Wow, I can’t believe it’s been another year. Kicking off this year marks my 5th program as Managing Director of Techstars Austin and the 10th (yes 10th) program in Austin since 2013. We have a very exciting program ahead of us and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the incoming class. This year we have five companies from Austin and a sixth from Dallas – so, Texas is very well represented. The other four companies hail from New York, Florida, Ohio and we have one international company from India!
We love experimenting in the Austin program and are constantly figuring out how to optimize and continually provide better and better experiences for our founders. This year we’ll be experimenting with two new tools. The first is Maslo which is a “Smart Companion for Coaches”, and a Techstars LA alumni. Our goal here is to enhance the mentor/company experience. The other new tool is a new product from our portfolio company, WriterDuet. We will also be beta testing Flexdocs which is an absolutely incredible collaboration tool for businesses. I’ve been using it for a while and it blows Google docs away (by an order of magnitude).
Specific to the program, there is one change and one major enhancement. The change is that we shifted the program dates back to start on December 2nd and end on March 11th. We did this because SXSW runs in March and historically it occurred in the middle of the program. For a while I thought this was a good thing, but it turns out it is more of a distraction and the companies weren’t ready for it. With our new program schedule, this year’s companies will be fresh off Demo Day and ready to take SXSW by storm.
And finally, the enhancement. We’ve been tweaking programming in Austin for the past 5 years and in the past 2 programs have settled on a first week we love! And while it’s packed, the companies love it too. In our first week of program we deliver 5 foundational workshops in a progression which are intended to give our companies all the framework they need to build and grow amazing businesses. The 5 workshops, in order, are 1) Finding your W3 (road to product market fit) 2) Finding your Revenue Formula (testing your business model) 3) Product Prioritization (taking the work from the first 2 workshops and coming up with a product plan 4) Building a Metrics Driven Business (essentially a KPI workshop but based on the data you’ve built to date) and 5) Building and running your business with a Financial Model. We’ve tested all these pieces over the last few years and the consensus is we’re onto something amazing – and spoiler alert – we’re also turning it into a book which we hope to hit the shelves in fall 2020.
And with that, I present to you the Techstars Austin 2020 class:
Coral Gables, FL
8base is a Backend-as-a-Service that combines computing, application services and integrations for building SaaS and market-facing applications.
Aquifer Motion is SaaS platform that combines augmented reality and machine learning to make professional 3D animation accessible for all creators.
Binaize is a network intelligence software product for Industrial IoT that helps minimize machine downtime and increase the operational efficiency of industrial control systems.
Boutiq uses data science to buy and manage luxury vacation rentals.
Crave is a SaaS platform purpose-built to enhance the fitting rooms of premium enterprise retailers with modern digital experiences and analytics to optimize conversion opportunities.
EarBuds allows people to listen along LIVE with their favorite music curators in key moments.
Homebuyer is a lead nurture system for mortgage lenders that reduces customer acquisition costs and increases per-loan profits.
Jolly is a professional social network for the gig economy, where freelancers and businesses connect to grow their networks, work together freely and build their reputations.
Propertymate is SaaS platform that allows real estate agents to predict which property is most likely to be purchased by a client and helps to make deals within a brokerage or our network.
SURVIVR is a VR training platform to help first responders improve decision-making and response times.
We are beyond excited to announce Techstars Class 155 as part of the 2019 Techstars Austin program.
We kicked off this week (January 22nd) and we are looking forward to three months of intense business building culminating with our Demo Day on April 10 and Investor week April 15–17.
This year’s class is made up of companies from Los Angeles, CA, Chattanooga, TN, Toronto, Canada, Houston, TX, and of course Austin, TX.
Techstars is the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. Our one and only goal is to support and help grow these incredible companies.
I would like to thank our mentors, partners, portfolio, and family for their generous support.
Without further ado, here are the Techstars Austin 2019 companies:
CountertopSmart (Austin, TX) – CountertopSmart is an online marketplace that allows homeowners and construction trade professionals access to a little-known, secondary market of countertop remnants, the remaining unused portions of full stone slabs. Consumers use Countertop Smart to buy stone in smarter quantities, typically saving between 60%-80% on a broader design selection.
CPRWrap (Chattanooga, TN) – CPRWrap is a product that provides a CPR template and mouth piece so bystanders can successfully provide emergency CPR.
Dearduck (Houston, TX) – Dearduck provides retailers with tailored recommendations for consumers searching for gifts for another person, increasing the accuracy of buying for others.
