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Techstars, LLC
Founded Colorado, United States (2006, as Techstars, LLC.)
Headquarters Boulder, Colorado
Key people

David Cohen (Co-founder and CEO)
Brad Feld (Co-founder)
David Brown (Co-founder)

Jared Polis (Co-founder)

Techstars is a global ecosystem that empowers entrepreneurs to bring new technologies to market wherever they choose to build their business. With 18 mentorship-driven accelerator programs worldwide, Techstars exists to support the world’s most promising entrepreneurs throughout their lifelong journey. Techstars provides access to over 3,000 founders, mentors, investors and corporate partners, allowing entrepreneurs to accelerate the pace of innovation and do more faster. Techstars makes entrepreneurship more accessible by providing access to capital, guidance, marketing, business development, customer acquisition and recruitment. Founded by David Cohen, Brad Feld, David Brown, and Jared Polis. Techstars holds 13 week programs for startups in Boulder, New York City, Boston, Seattle, San Antonio, Austin, Chicago, Berlin and London.[1][2] Powered by Techstars programs target key verticals and are launched with key industry partners such as Qualcomm, Sprint, R/GA, METRO[disambiguation needed], Barclays, Disney, Magna International, Ford Motor Company, Honda Motor Company, Dana Holding Corporation, Verizon and McDonald's. You can read more about powered by Techstars at

To see the most up to date statistics on all of the companies that have gone through the Techstars program, check out their stats page. [4] Techstars mentors include Sphero CEO Paul Berberian, Foundry Group Managing Director Jason Mendelson, Moz[disambiguation needed] CEO Rand Fishkin, and Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures.[3] There are many companies that have gone through Techstars, some of which include: Digital Ocean, Localytics, Sendgrid, Contently, Occipital, Next Big Sound, Kapost, Orbotix, FullContact, Simple Energy, Mocavo, GrabCAD, Kinvey, Placester, Crowdtwist, OnSwipe, Everymove, Remitly, Remotive, Cloudability, Distil Networks, Moveline, Pivotdesk, Revolv, Coachup, Pillpack, and Plated.


After founding three companies in Boulder, Colorado, David Cohen decided to form a startup accelerator and began building a network of mentors within Boulder. The network would simultaneously bring together potentially interesting companies, leverage the entrepreneurial community behind these companies for three months, and then decide whether to invest further.[4][5]

He enlisted Brad Feld, who had invested in some of the same companies as Cohen.[6][7][8] They partnered with David Brown, co-founder and president of Zoll Data Systems, and Jared Polis, founder of BlueMountain and ProFlowers, to form Techstars.[7][9] They recruited 70 web entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and CEOs to provide mentoring.[10]

The company was established in Boulder in 2006 and held its first program in 2007 with an initial 10 companies.[11] Of the 10, 2 were acquired that same year, 3 achieved positive exits by 2012, and 2 currently generate millions in annual revenue.[10] Techstars used the revenue from these successful exits to expand to four additional cities: in 2009, in Boston; 2010, in Seattle; 2011, in New York City; 2012, a "cloud" program in San Antonio; 2013 in Austin.[12][13][14][15] Techstars has now expanded into many other locations[5]. David Tisch, founder and former managing director of the company’s New York branch, states that Techstars deliberately selected locations away from Silicon Valley because these areas had been relatively overlooked by other entrepreneurs. "[16]

In January 2011, the firm launched the Global Accelerator Network, which links 22 similar programs internationally.[17][18] The network was launched in conjunction with President Barack Obama’s Startup America Partnership.[19] In September 2011, the firm was featured as the subject of a 7-episode reality TV series on Bloomberg TV.[20] The series follows 6 startups in their New York City program.[20][21]


Startups can apply for Techstars’ program and their viability is judged by the program’s directors.[22]

In exchange for 6% common stock, each company accepted into Techstars receives:

  • $18, 000 (and the option to take $100,000 more, see below)
  • Access to Techstars resources for life
  • The 90-day mentorship-driven accelerator program
  • Intense, hands-on mentorship from hundreds of the best entrepreneurs in the world
  • Access to the Techstars Network of over 5,000 founders, alumni and mentors
  • 400 perks worth over $1M
  • Office space for 3 months
  • Equity Back Guarantee: If a company feels like Techstars did not add at least 6% of additional value to their company at the end of the program, Techstars will return the shares in exchange for telling them why. {Note that there is no such guarantee on the optional note.}

Each company accepted into Techstars also receives an optional investment of $100,000 via a convertible note, which typically converts at pre-money valuations between $3-5m.

