I get asked about TechStars all the time -- and I think a number of folks don't understand the benefits of applying. I've started at least 4 and sold 3 companies successfully -- if I were starting a new company, I'd seriously consider applying and doing the TechStars dance. Here's why:
- Stand out from the rest of other startups -- TechStars really helps young companies stand out from all the other startup noise that is in the marketplace. Getting into TechStars give you the opportunity to talk to lots of folks that you wouldn't otherwise --and make the case as to why you and your company will succeed.
- Get feedback from smart people -- TechStars gives you lots of feedback from smart people of all types. This feedback is incredibly valuable. If you're not in TechStars, you've got to hustle, call and seek this feedback out on your own. It takes lots of time and is hard. Because of the relationship to the mentor community, we make that process much easier.
- Get introductions to potential customers and partners -- For companies that get into TechStars, your ability to get access to people at other companies is awesome. Mentors will really help you get doors opened that you otherwise wouldn't be able to open.
- Be surrounded by other people living the same dream -- You will have fun. TechStars is fun.
- Raise money at a higher valuation than you would if you weren't in the program -- I don't think you should do TechStars simply because it helps you raise money. I don't think the real value of the program is the money. But I know a number of you can't help but calculate this in your head and be skeptical of all the folks supporting TechStars. Here's the simple math you have to believe: TechStars will increase your valuation more than the dilution that occurs at the beginning of the program. In my mind this is a no-brainer. Moreover, TechStars will help me find, pitch and close investors more quickly than if I didn't do TechStars. Let me be clear -- we make no promises. It's up to you as an entrepreneur to get into TechStars and then to raise capital. But we certainly can give you every opportunity to succeed.
If any of this rings true for you, you can apply here before June 1, 2010.