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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!