Techstars goal is to give great founders an extreme competitive advantage in creating a world class business. Techstars system and structure is designed to be most helpful to the entrepreneurs and has been tested and refined for years.

Historically, Techstars companies go on to average more than $2.0M raised in outside capital after the program. ($1.3B raised so far by Techstars companies, 66 exits).


Accepted founders participate in a three-month program in their program’s city.[23] While there, the founders develop their business under the guidance of mentors and meet with potential investors through Techstars’ network of connections.[22][23]

Cohen refers to Techstars as three one-month programs.[24] In the first month the founders engage the mentors and receive feedback on their product or service.[24] The goal of the first month is to orient the team in the correct direction, with Cohen stating that this is when many companies pivot their focus, market strategy, or idea.[24] In the second month, founders work with their mentors on specific issues like customer interaction, partner opportunities, and product development.[24] In the third month, founders develop a plan for action after Techstars, which includes fundraising, pitching investors, launching the product, or developing a company strategy.[24]

At the end of the 13-week program, Techstars hosts "Demo Day", which can draw over 500 investors, entrepreneurs, and journalists.[10]

Results and reception[edit]

Techstars alumni[edit]

  • Bizible, an online and offline marketing analytics company.[25]
  • Brightkite, a real time social discovery network, sold to Limbo in 2009, which closed in 2011.
  • ClauseMatch, a cloud based collaboration platform designed to make contract negotiations more efficient.[26]
  • Codeship, a software service that lets developers update their apps more efficiently and frequently. It participated in the Boston program and then the founders moved back to Vienna.[27]
  • Distil Networks, the leader in bot detection and mitigation, has 15 employees and has raised more than $2 million in funding and blocked over 5 billion malicious bots.[28]
  • Fancred, a social network for sports fans, where they share items to boost their 'cred' among other fans, and which was incubated at Techstars Boston.[29]
  • Filtrbox, a content monitoring service, sold to Jive Software.
  • Flixmaster, who develops software to let users create interactive online video content, has partnered with NBCUniversal and Sony Creative Software and has raised more than $1.1 million.[30][31]
  • FullContact, who builds contact management software and APIs, has 28 employees and has raised more than $8 million in funding.[32][33]
  • Good.Co, a self-discovery platform and network for a new generation of professionals that has raised $1.6 million in funding.[34][35]
  •, a digital comic book platform, has 20 employees and has raised $4.2 million.[36][37]
  • Infinit, a fast peer-to-peer-based file transfer application that allows sending files of unlimited size in just a matter of seconds.[38]
  • IntenseDebate, a commenting system tool for blogs and news sites, acquired by Automattic in 2008.[39]
  • Lore, a social network for learning that has raised over $6 million in funding and been adopted at over 600 schools.[40]
  • Lua, provides mobile workforce technology to enterprise customers with mostly out-of-office employees
  • Mocavo, a genealogy search engine with millions of records and historical documents online [41]
  • Moni, a money transfer app. [42]
  • Murfie, a commercial music streaming service that allows users to buy, sell, and trade compact discs and stream or download their contents.[43]
  • Next Big Sound, a music analytics provider, has raised $7.5 million in funding.[32][44]
  • Occipital, a panoramic photo app, sold their technology to eBay.[45]
  • OnSwipe, a tablet platform for publishing and advertising, was listed as one of Time magazine's 10 Best Startups.[46]
  • Orbotix, focused on bringing a new concept of fun through robotics and phone-controlled open devices, raised over $11 million in funding. Their robotic ball Sphero is available in both the Apple Store and Brookstone.[34][47]
  • Placester, a real estate marketing platform, has raised over $22 million in funding.[48]
  • SendGrid, a cloud email infrastructure, has raised over $27 million in funding.[32][49]
  • Sensobi, a personal relationship manager, was acquired by GroupMe.[50]
  • Shippable, a continuous delivery platform for containerized workflows. Has raised over $2M in funding.[51]
  • ShuttleCloud, specializing in cloud data migration, analysis, and storage products[52]
  • Simple Energy, an energy utility customer engagement platform has been deployed in over 500,000 homes.[53]
  • Sketchfab, a portal to display 3D content online. Has raised $2.5 million in funding.[54][55]
  • Socialthing, which organizes users’ social media, was bought by AOL.[56]
  • StreamRoot, a peer-to-peer video streaming solution to help broadcasters reducing their bandwidth costs.[57]
  • Zagster, which designs, builds, and operates private bike sharing programs for universities, corporate campuses, hotels, and residential communities.[58][59]


