Brad Feld

Tag: techstars

Steve Bell of StartupTrek once again does a nice job of capturing my thoughts in under 7 minutes – this time on TechStars and some advice for young entrepreneurs.

I’ll be in Seattle on Tuesday 4/6 for a bunch of meetings and am attending the Seattle Open Coffee Club meeting at 8:30am at Louisa’s on 2379 Eastlake Avenue E in Seattle.  Andy Sack who runs the TechStars Seattle program is hosting and providing the coffee.  We will both be answering any and all questions about TechStars Seattle, plus eating plenty of baked goods.

Last night we had the TechStars Boulder selection meeting where we chose the TechStars Boulder finalists.  We’ll be notifying folks shortly.  In the mean time, we’ve opened applications for TechStars Seattle. 

Andy Sack, who runs the TechStars Seattle program, has several great blog posts up including How TechStars came to Seattle? and Help me spread the word on TechStars Seattle applicationsThe schedule for TechStars Seattle has also been posted.

I’m really excited about the Seattle program.  The response from the Seattle entrepreneur, angel, and VC community has been incredible and reinforces that Seattle was absolutely the right choice for the third TechStars location.

One of our internal mantras at TechStars is to “publish your data.”  We encourage every team to do this starting very early in their life.  To this day, I still get daily performance reports (I refer to them as TPS reports) from many of the companies that have gone through the program.

Last week, David Cohen published all of the historical TechStars data.  39 companies have gone through the program to date (30 through Boulder and 9 through Boston).  The data that David published covers a lot of ground, including status by individual company.  Some of the pertinent summary data follows:

  • In three years, about $16.5 million in seed-stage funding has been raised.
  • 27 of 39 (~70%) TechStars companies have either raised outside funding after the program or bootstrapped to profitability.
  • TechStars companies currently employ 156 people.
  • Four of the first ten companies from the inaugural 2007 class have already achieved positive exits.
  • The most recent group of companies resulted in seven VC-led follow-on funding rounds and three additional angel-led rounds.

At the same time, Shawn Broderick, who runs the TechStars Boston program, just published the age demographics for the newest class of 10 companies that started the program at the beginning of March.  The numbers may surprise you as being higher than you might expect:

  • Youngest: 21
  • Oldest: 51
  • Average: 28.3
  • Median: 27

Our plan is to continue to update this data on a regular basis as we think it helps people better understand the TechStars program.  If there is additional data that you’d like to see, please feel free to suggest it.

Applications for the TechStars Boulder 2010 program are still open until March 22, 2010 at 11:59:59 PM Mountain Time.  If you haven’t applied but are thinking about it, apply now (it’ll only take a few minutes.)

I think Boulder is one of the absolute best places to start a tech company. The depth of talent and overall strength of our tech community here is superb. It turns out that makes it a great place to start a community-based tech nonprofit startup, too. I’ve written before about SnapImpact’s great work in making doing good easy. Having already created the first volunteering app for the iPhone, they’re started taking on some additional challenges.

Specifically, their developers got the attention of All for Good, a Silicon Valley-based project that managed to make data-sharing agreements with all the major volunteer data providers in the US – not an easy feat. Over the past year, they’ve built the US’s biggest database of volunteer opportunities and are the back-end for the website. The SnapImpact crew has been given the go-ahead to create All for Good version 2.0.

They’re kicking it off with SnapCamp on Feb 19-21, an intensive weekend event for non-profit stake-holders, developers, designers, marketing gurus, startup geeks, and anyone else who wants to make it easy for volunteers find ways to contribute. Of note to developers, v2.0 will be utilizing Scala/Lift – with full support of the Lift community and Dave Pollak, it’s creator.

SnapCamp is taking place in the TechStars Bunker and is being fully sponsored by All for Good. I encourage you to show up, have some geeky startup fun, and do something really big with your weekend. Sign up at Eventbrite:

Last night, Brightkite announced that it has merged with Limbo.   The resulting company, which will be called Brightkite, recently closed a $9 million financing.   I’m psyched for Martin, Brady, and the Brightkite crew as this merger positions them really strongly for their next phase of growth.

Brightkite was a member of the TechStars 2007 class.  They’ve crafted an outstanding mobile social networking app that really started to take off after the release of their excellent iPhone app.  It’s become one of my signaling devices for where I am in the world – if you want to keep track of me friend and follow me on Brightkite.

Congrats guys – I’m looking forward to seeing what the future brings!

Off for a run on the Embarcadero (without my iPhone this time.)

If you have been thinking about applying to TechStars for either the Summer 2009 program in either Boulder or Boston, now is the time to do it as the application deadline is Saturday, March 21, 2009 at 11:59:59 PM MDT.