Knocki (Austin, TX) – Knocki makes the smart home easier to use by transforming a surface into a control interface. With Knocki installed, any wall or table becomes a remote control with a few taps. Users no longer need to open apps or use voice control to activate their smart home devices.
Livsn (Fayetteville, AR) – Livsn creates durable, innovative, and high-quality outdoor apparel created with sustainable materials that stand the test of time.
Pass It Down (Chattanooga, TN) – Pass It Down is a digital storytelling platform that allows museums, libraries, and companies to showcase their history and culture.
Slice of Sauce (Los Angeles, CA) – Slice of Sauce sells individually-wrapped condiment slices that are non-GMO, all-natural, gluten-free, and packed with all of the flavor of a sauce.
SuccessionMatching (Saskatchewan, Canada) – SuccessionMatching connects small business owners that want to transition out of their businesses with resources, potential buyers, and other succession planning professionals.
Woorly (Chattanooga, TN) – Woorly is a mobile app that allows companies to reward customers that recommend their products and services to friends and family and earn rewards.
It’s almost time to kick off another year at SXSW in Austin! The local Techstars team is excited to welcome the Techstars worldwide network and attendees from around the globe to our city.
Here is a quick rundown of where to find Techstars at SXSW:
Wednesday, March 7th
11:30 AM – 12 PM – From Dorm Room to Board Room
Presented by Blackstone Charitable Foundation: In an increasingly competitive landscape, universities strive to provide students with meaningful experiential education opportunities in entrepreneurship and beyond to ensure they are best prepared to meet workforce demands. Blackstone Launchpad and Techstars will discuss how best to support and scale experiential education programs to help students create their own opportunities, build strong networks, and create impact benefitting the institution, and the wider community.
The Blackstone Charitable Foundation and Techstars invites you to join us for a reception celebrating student entrepreneurship in Texas. The event will include a pitch competition featuring student entrepreneurs from Texas A&M, UT Austin, and UT Dallas.
Saturday, March 10th
9 AM – 5 PM Techstars Lounge
The Techstars Austin program is opening our doors to founders, mentors, community leaders, staff and partners who are visiting during SXSW. We’ll have snacks throughout the day. Come by to hang out, fuel up, and take meetings. Thank you so much to Samsung NEXT for partnering with us on the lounge!
10 AM – 12 PM Female Founders Brunch – Let’s Talk Funding
Please join us at the Techstars and Samsung NEXT Lounge for a female founders brunch where we will discuss funding opportunities and challenges with VCs. Panelists include Maya Baratz, Managing Director at Techstars, Suzy Ryoo, Venture Partner at Atom Factory & Cross Culture Ventures, Nicole Quinn, Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, Katherine Cheun, Managing Director at Open Road Holdings, and Sutian Dong, Partner at Female Founders Fund.
2 PM Powered by – Alumni of Techstars Accelerator
Year after year, SXSW attendees return to the Comcast Social Media Lounge to connect, recharge, and learn about the latest in innovation, technology, entertainment, product and more. Comcast’s compelling panel discussions with industry experts and influencers are the highlight and centerpiece of the lounge. Maya Baratz (Managing Director of Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, Powered by Techstars) will be moderating a panel of Techstars alumni for an engaging discussion about Techstars. Panelists include Chris Nickless of Vilpsy, James Meier of Synervoz Communications Inc, Meridith Unger of Nix, Sarah Adler of Spoon University, and Dawn Dickson of PopCom.
Sunday, March 11th
11-11:45 AM Get Funded – How to Pitch
Join Maya Baratz, Managing Director Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, Powered by Techstars, to learn how to craft a compelling pitch for investors that will help your company get funded. This session will focus on teaching participants how to structure their pitch, how to build a complementary deck, and how to deliver the pitch to get the right result.
11 AM-5 PM YurHouse powered by Samsung NEXT
The events of 2017 catalyzed a formidable movement, and it’s beginning to shift power structures across industries and behavioral norms from the ground floor to the C-suite. Women are speaking truth and being heard, from the gilded stage of the Golden Globe Awards to newsrooms to dinner-table conversations. Game-changing firms KITE & DFlash want to build on this movement’s momentum and do our part to change the status quo in tech.
With our unique position at the intersection of Enterprise+Startups, Brands & Culture, we asked ourselves, “What if we can help address both power/access and pipeline issues? What if we can shine a light on great female founders and bring together the broader ecosystem to address the power/access challenge together?” This provocation has prompted us to create an event that will feature 100% women speakers/presenters, office hours hosted by female VCs and executives, and a gathering place for people from across the tech industry. Maya Baratz of Techstars will be in attendance.
