's journey through the Techstars network.

 

Apply today!

 



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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A cheap, simple, and cleaner desalination innovation

A cheap, simple, and cleaner desalination innovationThe major problem with desalination is that the process involves a great deal of energy and a large infrastructure using reverse osmosis. Desalination also deposits concentrated salt water and other pollutants back into the ocean, with all the adverse environmental impact that implies.

According to Gizmag, some researchers at the University of Arizona have developed an innovative method of desalination that is cheaper, simpler, and likely cleaner than the standard method. The new process is called pervaporation. The first step passes the water through a membrane to filter out most of the larger solids. The second step evaporates the water and then collects it as it condenses.

The real breakthrough involves how the membrane is made. The University of Arizona researchers embeds salt-attracting material with cellulose acetate powder made from cheap wood pulp. This material is far less expensive than the sorts of membranes in use currently.

The process is said to not only produce clean drinking water from even the most polluted sea water, but it is also cheap and scalable for any situation. The evaporation step can even use fire as a heating element.

One of the most pressing problems the world faces is the lack of clean drinking water, especially in the developing world. Even in a place like California, drought-prone as it tends to be, access to drinking water can be a problem. As the Earth's population continues to grow, the problem is only going to get worse.

Thirsty populations are increasingly turning to the oceans for access to water. The cheaper that desalination can be made, the more access to water humans will have.

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Monday, December 7, 2015

Nestio Founder: Surround Yourself with Good People

Techstars alum Nestio (NYC '11), a residential real estate platform, recently announced $8 million in Series A funding. The company, led by founder and CEO Caren Maio (who was named by Inc. magazine as one of the Top 15 Women to Watch in Tech), originally launched as a tool for renters, but it is now responsible for originating half of New York City's rental listings.

Check out this video to learn more about how this startup learned what it takes to build a successful company:

 



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Friday, December 4, 2015

CES 2016: Meet Us at the Startup Stage, Presented by Techstars

The time is nearly upon us. Join the Techstars team at The International Consumer Electronic Show (CES) January 6th-8th in sunny Las Vegas!

This year we are proud to once again partner with CES to present the Startup Stage at Eureka Park.

Startup Stage will highlight the startup community by featuring prominent entrepreneurs, investors, executives, media, and Techstars staff and alumni.

Learn the ins and outs of crowdfunding and fundraising, how to attract diverse employees, how to find your path to market and more. This year's Startup Stage festivities will also include our annual pitch competition. The pitch competition is your opportunity to pitch to a panel of iconic entrepreneurs, receive feedback and win prizes. Apply to pitch here!

Stay up to date with Startup Stage by using our app or check out the Startup Stage Schedule below.

Startup Stage Schedule:

Wednesday, January 06

11-11:45 AM

Plugging Into Your Local Startup Ecosystem

11-11:45 AM

Crowdfunding: Changing the Way Products are Launched

1-1:45 PM

A Founder's Journey: From an Idea to Techstars to Star Wars

2-2:45 PM

Connectivity on the Move

3-4:30 PM

Pitch Competition: Mobility and Transportation Solutions

Thursday, January 07

11-11:45 AM

Changing the Game: Diversity in Tech

1-1:45 PM

Fundraising: From Angel to Series A

2-2:45 PM

What's Next for IoT?

3-4:30 PM

Pitch Competition: IoT and Wearables

Friday, January 08

11-11:45 AM

Finding Your Path to Market: Distribution

1-1:45 PM

Startup culture: beyond ping pong tables

2-2:45 PM

Digital Health

3-4:30 PM

Pitch Competition: Lifestyle and Digital Health
Questions? Comments? Contact us: specialevents@techstars.com



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Conquer Paralysis Now at the world’s fourth-oldest university

CPNatCU1On 25th November, InnoCentive went to the University of Cambridge in the UK, to host a discussion on the recently launched 2nd round of Conquer Paralysis Now grants. As he did at Kings College London in February, guest speaker and CPN Science Advisory Council member, Professor James Fawcett graced us with this presence. This time round he was imparting his wisdom on a crowd full of Researchers, Neuroscientists and Cambridge Students. Mikey Hanson from InnoCentive then gave a round-up of the Challenge Program, Stage I grants and application process.

