TechStars, the self-described “#1 startup accelerator in the world,” recently announced the 11 startups that were selected for the New York 2013 class from among a field of 1,700+ applicants. Today, Allyson Downey, Co-Founder and CEO of weeSpring, a startup that helps new and expecting parents collect advice from their friends about what they need for their baby, tells AlleyWatch about her decision to apply to TechStars and shares her thoughts on New York’s startup landscape.
Tell us about the decision to apply for TechStars.
We always felt like TechStars was a long shot for us – we’re first-time entrepreneurs coming from non-tech sectors (with the exception of the one engineer on the founding team). But it was also always a no-brainer to apply – why wouldn’t you do something that could help your rocket ship get off the launch pad? I don’t want to sound like a shill for them, but the relative success rate of TechStars companies is phenomenal. Among other impressive metrics, they raise an average of $1.5 million.
Why did you choose TechStars NYC versus other locations?
It never occurred to us to start a business anywhere, but in New York. Both Jack (my husband and co-founder) and I worked in New York state politics for many years, and that instilled in us a “Made in New York” pride that I don’t think we’ll ever shake.
What is your take on the current scene in New York?
I have a toddler and a startup. I don’t get to spend much time out in the scene.
In all seriousness, every day I walk into the TechStars office, packed with immensely talented people who left successful careers in “traditional” jobs. The energy in that room is palpable, and all of it is focused on innovation. I can’t fathom a more exciting thing to be doing right now or a more exciting place to be doing it.
Where does your company fit in the ecosystem?
I usually use a Venn diagram to explain where weeSpring fits. We’re at the intersection of social, commerce and baby. Our market is new and expecting parents who are incredibly eager for trusted advice.
Put simply, everything changes when you have a baby. Yes, strollers, highchairs and car seats are a huge part of that, but you also make big changes in the laundry detergent you use and the car you drive.
The big change we think weeSpring will bring? How you shop online.
Photo credit: Lara Levine
Read what other thought leaders are saying in the “Pulse of the Alley”.