  1. ^ Rusli, Evelyn. Heirs to Old Money Plunge into Tech. The New York Times. April 4, 2012.
  2. ^ Innovations & Ideas. The Denver Post. February 4, 2007.
  3. ^ Mentors.
  4. ^ Garland, David Siteman. How Techstars Founder David Cohen Turned A Passion For Technology Into An Incredible Career. The Rise to the Top.
  5. ^ Whipple, Tod. Interview with David Cohen-Techstars. Startup Addict. March 4, 2011.
  6. ^ Cite error: The named reference incchafkin was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  7. ^ a b Johnson, Kimberly. How Techstars was born. The Denver Post. May 20, 2007.
  8. ^ Bort, Julie. Boulder is Utopia for Startups. Business Insider. March 27, 2012.
  9. ^ Johnson, Kimberly. Techstars’ work pays in Boulder. The Denver Post. August 17, 2007.
  10. ^ a b c Bigelow, Bruce V. Lessons from Techstars’ David Cohen on Building a Startup Culture: 7 Takeaways from the Xconomy San Diego Dinner. Xconomy. February 3, 2012.
  11. ^ Myers, Courtney Boyd. Techstars: the next great incubator unleashes 11 startups in NYC. The Next Web. April 16, 2011.
  12. ^ Cite error: The named reference results was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  13. ^ Olanoff, Drew. These eleven companies relocated to San Antonio to join the first Techstars Cloud. The Next Web. April 11, 2012.
  14. ^ Thomas, Mike. Techstars Program to Jumpstart San Antonio’s Investment Community. The San Antonio Business Journal. April 4, 2012.
  15. ^ Dickinson, Boonsri. Microsoft Just Picked 11 Startups to Build Amazing Apps for Kinect. Business Insider. April 2, 2012.
  16. ^ Sloan, Paul. The startup accelerator bubble. CNET. March 27, 2012.
  17. ^ "Techstars network". Techstars. 
  18. ^ Global Accelerator Network
  19. ^ Spencer, Malia. AlphaLab now part of Techstars Network. Pittsburgh Business Times. January 31, 2011.
  20. ^ a b Myers, Courtney Boyd. Tonight: Techstars’ Reality TV show debuts on Bloomberg. The Next Web. September 13, 2011.
  21. ^ Emerson, Rip. Startups On TV: Techstars Teams Up With Bloomberg To Offer An Inside Look At Building A Business. TechCrunch. August 2, 2011.
  22. ^ a b Popper, Ben. How the quiet Adam Rothenberg became number two at hot startup incubator Techstars NY. Venture Beat. March 12, 2012.
  23. ^ a b Fields, Jonathan. Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance. Portfolio Hardcover, 2011.
  24. ^ a b c d e Patterson, Irina and Candice Arnold. [1]. Sramana Mitra. March 7, 2011.
  25. ^ "Techstars grad Bizible lands $1.7M to help businesses measure whether ads work". Geekwire. Retrieved Sep 25, 2013. 
  26. ^
  27. ^ Callum Borchers. "Techstars alum Codeship raises $2.6 million". BetaBoston. Retrieved April 8, 2014. 
  28. ^ [2]
  29. ^ Dennis Keohane. "For today’s Sox game, download these two sports apps". BetaBoston. Retrieved April 8, 2014. 