In my first company (Feld Technologies), when we set deadlines we started out with days of the week (e.g. Wednesday).  In the late 1980’s, this meant “sometime before Thursday morning when people start showing up at work.”  So – we tightened it up and put a date on it (e.g. Wednesday 3/18).  This was supposed to mean “by the end of the day” but inevitably meant 11:59:59 PM.  So – we started putting date and time stamps on deadlines.  I continue that practice to this day.

So – the deadline is Saturday, March 21, 2009 at 11:59:59 PM MDT.  It’ll take you about as long to apply as it took you to read this blog post (ok – maybe a little longer, but not much.)  What are you waiting for?

I’m heading out to Seattle for a board meeting and a few other things.  Tonight, I’m going to be doing an event called Beers and Boulder with Brad.  I’m going to talk about entrepreneurial communities, the critical importance of entrepreneurship and innovation today,  TechStars, what we’ve done in Boulder to drive entrepreneurship that can apply to other cities such as Seattle, and why we are expanding TechStars to Boston.  I’m then going to stick around until they kick us out answering any and all questions and talking with whoever wants to hang out.

The event was the idea of Dave Schappell of TeachStreet and TA McCann of Gist.  They’ve done an awesome job making it easy for me to “just show up, talk, and answer questions.”  Three great sponsors – Beacon Law Advisors, Square 1 Bank, and Microsoft BizSpark are underwriting the event.

If you aren’t in Seattle tonight, the event will be streamed live.  If you are in Seattle, come join us.

Last week while I was off the grid for my Q1 vacation, TechStars announced that we are doing a Boston program this summer.  Applications for both the Boston and the Boulder programs are open until March 21, 2009 at 11:59:59 PM MDT, but apply before 3/1/09 and be eligible to attend TechStars for a Day.

We launched the original TechStars program in January 2007.  We’ve now run TechStars in Boulder for two years and have had a dynamite time, helped create some super companies (we’ve had 20 companies go through the program, 2 have been profitably acquired, 2 are profitable, and 12 have been funded), and have been able to contribute meaningfully to the Boulder entrepreneurial scene.

In October, I spent a few days in Boston with Amy.  Among other things, I arranged a “nerd dinner” for some of my old Boston friends, including Shawn Broderick, Warren Katz, Colin Angle, Eran Egozy, and Steve Munroe.  While I have regular contact with each of them, they hadn’t been together in a gang for a while so we enjoyed a rambunctious meal at Sel de la Terre (thanks Warren for dinner) and ended up talking about entrepreneurship in Boston for a while.  There was a lot of discussion about how to energize the community more, what we had been doing in Boulder, and who was doing what to whom.  As part of the discussion, Eran told me I had to get together with Bill Warner, who had been thinking of some of the same things.

Coincidentally I’d been connected with Bill a few weeks earlier by David Cohen.  Bill was considering investing in EventVue (one of the TechStars 2007 companies), was interested in talking more about it, TechStars, and Boston.  We had lunch scheduled for the next day.  I’d never met Bill, but I knew of him from MIT and his experience as the founder of Avid and Wildfire, and had seen him speak about his experiences (I think at an MIT Enterprise Forum event) when I was living in Boston.

We had an awesome lunch and hit it off immediately.  Bill totally got TechStars and our mentor driven approach and said, in short “we’ve got to do this in Boston.”  A logical next step was to have Bill come out to Boulder, spend a day really immersed in things with David, and figure out if it made sense.  We did this and the three of us got more excited about the idea of doing TechStars in Boston, but realized we needed to find “a David” to run things on a daily basis.

We made our list of potential David’s, checked it twice, and started calling.  Shawn Broderick was at the top of the list.  I’ve known and worked with Shawn since 1988 – he was the third employee at Feld Technologies, I was the lead angel investor in Genetic Anomalies which had a very successful acquisition by THQ, and am an investor in TrustPlus.  Shawn was a perfect fit, spent time with David in Boulder, and voila, we decided to do TechStars Boston.

Wade Roush at Xconomy Boston has a thorough interview up with David Cohen titled TechStars “Entrepreneurship Boot Camp” Comes to Boston: An Interview with Co-founder David Cohen that goes deeper in to the why and how.  Shawn has hit the ground running and we are totally psyched with how the Boston program is coming together.

Having spent 1983 to 1995 in Boston, this is a wonderful “going full circle moment” for me.  I’m planning on spending some chunks of time in Boston this summer both with our investments (we’ve got two in Boston), TechStars, MIT, and old friends.  Bill – thanks for being the spark that got this started!