One week ago, twenty-one startup founders made their way to San Diego, CA to spend a few days together working by the beach before the official start of the 2020 Techstars Anywhere accelerator today. They are nomads and remote workers, finance and management experts, farmers and manufacturers, men and women, some are under 30, some are over 30. But the thing they all have in common is that they’re building kick-ass companies.
Techstars Anywhere is a mostly remote accelerator. To participate, founders do not need to relocate their businesses. Instead, our class will meet up together in San Diego, Boulder, CO, and New York, NY over the course of the three months. The rest of the time, they’ll remotely tap into a group of world-class mentors and the rest of the Techstars worldwide network from places like Orlando, Washington, D.C., San Diego, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Louisville, and even one company whose co-founders are nomadic #vanlifers who could theoretically be…anywhere.
Over the next 13 weeks the founders and their mentors will work together to build enduring, scalable startups. If you’re an investor who would like to follow the class’ progress along the way, or request access to our virtual demo day in April, email me and I’ll get you connected.
An exceptional medicine experience that doesn’t compromise on quality, access, or cost.
The Crafter’s Box
An online alternative to traditional arts & crafts hobby stores focused on sophisticated digital offerings, curated kits of tools & materials, and replenishment crafting supplies for the modern maker.
Online financial forecasting to help CEOs confidently forecast cash flows.
Making it easier and more affordable to buy good food from good farmers.
AI-powered global remote network empowering top talent to work remotely anywhere in the world, enabling diversity and economic inclusion.
Symba is cultivating world-class internship experiences.
Marketplace connecting new parents with specialty baby services.
The Vanlife App by Sekr
Find free campsites, facilities, gatherings and people nearby.
Workfrom is where remote workers gain local community, and is your best resource to discover daily workspaces worldwide.
Team relationship management software.
Join us for an online Ask Me Anything session to learn more about the program and hear from the team!
Techstars Anywhere is Techstars’ (mostly) virtual accelerator. Over the course of the past 13 years, Techstars has invested in over 1900 companies and met with thousands of founders. For many founders, relocating for an accelerator just isn’t feasible. Maybe they have customers. Maybe they have employees. Maybe they are building something and need to be in their lab. Maybe they have families. We believe that great founders can start anywhere and for founders who can’t (or shouldn’t) relocate, Techstars Anywhere is the best accelerator on the planet.
For the majority of the thirteen-week mentorship-driven accelerator program, founders work from their home,office, local co-working space, lab, or wherever they usually work from. Three times during the program we convene in cities across the United States. Previously we’ve met in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boulder, and New York. While we’re on the road, founders get to know and support each other, and immerse themselves in the local alumni, mentor, and investor networks.
While Techstars Anywhere is virtual, founders participate in workshops, mentor sessions, meetings, and discussions that are scheduled around the Mountain Time zone in the US. For that reason, Techstars Anywhere is best for companies working between Pacific and Eastern US time zones.
Techstars Anywhere invests in founders building companies across a variety of industries — consumer or enterprise software, security, impact companies, hardware, IoT, and robotics. All companies are welcome to apply. Past companies to have gone through Techstars Anywhere include Smallhold, Qeepsake, Goodr, Trust & Will, DNSFilter, Lynq, Flikshop, Bloominous, Civic Eagle, Speedwell & Yarrow, and Parabol.
This year, we’re especially interested to meet companies building in the future of work space. If you’re thinking about what work looks like in the future–distributed work, culture building, HR and benefits, nomadism, urbanism, VR, communication tools, management tools, or anything else that will shape the way people work (and live)–we’d like to meet you.
If you’d like to apply for an office hours meeting to talk about your company or ask questions about Techstars Anywhere, you can do that here. Unfortunately, we have a limited number of available slots and won’t be able to meet with everyone.
We will also be offering a series of online info sessions that are open to everyone. You can RSVP for our first one, scheduled for July 31st @ 2pm PDT, HERE.
For more updates and information, check back here or follow @techstars on Twitter.
Great founders come from Anywhere. We’re excited to meet you!
Techstars Anywhere is our only virtual accelerator program. By not requiring founders to relocate to a new city or coworking space, Techstars Anywhere is one of the most accessible accelerators in the world. At Techstars we are proud to offer world class founders the opportunity to join the Techstars worldwide network regardless of their ability to relocate for an accelerator.
The 2019 class of Techstars Anywhere represented exactly that – driven and exceptional founders whose circumstances hindered their ability to relocate for a traditional 13-week Techstars accelerator program. Six of the 10 teams included at least one working parent-one of whom was even pregnant with twins. One company was a later stage solo founder with 15 employees. Another company was founded by military veterans, both with kids at home. Six of the companies are remote first organizations. Coincidentally, one company even makes software for remote team meetings that we used to run our program meetings.