For the first time during SXSW 2018, YurHouse by DFlash & KITE will be the go-to destination for SXSW Interactive attendees seeking welcome, innovative & inclusive programming, podcasts, startup competitions, networking and a quiet place to work and recharge. Everything we do will embody our mission: Our house is YurHouse.
Monday, March 12th
The future of tech is every color, gender, belief, origin, and community. The future of tech is accessible, flexible, and inclusive. To spread this message at SXSW and beyond, Capital Factory is hosting a Pitch Competition for Underrepresented Founders in collaboration with the AWS Startup Team and AWS We Power Tech. Join judges Arlan Hamilton, Founder & Managing Director @ Backstage Capital, Dana Callender, Co-founder & Chief Operations Officer @ DivInc, Lara Jeremko, Founder & Managing Partner @ Beyond Ventures, Roger Chen, Principal @ Silverton Partners, Zain Gulamali, Manager @ Amazon Alexa Fund, and Zoe Schlag, Managing Director @ Techstars Impact to cheer on participating companies.
We are thrilled to announce the ten companies for Techstars Austin 2018 Accelerator. This year’s class features a diverse set of companies with unbelievable founders who have already gained significant traction.
We kick off the accelerator on January 22nd in our new offices at 220 S Congress Avenue (right on Lady Bird Lake and South Congress Avenue – come say hi!) and wrap up with Demo Day on April 20th. This is the sixth program in Austin, and we’re honored to be supported by an incredible alumni and mentor community.
We have six companies from the Carolinas and four from here in Austin. We are also really proud to have seven companies led by minority and female founders. All of these companies are tackling interesting problems, and joining Techstars Austin to focus on growth of their business.
Without further ado, here are the ten companies in Techstars Austin Accelerator Class of 2018:
After an amazing thirteen weeks, we are ecstatic to introduce the ten companies that have gone through Techstars Austin 2017.
Our founders are tackling some of the most compelling problems in their industries, and we couldn’t be more proud of what they’ve accomplished in a few short months and are equally excited about where they’re going to be in the future.
Our Austin 2017 program consists of four internationally based companies hailing from: France, Canada, Uruguay, and Colombia, companies from Arizona, North Carolina, three companies founded and based here in Austin, and one that has founders in both Silicon Valley and in Austin.
We are also really proud to have six companies lead by minority and female founders.
Our class accomplished a huge amount in a short time including closing three large seed rounds, hiring teams of talent, and growing revenues exponentially.
Without further ado, here is the Techstars Austin Accelerator Spring 2017 class:
Babbler (Paris, France)
Hannah Oiknine (CEO, Founder), Sarah Azan (COO, Founder)
CityCop (Montevideo, Uruguay)
Nadim Curi (CEO, Founder), Marcelo Dotti (CTO, Founder)
CityCop is a social platform for community watch that enables you to fight crime and protect your loved ones by actively reporting crimes in your community and the areas you care about. Contact them and watch their pitch.
Invomatic (Bogotá, Colombia)
Javier Martínez S. (CEO, Founder), Mauricio David (CTO, Founder)
Nukern (Montreal, Canada)
Phil Rivard (CEO, Founder)
Prospectify (Scottsdale, Arizona)
Noah Spirakus (CEO, Founder), Matt Ekstrom (CRO, Founder)
A platform that uses deep tech, machine learning and thousands of data points to provide B2B sales people with exactly the right leads at the moment their prospects are most likely to buy. Contact them and watch their pitch.
ScaleFactor (Austin, Texas)
Kurt Rathmann (CEO, Founder), Corey Bach (CFO, Founder)
Super (Palo Alto, California and Austin, Texas)
Chris Couhault (CEO, Founder), David Lemphers (CTO, Founder)
The Wed Clique (Charlotte, North Carolina)
Lisa Ganderson (CEO, Founder), Rachael Classi (COO, Founder)
ThreatCare (Austin, Texas)
Marcus Carey (CEO, Founder)
WriterDuet (Austin, Texas)
Guy Goldstein (CEO, Founder)
Special thanks to our mentors, investors and network of advocates
Our teams wouldn’t be where they are today without the support and care from our network. Our mentors’ engagement with founders has been constant and incredible. We all appreciate everything they’ve done for our program and companies.
