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The roster at TechStars continues to grow with awesome people. In the past month, TechStars has announced Mark Solon as a general partner, Luke Beatty as managing director for Boulder and Ari Newman as Network Catalyst. I’m proud to claim all three as close colleagues.
Mark is a long time friend – we’ve invested in a number of companies together over the years including SendGrid, Orbotix, and Lijit. He’s been involved as a mentor to TechStars since the beginning and his endless positive energy and attitude was a huge inspiration for my Boulder Thesis. When he announced that he wasn’t raising another fund at Highway 12 Ventures, David Cohen started talking to him about taking a more active role with TechStars. Voila!
Luke Beatty was the founder of Associated Content (sold to Yahoo in 2010) and has mentored the Boulder program for years. I fondly remember a long conversation at one of the first events we were at together at a number of years ago where I keynoted some Colorado industry event either right before or right after Tim Armstrong. Luke brings an enormous amount of entrepreneurial experience, as well as mentor experience, to the TechStars Boulder program.
Ari was a part of the first TechStars program all the way back in 2007 and his company, Filtrbox, was acquired by Jive Software several years ago. They were the fourth TechStars company to have a positive exit (of 18 to date now). Ari is perfectly positioned to make introductions and facilitate action across our growing group of alumni.
We’ve got a lot of things planned for 2013, including more “powered by TechStars” programs like the one we just announced with Nike, additional TechStars cities, and a few completely new things we are going to try.
For everyone who had been involved in some way along the journey since we started TechStars in 2006, thank you. You are dynamite. And welcome Mark, Luke, and Ari to the full-time team!
When we started TechStars in 2006, one of our premises was to help build a strong startup community in Boulder. Our experience with TechStars – starting in Boulder, but expanding to Boston, Seattle, and New York – helped us understand not just TechStars’ role and impact on a startup community, but what drives startup communities over the long term. We’ve seen this dramatically accelerator around the world through the Global Accelerator Network and when I wrote Startup Communities: Building a Startup Ecosystem in Your City, much of what I used as the basis for the Boulder Thesis came from my experiences here.
Several years ago David Cohen, Jason Mendelson, and I started talking about the idea that the same principles of an accelerator model could apply to specific vertical markets or companies. TechStars Cloud, which is about to start it’s second program, was our first experiment with this. The first year was a great success, we learned a lot from it, and applied much of our learning to our first “powered by TechStars” accelerator that we did with Microsoft.
Today, Nike announced their first Nike+ Accelerator program, powered by TechStars. Ten companies will participate in a three-month, mentorship-driven program. The technology focus will be about leveraging the success of the Nike+ FuelBand, Nike+ Running and NikeFuel to support digital innovation. Based in Portland, the program is just a short drive away from Nike World Headquarters. will begin in March of 2013 and conclude in June with two investor demo days; one in Portland and one in Silicon Valley.
I’m an avid marathoner and completely obsessed with the idea of instrumenting myself to track extensive data about my health and fitness. I also believe that the best way to accelerate core technologies like what Nike has worked on is to build significant startup communities around their core products and technologies. That’s what the goal of the Nike+ Accelerator program is.
I’m excited to join the likes of Nike’s Vice President of Digital Sport, Stefan Olander, Naveen Selvadurai, co-founder of Foursquare, and Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Body and all around awesome entrepreneur, as a mentor in the program.
With over 15 successful programs under our belt and over 200 companies having gone through a TechStars program, TechStars is powering the accelerator for Nike and we’re already looking forward to the outcome of combining our own firsthand knowledge in the setting of an impressive organization. To apply, go to www.nikeaccelerator.com for details and applications. The application deadline is February 3rd, 2013. Accepted companies will be notified in late February.
If you are a startup around digital health, human instrumentation, and the quantified-self, apply now to be part of the program. I look forward to meeting you!
This week’s The Founders is awesome. It reminds us that there are real people and real families behind every startup. I’ve experienced this over and over again in my 17 years in Boulder and it’s reflected in both the Startup Communities book that is out and the Startup Life book that Amy and I are in the final copyedit phase of and will be out by January.
Take a few minute break from your day to enjoy the lives of some great entrepreneurs in a dynamite startup community that are part of an extended family that I’m proud to be associated with.
During the last few days in Kentucky I was asked some version of the question “how do I get started” a few times. It was usually in the context of “should I write a plan first” or “should I design a full system.” Sometimes it was in the context of “I’m having trouble raising money on my idea.” My answer was some permutation of “just get started, create something, and ship it” which of course could be simplified to “build it.”
Coincidentally The Founders – Episode 6 is titled Build It. I watched it just now and smiled – I could have just pointed some of the people at it. Well – I’ll do that now. Enjoy something on TV – at least TechStars.tv – other than cartoons and politics today.
Are you watching The Founders Season 3 on TechStars.TV? If not, why not? Episode 2 (and Go!) is below – it echoes the points made yesterday in my post If You Can’t Explain What You Do In A Paragraph, You’ve Got A Problem.
There’s a cameo from my dad (Stan Feld) at 2:05. See – even dad’s care about TechStars. In addition to seeing Stan, you get to learn what a 10:10 meeting is. And you get to see the teams struggle with their shitty elevator pitches at the very beginning of the program.
Early this morning I got a note from Allen Morgan pointing to a blog he wrote titled Entrepreneurs: For Venture Capital Pitches, Say What Your Startup “Does” not What It “Is”. It nicely reinforces the point that active voice wins over passive voice. As Allen says at the end, “Be active, not passive. Passive puts audiences to sleep; not good in a pitch where you’re asking for money.”