Techstars Anywhere met in person three times over the course of this year’s program. We started the program in Los Angeles, then met mid-program in Boulder, CO, and for the final week of the program we were in Brooklyn, NY. In between, the founders were at home in San Diego, Los Angeles, Seattle, Columbus, OH, Atlanta, Washington, DC, Minneapolis, Denver, San Francisco, New York, and Newark, NJ.
I always say that there are two steps to a great pitch. Step 1: Build a great business. Step 2: Tell people about it. Over the past 13 weeks this class of 10 incredible companies have been perfecting that first step with the invaluable contributions of an incredible group of #givefirst mentors.
Today, I’m excited to share the 10 companies.
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Co-founder and CEO, Brad Matthews, firstname.lastname@example.org
We use automation & workflow management to help organizations manage government policy. Customers include Comcast and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
Co-founder and CEO, Damola Ogundipe, email@example.com
Cloud platform for augmented reality (AR) apps that provides tools & server-side infrastructure to help developers and companies quickly build and deploy AR applications and content.
Co-founder and CEO, Alon Grinshpoon, alon@echoAR.xyz
A lending platform connecting revenue-generating, women-led businesses with up to $250K in non-dilutive capital while fueling the growth of women-led businesses.
Founder and CEO, Dr. Roshawnna Novellus, firstname.lastname@example.org
The first exhibitor management platform and sponsorship marketplace for organizers of live events like the Los Angeles Marathon.
Co-founder and CEO, Michael Bleau, email@example.com
Next generation platforms and tools for gamers and gaming content creators. Introducing Streambeing, the first Voice Powered AI assistant for Twitch live streamers.
Co-founder and CEO, Taseen Peterson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Enabling enterprises to operate teams across time zones by running incredible meetings, building a timeline of important decisions, and generating insightful reports for managers.
Co-founder and CEO, Jordan Husney, email@example.com
Connecting homeowners to home service pros via live video for real time assistance with troubleshooting, bidding, quality assurance and DIY support from any mobile device.
Co-founder and CEO, Todd Forsman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Speedwell & Yarrow helps companies retain top talent and increase diversity with a smart, scalable, family concierge to help high-potential talent manage the craziness of their lives.
Co-founder and CEO, Lindsey Michaelides, email@example.com
Bloominous is the nation’s largest and fastest growing wedding floral brand. To view the Bloominous pitch video, please contact Richard directly.
Founder and CEO, Richard Lim, firstname.lastname@example.org
Our founders are excited to hear from you! Please feel free to reach out to any of them directly. You can also email me at email@example.com with any questions about Techstars Anywhere or any of the companies from our 2019 class.
One of the themes we’ve seen from 12 years of running Techstars mentorship-driven accelerators around the world is that there are a lot of founders who for whatever reason can’t—or shouldn’t—relocate for three months to participate in an accelerator. Sometimes they have families, sometimes they have employees, sometimes they have customers. We asked ourselves: Can we provide them with a world class Techstars accelerator experience without making them move?
Techstars Anywhere Accelerator is our (mostly) remote accelerator program, delivered using technology and a bit of travel so that founders can continue to build their businesses from anywhere without needing to relocate to join a Techstars mentorship-driven accelerator program. The goal of the Techstars Anywhere Accelerator is to create an accessible Techstars accelerator experience for great founders—anywhere.
Today, I’m excited to announce the launch of the third class of Techstars Anywhere Accelerator, Techstars Class 158. This year, our program is focused on consumer and B2B technology companies working in the United States.
We are extraordinarily proud to have a fantastic 2019 class with founders from diverse backgrounds and locations. While a few founders come from startup hubs like New York, Los Angeles, or San Francisco, we also have founders building businesses in Columbus, OH, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Minneapolis, San Diego, Denver, Newark, NJ, and Seattle, and six of our startups are remote-first companies with teams distributed across multiple cities. There’s also a great deal of diversity across the group with six of the companies having at least one co-founder from a historically underrepresented group in tech. Over a third of our founders are women, and over a third are African American. Two founders are Marine Corps veterans (Oorah!). And there are plenty of parents in the class, including a first time dad to a five month old baby girl and one co-founder currently pregnant with twins, due just after Demo Day. By providing broader accessibility to the Techstars network, Techstars Anywhere helps great entrepreneurs start and build great companies just about anywhere.
I’d like to give special thanks to our mentors and partners who make Techstars Anywhere Accelerator possible, and a shout out to our accelerator team, Program Manager Kendra Dixon, and Operations Associate Leandro Jaime.
By making Techstars more accessible, we’re proud to be able to create a world class accelerator experience for world class founders who may not otherwise have had the opportunity.