What Founders Learned During the Program
“We’ve learned how valuable it is to be a metrics-driven company and the importance of over-communicating (well), with our mentors, investors, customers, and especially as a team. Building a company is hard; don’t go at it alone, leverage people with more experience that have already gone down that path as much as you can.” – Javier Martinez, CEO of AppFlow
“Techstars helped us get to the next level: becoming a company that leverages data to drive decision-making and a company that can structure processes around things that matter most. We learned how to be extremely focused on specific goals. We came in with assumptions and we left with convictions. Collaborating with talented people allowed us to learn new things about our own business every single day while validating a business opportunity that we no longer have any doubts about. It was very easy to learn from them because of smart programming and organization. It really saved us a lot of time, and nothing is more valuable than time when you’re a startup!” – Hannah Oiknine, CEO of Babbler
“There are a lot of advices, including a lot of bad ones. Nobody knows your company as you do, and remember it’s your company so you call the shots. At the end, what will make the difference is a strong and powerful vision, and the hustle with absolute conviction towards it.” – Nadim Curi, CEO of CityCop
“Techstars is like the most amazing adoptive family a company could wish for. Everyone, including alumnus, mentors, associates and directors, go out of their way to help. Whatever happened during our journey, we knew we could always count on the support of our peers. They helped us building a stronger company, be better founders and all-around human beings. We’re looking forward to the day we’ll be able to give back. We couldn’t be prouder to wear that logo on our backs everyday!” – Philippe Rivard, CEO of Nukern
“Techstars gave us the structure to expedite a year’s worth of learning and development into only 3 months. We emerged with a network that rivals most people’s lifetimes and the knowledge distilled from thousands successes and failures of those mentors and advisors we worked with. Not a doubt in my mind it was the best decision for me and our company.” – Noah Spirakus, CEO of Prospectify
“I learned so much during the first month of Techstars alone that it more than paid back the exchange in equity. Learning to seek feedback from smart and proven mentors, learning how to carefully reflect on that feedback, and learning how to focus on what matters most for the business has improved our potential.” – Chris Couhault, CEO of Super
“I learned to articulate what we do not in product features but the benefits that we provide to the customer. I retrained my entire organization around this concept.” – Kurt Rathmann, CEO of ScaleFactor
“There is a difference between vanity metrics and the indicators that actually tell you if you have a business. Learn what metrics are most important to your business and obsess over them.” – Lisa Ganderson, CEO of The Wed Clique
“I am the master of my own destiny.” – Marcus Carey, CEO of Threatcare
“We learned how to effectively use metrics. Coming into Techstars, we made decisions based on customer feedback and our intuition, which was working well for us. But a few sessions into the weekly KPI meetings we started seriously evaluating metrics, and the results were immediate. Thanks to the Techstars staff and companies around us, our new metrics-driven approach more than doubled key conversion rates. This mindset has impacted how we communicate and evaluate every problem. It’s become impossible to imagine making decisions any other way.” – Guy Goldstein, CEO of WriterDuet
GOOD LUCK, TECHSTARS AUSTIN ACCELERATOR CLASS OF SPRING 2017!
We are excited to announce the companies joining Techstars for our 2016 program in Austin! The program kicks off on February 15th and we are looking forward to three months of awesomeness with 10 great companies. Demo Day is scheduled for May 19th, so save the date! More info to come soon.
This is the fourth program in Austin, and we’re looking forward to an action-packed program led by a new Techstars team. We’re fortunate to have many of our past Austin alumni on the ground as well as ~100 incredible mentors. We’d like to extend a huge thank you to all of our mentors. We’re grateful for your support over the last couple of years and your continued time and guidance. We couldn’t do it without you.
Without further ado, here’s the Techstars 2016 Austin class!
|AUTHORS.me (Austin, TX)
AUTHORS.me is revolutionizing the publishing industry where book deals are made.
|Bamba Group (Toronto, Canada & Nairobi, Kenya)
Bamba is a web-based data collection tool that pays individuals to submit data over SMS, Mobile & Web.
|CarServ (Austin, TX)
Carserv is a platform that transforms communication and workflow in the automotive repair industry.
|Casabots (San Jose, CA)
Casabots is a general-purpose cooking robot meant for restaurants.
| FieldVine (Myrtle Beach, SC)
FieldVine is a task management tool that helps communication and compliance between contractors and property managers.
|The Helper Bees (Georgetown, TX)
The Helper Bees connects seniors with local helpers to assist with a variety of tasks within their home.
| Kandid.ly (Austin, TX)
Kandid.ly empowers semi-professional photographers to provide photography services.
|PenPal Schools (Austin, TX)
PenPal Schools connects people from around the world to learn together.
|Popup Play (Austin, TX)
PopUp Play creates technology for kids that blends virtual world creativity and real world play.
|Remidi (Turin, Italy & Austin, TX)
Remidi is the first wearable musical instrument.