Top 10 reasons NOT to apply to TechStars

  1. You like your cubicle
  2. You think 12 month software release cycles are just fine
  3. You aspire to be a middle manager
  4. You'd rather sit in meetings all day than actually do stuff
  5. You don't believe the world could be a better place (change isn't something you believe in)
  6. you like pushing paper
  7. procrastination is a game you enjoy
  8. Your definition of risk is a board game
  9. The Nike commercial of Just do it didn't do it for you
  10. You're afraid, very afraid

Applications are due by June 1, 2010. Apply here

No BBQ allowed. Any thought on how I should respond are welcome?

I received this pleasant email today:



I got a report from other tenants in the building that there was a BBQ in the parking lot with alcohol being consumed today.  Alcohol or not, this is an office building and both of these activities are inappropriate for a professional setting.  Other tenants have clients coming to the building and this is not something that should be going on.  If people need to be involved in an activity like that there are parks nearby that can be used.  The report that I got was that it was your office that was doing this.  If this is true please contact the people on site and make sure this does not happen again.






There are a number of responses to this email that I can think of....but I'm not sure yet what the best one is yet. Any thoughts of how I should respond?

If your company were a drink, what drink would it be? Help me name TechStars corporate cocktail

Since the publishing of the video about Founder's Co-op, whiskey and entrepreneurs on TechFlash, there's been an ongoing conversation about each company's symbolic drink. You can think of these as corporate cocktails.  You know - a drink that you start each corporate meeting with (if you were drinking during the day) Here's what we've come up with so far: 

  • LookStat - La phroaig - Single malt scotch
  • Untitled Startup - Dewars
  • NearlyWeds - Perseco
  • Frugal Mechanic - tap water
  • Appature - Russel's Reserve
  • Cooler Planet - Patron
  • AppStore HQ - Maker's Mark
  • On Top Leads - Jack Daniel's 
  • Big Door Media - Stoli and soda with a lime

(Please note that I didn't get ALL Founder's Co-op companies drinks by date of publication....those that are outside of Seattle were omitted. Sorry guys -- the need to publish dominated making this list comprehensive. If you send me a drink I'll post it)

Next week at the TechStars for a Day event, I'll be revealing TechStars in Seattle choice of symbolic drink. I'm not sure what it is yet, but I'm open to suggestions.

Please note -- these corporate cocktails do NOT have to be alcoholic. It's probably not a coincidence that the above list is mostly alcoholic. 

Marketing TechStars: get in on the action

I'm totally having fun with the community -- trying to let everyone know that applications are open and due June 1, 2010.  And, I'm happy to report that folks in the community are helping me get the word out and I'm deeply appreciative. Marcelo and Jennifer of Seattle 2.0 have been helping me. The TechStars mentors have been helping out. The venture capital community has been getting into the spirit. Here's a photo that I received from Erik Benson of Voyager Capital yesterday  - the photo if you can't see it is a picture of the TechStars brochure at Voyagers reception desk. 

TechStars doc at voyager

And now you can help too!  Please help me get the word out by forwarding the following email to folks you know in your company and in the community that you think would be appropriate:

Re: Want mentorship and investment for your startup?

TechStars is a mentorship-driven seed stage investment program.  It is now accepting applications for the inaugural 2010 Seattle class.  Applications are due by June 1, 2010 and the program kicks-off on August 16, 2010.  The Seattle program is funded by every major venture capital firm in Seattle.  We are reaching out to every organization in Seattle that works with entrepreneurs to help spread the word about the program.  There is more information about TechStars online,  Any help you can provide in promoting the program or encouraging exciting young companies and engineers to apply is greatly appreciated. 

TechStars: Seattle's Brewin'

I got this email from David Cohen the other day-- the founder and grand-poobah of TechStars....


Boulder   rocks , I <3 Boston, Seattle _________?


He suggested "Seattle is Super" -- I told him that was stupid. He agreed. 

"Seattle's sunny" -- oddly inappropriate. 

So....Seattle's brewin'. Expect to see that tagline around.  

And this logo.  Seattle techstars icon

Want to learn more about TechStars in Seattle? Come get free coffee at louisa's cafe on 4/6/10 at 8:30AM

If you want to learn more about TechStars in Seattle you should attend Open Coffee on Tuesday 4/6 at 8:30AM at Louisa's Cafe on 2379 Eastlake Ave E in Seattle. Brad Feld will be attending and the two of us will be answering questions in an informal way about the program. If you come, there will be good free coffee provided by TechStars. Sorry, you'll have to pay for your blueberry scones. Please help spread the word. 

Help me spread the word on TechStars Seattle applications

TechStars is not about me, it's not about Founder's Co-op, it's not about the list of investors. TechStars is about making Seattle an awesome and supportive place to build very successful technology companies. 

TechStars is about creating community and supporting technology entrepreneurship in Seattle.  We hope you will join the effort in whatever way you can. Please blog, email, retweet and generally help spread the word that TechStars Seattle applications are open.