Here are the companies in Techstars Class 158:
This summer Techstars Anywhere has spent some time on the road meeting founders in Portland, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, and San Diego, and Washington DC. But we know that part of what makes Techstars Anywhere great is that you don’t have to be in any particular city to participate. So we’re hosting two upcoming online info sessions to provide an overview of the Techstars Anywhere Accelerator and answer any questions you may have about how Techstars’ only virtual accelerator works.
Techstars Anywhere is our (mostly) virtual accelerator. We say (mostly) because we do get together in person three times during the program. The rest is done online using video conferencing and other tools to deliver a full world class accelerator experience. The program is built on the same platform as every Techstars mentorship-driven accelerator program, features an amazing group of mentors, provides full access to the Techstars network, and has the same investment as all Techstars accelerators. Because of the nature of the program, Techstars Anywhere is best suited to teams working in time zones across the continental United States.
Techstars Anywhere is a great option for founders who are building great companies in markets where access to resources from outside their region could be a game changer, but they either can’t (or shouldn’t) move to a new city for 13 weeks. Maybe you’ve got a team of employees that you can’t leave. Maybe you’ve got customers that rely on you to be there for them. Maybe you’ve got a family. We believe that great founders can come from anywhere, and we’re here to support those founders as only Techstars can.
Please join us for these online info sessions. We also have a limited number of office hours appointments available. You can apply for office hours here.
Keep building, and Do More Faster!
The first full class of Techstars Anywhere graduated during our Virtual Demo Day event this month. We are proud of the incredible progress that our founders have made. At Techstars, we believe that great companies can and will be built anywhere in the world. For Techstars Anywhere, we don’t ask the companies to come to us, we go to them. By using technology, the Techstars global network and a bit of travel, we invest in and deliver the Techstars Mentorship-driven Accelerator program to founders, anywhere.
Techstars Anywhere opened applications last summer and we got a historical number of applicants. We looked at thousands of companies and meet hundreds of founders to select this class of 10. Today, we would like to share some of the lessons and results of running this virtual program.
Mentor Network Anywhere
The opportunity is huge — by being virtual there are no geographic constraints which allows us to bring the global Techstars network to founders no matter where they are.
During the last three months, our founders worked closely with an incredible group of 100 mentors based all across North America. Having this global reach allowed us to provide a highly tailored mentorship approach to companies in a diverse set of technologies and across different markets.
BioInteractive Technologies for example, who’s based in Vancouver, worked closely with mentors who have deep industry insight like Tan Lee (founder of Emotiv, based in SF), strong technical expertise like Ian Bernstein (founder of Misty Robotics and Sphero, based in Boulder) and Alex Schiff (founder of Fetchnotes, now with Occipital in SF). Others, such as Lynq in NYC, and Filtered.ai in Boston, got access to markets outside their local tech communities through the relationships built with mentors based in Denver (Ben Hadley), Chicago (Alex Newman), Los Angeles (Alexa Mcculloch) and even in Kansas City (Lesa Mitchell).
Virtually Founders #domorefaster
By using technology to take the program to the companies and avoid relocation, our founders were able to keep their rhythms, working schedules and the focus they needed to bring the best to their companies. We’ve also learned that Techstars Anywhere allows a great amount of flexibility that helps our companies succeed. Jasmine Crowe, CEO of Goodr, was able to join a program session from backstage at NBCUniversal right before going live on the Harry TV Show. And Ken Carnesi, CEO of DNS Filter, traveled to trade shows and business meetings and frequently took mentor calls in airport lounges and VC office lobbies.
Travel for Strong Relationships
While most of the program was done online, it’s important to create real face to face opportunities. So for Techstars Anywhere, we travel a bit. We chose locations where Techstars has a strong network such as Los Angeles, Boulder and San Francisco. While on those trips, the founders develop strong relationships with their peers and met mentors, investors, partners and local Techstars alumni.
This year we kicked off the program in Los Angeles, where after a two day retreat in the mountains, our 30 founders started as strangers and became family. Mid-program, we all met in Boulder where the founders learned fundraising skills from David Cohen, had a unique session on Venture Deals with Seth Levine from Foundry Group, and met with local investors and some of our incredible mentors such as David Mandell, Bart Lorang and Nicole Glaros.
We spent our final week together in San Francisco where the founders met with Bay Area investors and mentors such as Zach Nies, Claus Moberg, Joshua Montgomery, Carly Gloge and Cody Simms who helped polish their pitches.
We are proud of the results
We are proud to share some of the incredible things that our founders were able to accomplish in just three months at Techstars Anywhere.
BlockCrushr Labs (from Halifax, Nova Scotia) is a a venture development studio with a focus on products and services that enable mass consumerization of blockchain enabled technology. During Techstars Anywhere, they’ve developed Groundhog, a next-generation crypto wallet and payment platform.