CPNatCU2Professor Fawcett, presented his insights into interesting areas that he believed CPN could potentially fund this round. He drew inspiration from the first 12 funded grantees from the CPN Challenge  and took into consideration the end goal of the organization. James's passion for spinal cord injury research comes through as he so effortlessly talks about axon regeneration, plasticity and clinical studies. He most certainly leaves food for thought in any attendee's mind.

CPNatCU3Next, it was Mikey's turn to present the 10 year Challenge Program. He started by speaking about the 6 Stage I award categories: New Investigator, Collaboration, cross-overTranslation, Out of the Box and Reaching & Grasping – making sure to highlight the new rules! Each category will still receive one award, but this round and going forward the remaining 6 prizes will goes to those with the strongest applications regardless of the category. He then touched on the all-important Trial & Error Prize. There is now a total of $6,000 available for each round of prizes and the deadline is conveniently on the same date as applications for the Stage I grants: January 21, 2016.

It's great meeting so many inspiring and dedicated people at these CPN events. If you're interested in hosting us at your university or organization, then do not hesitate to get in touch by emailing us here: cpnchallenge@conquerparalysisnow.org

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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Get Backed: Tips on Funding Your Startup

Welcome to the second post in our series on the new book for entrepreneurs, Get Backed, which includes new ideas on how to raise capital and build genuine relationships with investors.  Everyone from first-time entrepreneurs to seasoned veterans will find useful, practical advice from other founders in this book authored by Techstars Austin mentor, Evan Loomis, and entrepreneur Evan Baehr.

This book + workbook offers in-the-trenches, real-world advice with heaps of helpful data, charts, photos, slides and actual examples of the most important things that every founder needs to know.

 

Get Backed

Chapter Six excerpt: Actual Pitch Decks

You're about to see what only venture capitalists and investors typically get to see: excerpts from the actual pitch decks and fundraising strategies of fifteen successfully funded startups. For this chapter, we profile ventures from across multiple sectors, stages, and cities. Combined, these ventures have raised well over $100 million.

We debated whether to include this chapter at all; people find it nerve-racking to show their investor decks. But in the spirit of giving back, the founders featured here have chosen to offer you something that they normally never show anyone. We are deeply grateful for their commitment to advancing entrepreneurship.

As these profiles illustrate, when it comes to fundraising, there is no one-size-fits-all template, but there are patterns and principles to identify. Aside from the founders' own comments and advice, we let their decks speak for themselves.

Drum roll please . . . Here are the strategies and materials of fifteen ventures that crushed it at raising money.

DocSend • DocSend tells you what happens to your documents after you send them.

Founding team: Russ Heddleston, Dave Koslow, Tony Cassanego
Location: San Francisco, CA

Funding round: Series seed

Market category: Software

Armed with computer science degrees from Stanford and experience working at companies like Facebook and Dropbox, Russ Heddleston, Tony Cassanego, and Dave Koslow founded DocSend, a service that tracks everything that happens to a document after you share it. The service became a hit among people sharing pitch decks themselves. DocSend's deck is heavy on copy and uses neutral colors to avoid drawing attention away from the words.

Advice

"Focus on your strengths. Be sure to tell investors why you're different and be sure to bring something unique to the table. This could be a hundred interviews with poten- tial customers, it could be 10,000 signups, or it could be your background of ten years building machine learning software."

Redo

"The design on this deck is atrocious. Our newer deck looks a ton better. We also have a lot more detail on our target user."

Slide Investors Focused on Most

"The team slide was viewed the longest on average, folowed by the competition slide."

Common Mistakes Founders Make

"It's all about quality, not quantity. Create a list of thirty investors who you actually want to meet with. Set up at least twenty meetings in a two-week period. Do this at least a few weeks out. If you can't get any of those twenty to invest, you need to change something before you try again."


Reprinted by permission of Harvard Business Review Press. Excerpted from Get Backed: Craft Your Story, Build the Perfect Pitch Deck, and Launch the Venture of your Dreams. Copyright 2015 Evan Baehr and Evan Loomis. All rights reserved.



