On Wednesday, we had our Techstars 2013 retreat at Big Door CEO Keith Smith’s cabin in Easton, Washington. In line with the Techstars mantra of Do More Faster, the purpose of the retreat is to hurry up the process of getting to know one another in the program. We figured that a Summer camp style overnight complete with a rather chilly lake, a motorcycle ride, a propane flame thrower, BBQ’d bacon, and a fair amount of beer was the best way to accomplish this.
Emphasis was placed on chatting with those in the group with whom you had not yet gotten to know. With every new group activity, you had to sit with people you had not met yet. Activities focussed on what you wanted to get out of Techstars and how you think it will help your career.
We held a funding panel with myself, Greg Gottesman, of Madrona Venture Group, and Big Door’s Keith Smith. The panel was an open forum for anyone to ask questions about funding, financing, and how to raise a round. It was great to level set on this often intimidating part of the company building process. Hearing the more formal points from Greg was valuable as teams begin to raise beyond their seed rounds. Keith also shared the painful lesson he learned by not selling his first company when he should have.
The weather was a little damp but we prevailed. I think that the retreat helped us to get closer as a group and has set the tone for the Techstars 2013 class. A big thank you to everyone who helped organize the retreat and to Keith Smith for the use of his awesome cabin.