Making the Call to Pick the 11 Techstars Teams

On one hand it is a great day, you get to call up 10 CEOs and share the good news and make their day. There is nothing that can replace the excitement roaring through the phone of how happy they are, “I wish you could see my face right now! OMG! We are so stoked! We won’t let you down! So excited to be a part of Techstars Seattle!”.

On the other hand, I have to tell the others that were right on the cusp, that they were so close but did not make the cut. This is harder than you might expect because you have spent a lot of time getting to know these people and have built up relationships with them. You follow them, and their progress over the selection cycle, staying on top of updates, and cheering when the the team hits a milestone or breakthrough.  It bothers my heart every time having to turn away the teams that were so close. In the end, I’m still rooting for them and try to support them the best way I can.  I want these teams to know that although they didn’t make it into Techstars this year that it is not a vote against their company and  I encourage them to keep pressing forward, and to stay in touch. From past experiences, I know that many companies will apply to Techstars multiple times before eventually being accepted, and many companies will go on to be wildly successful without Techstars.

The selection process is far from an exact science. In the end it really is a gut check. Of course we weigh in product and market, but Techstars always starts and ends with the team, that’s what we bet on when we say yes.

However, as I mentioned this year we had an exceptional number of high-quality applications, and when faced with that final decision, I couldn’t take just 10. So this is the first year Techstars Seattle has decided to invite 11 companies to join us in August.  I’m feeling really optimistic about this group of 11 outstanding teams, and can’t wait to announce the 2013 class to you all next month. Techstars Seattle kicks off on Aug. 5! Also don’t forget to mark your calendars for Thur. Oct. 24 TechStars Seattle Demo Day, you won’t want to miss it!