It’s that time again. Accelerator Season, and time to decide whether or not applying to an accelerator program is the right path for you..
One concern on many an entrepreneur’s mind is the equity that they’re asked to give up. That’s something to consider – as is the value that you’re getting in exchange: the experience of the program’s leadership, the mentoring, the introductions, the access to investors who are suddenly seeking you out, for a change.
In just a few months, you enter with a startup, and emerge with a viable company.
What to speak of the fact that it’s easier to get into Harvard than into some of the accelerator programs, and that has to tell you something.
Techstars is one of the leading accelerators, and the deadline for their next New York based program is October 19th. Is it worth it? Let’s look at some numbers: 417 companies in total have gone through the Techstars program, to date; 49 have been acquired; and Techstars alumni companies have raised an average of $1,827,000 in funding, per company.
But the best way to find out about an accelerator is to talk to companies who have been through the program. From what we hear from Techstars grads, it’s worth every minute, and then some:
“Techstars does a phenomenal job of bringing in superstar mentors who care deeply about supporting the start-up ecosystem in New York City. Things that would have taken us three to six months to explore in the regular world (like considering whether or not to be an e-commerce company) became a one-week decision cycle, because we could tap into pretty much any expert we could imagine and get on a call that day. And the Techstars team has really succeeded in fostering community across all cities and classes, so long after your Demo Day, people you’ve never even met—but are Techstars alum—will go to great lengths to help and support you.”- Ally Downey, Founder/CEO, weeSpring (NYC, 2013)
“AdYapper is a company that leverages advanced ad viewability to generate increased revenue for advertisers, and as such, TechStars NYC was a natural choice for us. They gave us access to the entire depth and breadth of the ad-tech scene in NYC, including major publishers, investors, and other key players. From a business development and mentorship standpoint, the experience was incomparable, with back-to-back meetings for three months straight. The people we generally meet with are extremely busy, and one needs to schedule weeks if not months ahead – TechStars gave us almost same-day access, and as a result, allowed us to conduct about two years worth of business in the space of three months.
The final piece is the continuation of this assistance, to this day. The entire TechStars network is always at our disposal, and everyone from David Cohen in Boulder, Alex Iskold in NYC, all the other Managing Directors, to alumni companies, will respond at a moment’s notice in order to connect us with the people we need – whether they be formal TechStars Mentors, or other professional connections. This follow-though and continuous support has been invaluable to us, and is a testament to how TechStars has succeeded in building a true family environment. By that I mean how once you’re in, you are family, and everyone does everything in their power to help you be successful.
As an entrepreneur, it’s hard enough getting one person truly in your corner – with TechStars you get thousands! This has enabled us to get our solution out to the largest brands, ad networks / DSPs, and publishers in the world, and to date has resulted in our clients recouping of hundreds of millions of dollars in wasted ad spend.” – Elliot E. Hirsch, CEO of ADYAPPER (NYC, 2013)
“Going through TechStars NY was the best way for us to bootstrap and have access to a top quality network of VCs and founders. The mentoring during the program was super helpful; it was great to go back to bootcamp mode for a few months, and to get to the roots of our key value proposition while following our KPIs very closely and pushing hard to make them great. The TS value continues after and beyond the program: we share tips and insights between CEOs almost everyday, and I can get introed to literally anyone through the network.” – Alban Denoyel, Co-founder & CEO, Sketchfab (NYC, 2013)
“Techstars actually changed everything for Placemeter. Time is of the essence, and at Techstars, you will accelerate time roughly 6 fold. Three months = a year and a half. My estimate. Grueling, but really, really worth it.
At Techstars, you will become an uber expert ninja at pitching your business, which is an extremely valuable skill to have. I used my Techstars demo day pitch about … 100 times, no exaggeration. Pitch til you drop! “ – Alexandre Winter, PhD, Founder & CEO, Placemeter (NYC, 2013)
“The TechStars program was invaluable to us in developing a rigorous metrics-based product focus. We were able to identify key components of our experience, optimize those experiences for our user, and quantify the success.” – Suzanne Xie, Founder & CEO, Hullabalu (NYC, 2014)
“Techstars immerses you in a tight-knit community of people who genuinely wants to help you succeed – people who’ve done it before, people who are doing it right now, people looking to fund big new ideas. You’re not going to get that in too many other places.” – Eric Duffy, Cofounder & CEO, PathGather (NYC, 2014)
“TechStars NYC was like rocket fuel for Plated, providing us tremendous support with every aspect of our business as we took off. Time is one of the most valuable assets when you’re launching a start-up, and TechStars saved us months of making common errors, helping to push us to the next level fast.” – Nick Taranto, Cofounder, Plated (NYC, 2013)
“As first-time founders, Techstars was a game changer for us, from business development to fundraising. Alex and KJ were critical for helping us raise our round after Demo Day, from facilitating introductions to providing guidance throughout the entire process. The program opened doors and connected us with a network of mentors and fellow founders that continues to accelerate our growth long after the program” – Susan Zheng, Cofounder, Lynxsy (NYC, 2014)