When I first joined Techstars as a Managing Director in NYC, back in 2014, I really wanted to invest in technology and innovation. Wired wrote a short story about my focus on backing engineers, and innovation. It has been more than 3 years, and I consider myself VERY LUCKY to be able to work with […]

These days, startup founders spend a lot of time thinking about how to pitch investors. The problem is not simple—investors get pitched a lot, and most startups are either too early or don’t think that making their pitch stand out really matters. The problem is that most founders just pitch with words. The founders spend time […]

Last Thursday I came home from work at 10pm, opened the door and immediate heard my wife say how stressed she was. Her pharmaceutical company recently bought a biotech startup for a lot of money, and my wife is leading a very tough integration project. She works super hard, all the time, and is still behind on […]

Funnels are remarkably useful in many aspects of startup life. Whether you are trying to get users to try your product, or sell to an enterprise customer, or hire an engineer, or raise capital, you are dealing with a funnel.   Funnels are essentially inverted pyramids divided into stages. The objective is to move through the […]

Techstars is a mentorship-driven accelerator. Our model is to help accelerate startups and help founders go faster by connecting them to world-class mentors—founders, experienced entrepreneurs, executives, and investors. At the beginning of each Techstars NYC program, we setup a so-called Mentor Week, a set of quick discovery meetings to figure out which mentors would be most […]

We are all in a rush these days. As founders, we want to literally do more faster all the time. As we rush, and get a lot done, sometimes we don’t do things right.  We forego quality in exchange for speed and quantity. Yet it is really important to pay attention to correctness and quality. When we rush […]

Mailing lists can be a simple yet powerful tool to set cadence and keep people up to date on your progress. The advantage of having several mailing lists is that you can share the right kind of information with the right group, and choose the right cadence for each update. 1. List for Mentors Mentors, […]

We’ve talked a lot here about raising seed capital. Even when capital is readily available, fundraising is still not easy. But today, the markets are cooler, and according to Crain’s and Alley Watch, early-stage investment activity in 2016 in NYC is down compared to 2015. We’ve written about the slowdown back in August of 2015. Lack […]

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Moisey Uretsky, co-founder of Digital Ocean (Techstars ’12), a close friend, and one of my all-time favorite founders. Moisey is incredibly smart, thoughtful, and had one of the best product guts and chops out there. We talked about a lot of topics around engineering and startups, and one of the things that came […]

We wrote last week here about doubling our efforts to help founders. During these rather uncertain times, we at Techstars are committed to sending a loud and clear signal that we support our founders 110%. At Techstars we believe that actions speak louder than words. As an organization, we have made an important commitment to diversity and inclusion in technology. […]

There will be a ton written today about the future. I truly, honestly do not know what is going to happen, and so much is not in my, or any of our, control. I don’t want to waste pixels sharing with you how I feel, because probably many of you feel the same. Instead, I […]

Three years ago I embarked on what, so far, has turned out to be the best job of my career. I am not just saying it, this is actually true—running the Techstars New York City program and working at Techstars has been the best, most humbling job I’ve ever had. Here is what I have learned […]

I am a fan of having a formal board right after the company raises seed financing. I’ve seen how helpful the boards are and how lost and disadvantaged the founders can often be without the board. To put it simply, a good early-stage board helps the CEO identify key future milestones, and helps achieve them. […]

We are delighted to introduce 15 Startups that are finishing our Summer 2016 Program today. As with our previous classes, this was a diverse group of founders solving a wide range of problems. In addition to 6 teams from NYC we had teams from Rochester, Atlanta, San Francisco, two teams from Philadelphia, a team from UK, […]

When founders get connected to investors, they are often asked to send the deck ahead of the meeting. We’ve written here why sending the decks, especially before the first meeting, is generally not a good idea. Startup founders cannot be defined by their decks. The main issue with a pitch deck is that it is […]

Last week we wrote about questions that investors ask founders during investor meetings. This week we are turning the tables and talking about questions that founders need to ask investors. Most founders spend little time asking investors questions, and that’s too bad. First of all, good investors love it when you ask them questions, because it […]

We’ve written a lot here about fundraising and how it is a complicated, and at times, confusing process. To fundraise effectively you need to prepare and have a strategy, understand different types of investors, understand how much to raise, and create a solid investor pipeline. We have also talked about a fundraising deck, and how to go about putting one together. […]

I am a big fan of A16Z podcasts, and they just released a terrific episode on Network Effect. Network effect is an important, and somewhat confusing topic. The reason network effect is important is that the businesses with a true network effect are highly defensible, have strong retention and engagement, exhibit characteristics of a monopoly, and tend to last for […]

Time is one of the things we unfortunately can’t get more of. As the amount of information we have to deal with is accelerating, our time seems to be shrinking. Here are 12 ways for giving back, and being respectful of, other people’s time: 1. Schedule shorter calls and meetings We have written here before […]

Every single company depends on software, and startups are no exception. Software has gone from being critical to every business, to BEING the business. Software creation is an art, a craft, and a process. Building and shipping software is a marathon that lasts the entire lifetime of the company. To ship software effectively you need to establish cadence, […]

I was recently chatting with one of the Techstars founders and found myself asking her, “What is the API for your business?” This may sound like an odd question, but it actually is not. Every single startup, and every single business has an interface that it offers to the world. Some of these interfaces are super […]

Early on, after Facebook launched its Feed feature, the product team at Facebook was trying to understand how to engage and retain users. What the product team noticed is that IF a user got to 10 or more friends in 14 days, there was very high likelihood of this user sticking around for a while. The team […]

One of the worst things that can happen to a CEO of an early-stage company is to be in the state of perpetual fundraising. Here is how you can tell that it may be happening to you: You have been fundraising for a while You are fundraising and running the business at the same time You don’t […]