Techstars Opens Up Virtual Accelerator With An Inaugural Class Of Four
Techstars, the preeminent global accelerator platform, now has 25 “brick and mortar” accelerator programs across the world. After their initial success with a now traditional tech startup accelerator program model, they expanded into various verticals. Some of their verticals now include fintech, hardware, automotive and wireless. They’ve partnered with companies like Cox, Barclays, and Sprint.
This year alone, Techstars will invest in 275 different startups. To date they’ve graduated over 1000 different startups.
Techstar’s, Ryan Kuder, a startup co-founder himself, took to the Techstars blog to explain their latest exciting program. Techstars Anywhere is a new virtual accelerator program that will bring the intense programming to founders that for whatever reason can’t make it to one of the their brick and mortar programs.
Over the years Techstars has had tens of thousands of applicants for each of their programs. They’ve also had to leave some founders/startups on the table. “Maybe they’ve got family obligations. Maybe the teams are distributed. Maybe it’s an exceptionally talented solo founder working with contractors on an early prototype. Or maybe the business just requires the founders to be in a particular place or on-site. ” Kuder said on the Techstars blog.
With the distributed way of working these days, Techstars found it fitting to institute a new virtual program.
Kuder, along with Nicole Glaros, and Karina Costa, will run the program. The programming will be similar to what founders get at any of their other programs. A lot of the details have been left out, like if they’re going to hold an investor day at the end of the session, and how long the session itself is.
Techstar’s Anywhere is in Beta. They are working out all the kinks. For the Beta program they handpicked four startups to work with. The startups are still giving Techstars equity, but it’s unclear how much, if any cash, Techstars is putting on the table. Their same equity-back guarantee that Techstars has with all of their companies, will apply for the virtual accelerator companies as well.
“That’s why we offer our Equity Back Guarantee to ensure that if the experience we think we expect to deliver isn’t what we actually deliver, our founders have an opportunity to take back their equity, no questions asked. Techstars is the only accelerator program that does this.” The Techstars blog says.
It’s also not clear whether Techstars is going to take applications for future Techstars Anywhere programs or if they will use it for teams that apply to other programs and can’t make it to a location.
Here are the four teams in the first class. Kuder explains in each entry below, why Techstars Anywhere works for each team.
Smallhold is an urban agriculture technology company based in Brooklyn, NY. Founders Andrew and Adam have developed an innovative way to more efficiently grow mushrooms and other crops in a distributed farming network and distribute those crops to restaurants and markets around New York. They spend most of their days working on their farm and in their lab. Techstars Anywhere will allow them to tend to their crops while leveraging a full Techstars program with dirt on their hands.
Clarke.ai builds AI that can take notes for you during your meetings and phone calls. While they work together occasionally, most of the time CEO Shishir is at a coworking space in New York while cofounder Chris works from home in Philadelphia. They’re a distributed team that can keep their current pace, in two cities, without breaking their routine.
Qeepsake helps parents keep a baby book for their kids by answering age appropriate and topical questions about their kids via text message. Everyday, Qeepsake texts parents a question like, “What’s Charlie’s favorite food?” CEO Jeff and his wife Stephanie started the company based on a very real need he had–Jeff is the father of 5 kids in Boston, MA. Jeff works from home to be close to his family. His co-founder Duncan is based across the country in San Diego, California. (Duncan has no kids if you were wondering).
What Tax Form founder Emily is a solo founder based in San Diego. What Tax Form takes the WTF out of employee onboarding paperwork by providing a clean and simple interface to generate the most common new employee tax related documents. Emily works with a team of full and part time employees and contractors. Techstars Anywhere will allow Emily to have a full Techstars experience while allowing her to stay near her contractors and employees who normally wouldn’t relocate with her for an accelerator program.
Find out more about Techstars here.