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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Virgin Media Accelerator, Powered by Techstars Info Sessions

The Virgin Media Accelerator, powered by Techstars, is looking for 10 amazing connectivity startups and we're heading out on the road to find them. We'll be visiting Berlin, Amsterdam, and Dublin in two weeks to meet the founders who are building great companies.

We're looking for everyday simple ideas. Ideas rooted in connectivity and networks — but with the ability to reach into the everyday lives of millions of people to make good things happen. Companies could be involved in the internet of things (IoT), telecom infrastructures, customer data and experience, social enterprise, connected homes, connected goods and services, interactive home experiences, home health and wellness, and connectivity for social good.

Techstars and Virgin Media will be on hand to answer questions and tell you more about the program. We'll also host a Techstars alumni panel so you can hear directly from founders about the experience of going through a Techstars program.

If you'd like to set up a 20 minute pitch meeting with Techstars Managing Director, Ryan Kuder, and Virgin Media's Head of Innovation and Advanced Technology Trials, Neil Illingworth, prior to the meetups, there will be a limited number of appointments available.

Webinars

If you can't join us for one of our information sessions in person, please join us for an online webinar. Ryan Kuder will lead a live online overview of the program with time for Q&A from participants.

Key Program Dates

Final application deadline: January 8, 2016

Program begins: March 28, 2016

Demo Day: June 28, 2016

Apply now!



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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Startup Next London Class

Jon Bradford and I are thrilled announce that later today I will be launching the first Startup Next pre-accelerator in London. Even more proud to announce the 12 teams that have chosen to participate.

C8 is a platform that enables people to license their data and attention to brands in return for a payment or reward.
Cardlife is on a mission to save you money on your subscriptions, so you can be more productive. Join to stay on top of your Subscriptions.
Crossa is the first community powered roadside assistance and servicing app for cyclists that gets you back on your bike, wherever you are.
Giggypop is your easy ticket to a great gig with a group. When you book a Giggypop-approved gig, you won't have to worry about going alone!
Makelight helps you learn to take better photographs. Master your phone or camera via online courses and a supportive community.
Mode For Me is the Kickstarter for fashion designers. Designers get pre-orders, consumers get products at pre-sale prices.
Relayto is the first publishing platform for smart, interactive documents: from sales pitches & proposals to onboarding customers & staff.
SAFER helps people to know their risks and buy adequate insurance cover.
Shopmo is a web-based platform for online merchants to quickly build beautifully designed native mobile apps for their store; without writing or compiling any code.
Strobee makes personal video as engaging, shareable, & explorable as photos.
Vallie is an on-demand valet parking app that lets drivers drive directly to their destination and not worry about where and how to park.
Versify is an online language learning community where members can practise their conversation skills, because Practice Makes Fluent.


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€15BN and counting…

We have been busy at work here at the Techstars Accelerator in Berlin. Over the last few weeks, we took at a look at some of the resources we've made available to the founders in our Berlin class. And then we thought it was silly to we keep these resources to ourselves. So we have decided to start opening these resources to everyone, starting today.

The first thing we are releasing is a list of 300+ investors who routinely invest in Seed, Series A or Series B rounds in European startups (we have included countries bordering the Mediterranean, such as Turkey and Israel). This list currently totals some €15BN in funds that are available for investment in European startups right now. This list has the most up to date investor information as we contacted each firm to get the right facts and figures.

You can gain access to the full list with lots of information on each investor here.

We also made a little map illustrating roughly how these investors distribute across Europe. Hotspots are easily visible. You can find a high resolution version of map is in the Techstars Berlin Resources space.

 

The list is already proving popular with founders, despite us having shared it with a very small group of people only. Everybody can contribute to it via comments or by emailing us.

So far, €15BN and counting…lots more to come.

#givefirst

#networkoverhierarchy

 

Are you a founder? Want to talk to the Techstars Berlin team? Apply for office hours here. We try to talk to as many founders as we can.

 

You can pre-apply for Techstars Berlin here.

The list actually has a longer story behind it, you can read more about that here.



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