Techstars is the worldwide network helping entrepreneurs succeed. We support founders with access to great mentors, advisors, supporters, and advice as they grow. We provide companies with two years of experience during the 13 weeks of the program and continue to support them for the lifetime of the business.
Ultimately, we help startups round off the rough edges they have, make critical decisions, and put the building blocks in place to grow in scale. We pride ourselves on the network of over 2,500 companies that we’ve backed, as well as thousands of mentors and investors who support startups on their journey to success.
What kind of startups stand out in the application process for the Techstars London Accelerator?
For me, what is really exciting is meeting a company with a strong market-founder fit. I’m interested when someone says “I’ve had this problem for years and I’m going to solve it by creating this solution”.
Kate Boyle, the founder of Banjo Robinson and 2019 London Techstars alum, is a prime example of this. Before starting Banjo Robinson, she was a scriptwriter in Hollywood and whilst in LA, she wrote to her friends’ children in the UK to re-engage them in the magic of storytelling. Having a background in scriptwriting was one thing, but the experience of executing an idea and seeing the joy and success it brought to people was another. That to me is one of the really critical things.
If startups have an understanding of the problem they’re trying to solve, or insights into the market, that jumps off the page. Momentum is also vital; are user numbers growing, are you doing lots of customer discovery interviews and pivoting the business? Feeling like the wheels are already on the bus is a really strong signal for us. If things are already rolling, we can help you get to the destination faster.
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What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help or tell someone about your business idea. One of the biggest mistakes founders make is assuming if they tell someone their idea, that person will run off and steal it. Business is about execution – not ideas, so talk to people, get feedback and don’t be afraid to ask for help. You’ll be amazed at what you get back.
What can we hope to see from Techstars in the future?
We have consistently expanded the number of founders we’ve backed. At first, we were investing in 60-70 companies yearly. We’re now investing in nearly 500 companies a year – all of which have seen substantial growth.
Techstars started in the US and Europe, but now have accelerators in Africa, as well as a presence in Asia, the Middle East and Australia. You can expect more ways to support founders in more geographies across the world and we’re really excited to do that. The talent is evenly distributed but sadly the opportunity and capital is not. Supporting the founders in regions that are underserved is a massive opportunity.