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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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TechStars Seattle 2013 Applications Are Now Open

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TechStars Seattle applications for year four of the program are now open! The startup community in Seattle is expanding rapidly and TechStars Seattle is right in the middle of it all, located in South Lake Union surrounded by Amazon, Microsoft and tons of other amazing startups. We’ve been investing a lot in Seattle lately beyond TechStars, including BigDoor, SEOmoz, Cheezburger, and most recently Rover. We love Seattle as a startup community!

TechStars Seattle teams will be working out of  Founders Co-op which is also home to The Microsoft Accelerator (powered by TechStars) and CodeFellows programs. There’s a lot of startup talent as well as investors and other members of the tech community around to help out.

Think you might be a good fit for TechStars Seattle? Apply now!

Know someone who might be a good fit? Send any team referrals to TechStars Seattle Program Manager, Linsey Battan, at linsey.battan@techstars.com.

TechStars London Calling

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TechStars London

Jon Bradford and I have known one another since before the development of the Mentor Manifesto. Today we’re bringing Jon and his team at Springboard in London into the TechStars family as they re-brand to become TechStars London, our first international program. We have every confidence in them as a high-quality extension of the strong ecosystem we have already built here in the US.

Springboard has always been focused on helping entrepreneurs and TechStars’ support and expertise provides UK and European entrepreneurs the best opportunity to improve their likelihood of success. Our priority is to support great companies from the region in London (accepting applications from everywhere) and there’s no requirement or expectation that the companies will need to relocate to the US. We will build on the mentor network that Springboard has already started in London and supplement it with mentors from the broader TechStars network in the States.

Any and I are going to spend two weeks in London this summer during the program. I lived in London for a summer when I was 16, worked for Centronics (the creators of the parallel port), wrote dot-matrix font creation software for the Apple II, got paid with a Centronics 351 printer, learned how to drink a lot of beer, watched Pink Floyd The Wall for the first time, and spent a week wandering around in Paris in August when no one was there. I’ve always felt super comfortable in London and am looking forward to hanging out with the newest members of the TechStars family, while drinking a lot of beer.

TechStars Chicago Applications Are Now Open

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TechStars Chicago applications are now open. Apply now.

Huh? What? You didn’t know there was a TechStars Chicago? There is now.

Techstars Chicago

Last night I was in Chicago at 1871, the amazing 50,000 square foot co-working space in the Chicago Merchandise Mart that has become the convening spot for the digital economy in Chicago and the home of Excelerate Labs. It was the mentor kickoff night for the fourth year of Excelerate Labs and I was delighted to be able to announce that Excelerate Labs and TechStars are joining forces to create and run TechStars Chicago.

Excelerate Labs is a three year old, high-quality accelerator in Chicago managed by Troy Henikoff (SurePayroll) and Sam Yagan (OkCupid, SparkNotes, Match.com) as well as Sandbox Industries’ Nick Rosa and New World Ventures’ Adam Koopersmith. In its first three years, it has already earned a place among the very best accelerators in the nation. Its first three classes of thirty portfolio companies have raised more than a combined $30M and I had the distinct honor of keynoting at their Demo Day last August.

Our relationship with Troy, Sam, and team started when Troy came to TechStars Demo Day in Boulder in 2009. Next Big Sound had gone through TechStars and Troy was a seed investor. He spent a bunch of time with me and David and suggested we start a TechStars Chicago. At the time, we weren’t ready to scale TechStars beyond Boulder, as we were obsessively focused at the time on getting things right and really working in Boulder before we tried to do a TechStars in another city. But we encouraged Troy and Sam to do their own Chicago accelerator, which became Excelerate Labs. David was a formal advisor, we both were mentors, and Troy and Sam did an outstanding job of picking our brains as they created Excelerate.

I remember showing up on one of the first days of the Excelerate program to do a mentor talk and Sam said “I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing but this is going to be awesome!” It turned out he did, and it was, and Excelerate quickly became one of the best accelerators in the world.

Last fall when I was in Chicago for the Startup America Partnership regional meeting, I had lunch with Troy and asked him if he’d consider joining forces with us. Up to this point, we hadn’t expanded into a new city with another program – the TechStars programs in Boston, Seattle, and New York were created from scratch. And our vertical and powered by programs – Cloud (in San Antonio with Rackspace), Microsoft Accelerator (in Seattle with Microsoft) and Nike Accelerator (in Portland with Nike) were also started from scratch. We wanted to explore expanding by partnering with existing accelerators and based on the relationships, superb quality of Excelerate, and amazing Chicago startup community, we felt like Chicago was at the top of the list for doing this.

Fortunately, Troy, Sam, Nick, and Adam agreed and a few months later we are psyched to launch TechStars Chicago and welcome them to the TechStars family. Excelerate Labs is now TechStars Chicago. Apply today.

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Eugene Chung – New TechStars NY Managing Director

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Over at the TechStars blog today, David Cohen introduced the new Managing Director for TechStars in New York, Eugene Chung.

Thirty-five great candidates were interviewed for this position; the only offer we extended was to Eugene. His background includes NY-area investments BuzzFeed and Bedrocket while he was at New Enterprise Associates. Prior to that, he worked  at Warbug Pincus and Morgan Stanley. We were looking for deep competence and culture fit with TechStars and we found it with Eugene.

It’s been amazing to me to see TechStars NY grow since David Cohen and David Tisch launched it in the Winter of 2011. Tisch provided amazing leadership over the three programs, helping launch 36 new companies, of which 1 has been acquired, 2 have failed, and 33 have gone on to raise around $50m and employ over 200 people. The NY startup community has been awesome with engagement from over 75 mentors. And as the NY entrepreneurship scene has exploded during this time, it’s been fun to be part of it with both TechStars and our investments in companies such as MakerBot, Medialets, AdMeld (now Google), CrowdTap, Organic Motion, Jirafe, Next Big Sound (which was part of TechStars Boulder Summer 2009) and SideTour (which was part of the second TechStars Summer 2011 program).

Nicole Glaros is serving as Interim MD and will be based with Eugene in NYC during this year’s program. David Cohen will  be present as well, helping get Eugene up to speed. I”m also going to be spending a week at TechStars NY during the program from April 15 to April 19.

Eugene – welcome to TechStars. I’m psyched to have you as part of the team!

Less Than a Week Left to Apply to the Nike+ Accelerator

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Nike AcceleratorIf you’re working on a quantified self product or are part of a startup that would benefit from integration with Nike+, you have less than a week left to apply to the Nike+ Accelerator, powered by TechStars (deadline is February 3rd). If accepted, you will receive $20,000 in seed funding and support from TechStars, and mentorship from leaders within TechStars and Nike.

The program begins in Portland on March 18th and will be led by Managing Director Dylan Boyd and TechStars is the investor in your company. Nike offers mentors, executives, technology, access to the developer portal, API, and more.

Don’t be bashful – apply now!

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