  30. ^ Lawler, Ryan. Techstars Alum FlixMaster Raises $1.1 Million To Bring Interactive Video To Networks And Brand Marketers. "TechCrunch". January 23, 2013.
  31. ^ Heim, Anna. FlixMaster partners with Sony Creative Software to bring interactive videos tools to a broader audience. "The Next Web". November 14, 2012.
  32. ^ Cite error: The named reference techstarscrunchbase was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  33. ^ Feld, Brad. One Address Book to Rule Them All. "Feld Thoughts". July 13, 2012.
  34. ^ a b [3]. Crunchbase
  35. ^ Shu, Catherine. Good.Co Wants To Put Employees In Good Company. TechCrunch. August 22, 2014.
  36. ^ Cheredar, Tom. Graphicly shutters iOS & Android comic book apps to focus on self-publishing service. Venture Beat. April 5, 2012.
  37. ^ Vuong, Andy. Colorado startups becoming tech stars. The Denver Post. April 10, 2010.
  38. ^ Leswing, Kif. "Infinit revisits personal peer-to-peer file sharing". June 9, 2014. Retrieved January 25, 2015. 
  39. ^ Kincaid, Jason. Automattic Has Acquired IntenseDebate's Enhanced Comment System. TechCrunch. September 23, 2008.
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^ "TechStars London Unveils First Cohort, Applications Increased 4x Post-Springboard Merger". TechCrunch. Retrieved 15 February 2015. 
  43. ^
  44. ^ Ruth, Joao-Pierre. Xconomis of the Week. Xconomy. April 12, 2012.
  45. ^ . Occipital Upgrades Panoramic Photo App. Tech Rockies. March 26, 2012.
  46. ^ Baptiste, Jason. Fundraising: From $1,000 To $1,000,000. April 8th, 2012.
  47. ^ . Orbotix Sphero is Rolling to an Apple Store Near You. Techcrunch. June 29, 2012.
  48. ^ Placester Raises $15 Million to Polish Real-Estate Agents’ Web Presence. The Wall Street Journal. April 7, 2015.
  49. ^ Dizik, Alina. 6 Time-Management Tips from Accelerator Programs. Fast Company. March 14, 2012.
  50. ^ Huang, Gregory T. Sensobi Acquired by GroupMe for Group Texting. May 5, 2011.
  51. ^ "Techstars Seattle Startup Shippable Raises $2.05M For Continuous Integration Platform Built On Docker". TechCrunch. Dec 10, 2013. 
  52. ^ "ShuttleCloud". CrunchBase. May 31, 2012. Retrieved July 16, 2013. 
  53. ^ America's Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs 2012 Bloomberg BusinessWeek
  54. ^ Liam Boogar (February 25, 2013). "With 20,000+ users on board, Sketchfab raises a 370K€ Angel round for its YouTube of 3D". Rude Baguette. 
  55. ^ "Sketchfab raises $2m to scale its "YouTube for 3D files"". Balderton Capital. December 5, 2013. 
  56. ^ Reisinger, Don. AOL Acquires Lifestreaming Service Socialthing. Mashable. August 14, 2008.
  57. ^ Semyon Dukach (August 14, 2014). "TechStars Boston 2014 Class". TechStars. 
  58. ^ Moschen, Isabell (June 6, 2013). "The Two-Wheeled Amenity". New York Times. 
  59. ^ Schiller, Ben. "A Self-Contained Bike Share To Make College (Or Your Office Park) More Fun". Fast Co.Exist. 

External links[edit]