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, Sean Coughlin, Co-Founder and CEO of FaithStreet, the social outreach platform for faith communities, tells AlleyWatch about his decision to apply to TechStars and shares his thoughts on New York’s startup landscape.
Tell us about the decision to apply for TechStars.
We applied to TechStars because as first-time entrepreneurs, the promise of accelerating our business in 3 months what would normally take 3 years sounded like just the kind of time machine that we needed J. We’re also the first faith-focused company that TechStars has worked with (and probably the first, legit faith-focused tech startup, period). Mainstream investors, partners and media sometimes haven’t ever seen something like what we’re doing. For that reason alone, having the TechStars family behind us is crucial.
We love New York. It’s where we’ve built FaithStreet. New York has incredibly rich faith diversity – from storefront mosques to soaring Cathedrals – so it’s the perfect place to build the social network for the faithful.
What is your take on the current scene in New York?
I think it’s full of energy and ambition. I think it’s still figuring itself out, a bit. The best part of the tech scene is how veteran entrepreneurs pay it forward to younger ones. The worst part is people talking about building things instead of actually building them.
Where does your company fit in the ecosystem?
I think today, in NYC, people think of us as the faith startup. Our goal is to be the “faith” company within the New York tech scene, the global tech scene and in the minds of pastors in small towns and moms taking their kids to choir practice across the world. When people think about how the faithful connect, they’ll think FaithStreet.
Read what other thought leaders are saying in the “Pulse of the Alley”.