To apply to TechStars, click To apply to TechStars, click here.

How TechStars came to Seattle?

Below is the somewhat long story behind TechStars Seattle. I usually don't write long blog posts but I'm super excited about TechStars and applications for the Seattle program open today. A number of people have asked me the story behind TechStars coming to Seattle -- so here it is in its full detail.  You can apply for TechStars Seattle here and theschedule of important dates for the program are here.

I first contacted David Cohen in January 2008. At the time, I had just started working on Founder’s Co-op and wanted to speak with David about his experience with TechStars. I thought that TechStars was onto something and I wanted to learn from what David was doing and consider doing something similar in Seattle.

Chris DeVore, my partner at Founder's Co-op and I decided we didn't want to mimic a 3 month incubator in Seattle – in our opinion, TechStars and Y-combinator were both occupying that market space pretty well.  I opted to start Founder’s Co-op, a mentor driven seed fund.  When I spoke to David on the phone, he was kind enough to share some legal documents with me. Shortly after that call, I became a mentor of TechStars Boulder.

In January 2009, I learned that TechStars was expanding to Boston. I emailed David Cohen and Brad Feld and said that if they ever considered expanding to Seattle I would be interested in working with them.   David and Brad both encouraged me to spend more time in the summer at TechStars to get to know the program. They said that they were interested in exploring the possibility of working together.

In May 2009, I went to my 20th college reunion at Brown University in Providence RI. While I was back east, I stopped by at the Boston TechStars 2009 orientation. Turns out that Shawn Broderick, an old friend of mine from the 1990’s Boston technology scene, was the executive director.  Shawn asked me to speak to the incoming class of TechStar companies.  I did – and I’m not sure exactly what I said – but as I spoke I choked with emotion.  The weekend had already been a trip down memory lane for me – walking the campus at Brown already pre-disposed me to feeling nostalgic. But I wasn’t prepared for the raw energy emanating from the founders of the 10 Boston TechStars companies. I spoke to the founders of the 10 companies. I told them what it was like for me to start abuzz in 1996. I shed a few tears. I got into my car and called Brad Feld and Jerry Colonna – the venture capitalists who invest and bet on me in, abuzz technologies, my first company.  I decided then – that Seattle needed a program like this and that I wanted to run TechStars Seattle. Now, I just needed David Cohen to be willing to open TechStars in Seattle.

In the summer of 2009, I made another two trips to Boulder in an effort to get to know the TechStars program and David Cohen better. After the second trip, David said that he was very interested in opening TechStars Seattle but didn’t want to make a decision until October 2009.   He also wanted to get to know the early stage technology scene in Seattle better.  He went about meeting entrepreneurs and investors in Seattle and even came to a Founder's Co-op LP meeting.

By September 2009, David told me that he had pretty much decided to expand to Seattle but he wanted the community of entrepreneurs to drive the expansion of the program.

In early November 2009, there were a series of dinners in Seattle between Matt McIlwain, Greg Gottesman, Brad Feld, David Cohen, and myself. 

The next thing I knew --  in a 24 hour period Greg Gottesman and David Cohen both called and asked me if I’d be willing to run TechStars in Seattle alongside Founder’s Co-op, the seed stage fund I run with Chris DeVore… and I agreed. 

With the help of Greg Gottesman, I then approached the entrepreneur and venture capital community in Seattle and asked them to collaborate with us in supporting the launch of TechStars Seattle in August 2010. What happened was amazing! We received huge support from an amazing list of experienced entrepreneurs willing to act as mentors. In addition, nearly all the venture capitalists in the city elected to materially support Techstars Seattle !

The list of investors includes:

  • Jeff Bezos Investment Group
  • Divergent Venture Partners
  • Draper Associates
  • Founders Co-op
  • Foundry Group
  • Ignition Partners
  • Linden Rhoads (UW, center for technology commercialization
  • Madrona Venture Fund
  • Maveron Venture Capital
  • Montlake Capital
  • OVP
  • Rolling Bay Ventures (Geoff Entress)
  • Second Ave Partners
  • TechStars Central
  • Trilogy Equity Partners, LLC
  • Voyager Capital, LLC
  • Vulcan Capital(Paul Allen's group)
  • WRF Capital

Turns out, the Seattle startup scene has totally embraced TechStars….and I think that Seattle entrepreneur community is the big winner.  

That’s how TechStars came to Seattle.

Applications open for TechStars Seattle today :  March 23, 2010 and the program starts in Aug 2010. 

If you’re an early stage entrepreneur, you should consider applying here.


TechStars Seattle Applications Open Today

Just wanted to remind everyone that Techstars Seattle applications officially open today. if you're interested in applying to the program, I'd encourage you to do so here

I think this is going to be a blast -- if you've got a hot new idea for a technology business -- and you want to have the biggest success possible, applying to TechStars is likely for you!