Filtered.ai (Boston, MA) uses AI to help teams identify, evaluate and hire the best engineers based on both technical and cultural fit. They grew 10x and signed several Fortune 100 customers.
BioInteractive Technologies (Vancouver BC and San Francisco) are the makers of TENZR, a wristband that helps people prevent and recover from hand-injuries and control the world around them using hand gestures. During Techstars Anywhere they successfully completed a pilot study proving the accuracy of their wristband in the stroke rehabilitation market and commissioned new pilots in other markets.
Lynq (New York) is a smart compass that saves lives and ensures you never lose your people, all without the need for phones, connectivity or infrastructure. During Techstars Anywhere they shipped their first product to customers, doubled B2B customers and was the subject of a formal government report citing Lynq’s impact on the location of wounded soldiers.
Goodr (Atlanta, GA) is solving the surplus food supply chain problem by making sure that companies capture the maximum value of their food donations. During Techstars Anywhere they increased their MRR by 40 percent and closed important customers such as Gate Gourmet, Ponce City Market and Concessions International.
DNSFilter (Washington DC) provides a DNS-based content filtering service, which uses machine learning to identify threats in real time. During Techstars Anywhere they doubled their MRR, closed a round of financing and acquired domain intelligence provider, Web Shrinker.
Flikshop (Washington, DC) helps families stay in touch with incarcerated loved ones by making it easy to send a security cleared postcard to anyone in any facility in the country. During Techstars Anywhere they launched Flikshop Angels that allows nonprofits and foundations to fight recidivism by connecting incarcerated people with their loved ones.
Queen of Raw (New York) is a two-sided marketplace that brings raw material back to life by giving factories that overproduce it & brands that over purchase it a place to resell it to recapture its value. During Techstars Anywhere they 10x’d sales, doubled their inventory, expanded partnerships overseas, and grew their user base by ⅓ with customers including H&M and Louis Vuitton.
StoryTap (Vancouver, BC) makes it easy for marketers to collect and socially distribute video stories at scale from real people, like product reviews, video testimonials and content stories – from any device, anywhere in the world. During Techstars Anywhere they launched a self-serve saas product, grew MRR 600% in the past month with leading brands in industries like banking, houseware, communications, and non-profits.
Trust & Will (San Diego, CA) is modernizing estate planning for millennials by providing an easy, fast, and secure way to set up a trust and will online. During Techstars Anywhere they closed an angel round of financing, launched paid product in their first two states and are expanding nationwide by end of the month.
Ryan and I are grateful to our incredible mentors who helped the companies with their expertise, advice and network. Thank you to our partners who brought such support and resources and thank you to our associate Jessica who helped make Techstars Anywhere 2018 a success.
Cheers to Techstars Anywhere 2018!
Just over a year ago, we thought we’d try something new. What if instead of making founders relocate for three months to participate in one of our world class mentorship driven Techstars accelerators, we used technology to bring Techstars to them? They could participate from, well, #anywhere! And with that thought in mind, Techstars Anywhere, our (mostly) virtual accelerator was born.
This year, we opened applications for Techstars Anywhere to the public for the first time and had an amazing response from founders around the globe. In fact, 52% of our applications were from outside of the United States. As we worked to find the 10 founding teams that would be part of this class, we ended up focused on time zones within the United States and Canada to ensure that the companies could participate to the fullest. It was an incredibly competitive applicant pool that resulted in a less than 1 percent acceptance rate.
We refer to Techstars Anywhere as our (mostly) virtual accelerator because while most of the time is spent remotely, we think it’s important to spend time together in person too. For this program we spent the last week together in Los Angeles and we’ll be meeting up again in Boulder and then in San Francisco. The rest of the program we leverage the amazing Techstars network to provide remote access to the best mentors and investors in the world.
Here’s a photo of Techstars Anywhere in Los Angeles last week with Techstars Alum and founder of SendGrid, Isaac Saldana:
As we get ready to dive in to meeting with mentors and helping these 10 founding teams succeed, it’s my pleasure to introduce the Techstars Anywhere Class of 2018, Techstars Class 117:
StoryTap, from Vancouver, BC, creates the easiest way for marketers to get quality authentic brand directed video testimonials from their customers.
Trust & Will, from San Diego, CA, is modernizing estate planning for millennials. Create a complete and legal will in 15 minutes or less.
Flikshop, from Washington, DC, turns photos from your phone into physical postcards to help families stay connected to their incarcerated loved ones.
DNSFilter, from Washington DC, provides IT professionals with a cloud based solution that allows them to manage their user’s online experience and protect them from security threats.
Filtered.ai out of Boston, MA, uses AI to help teams identify, evaluate and hire the best engineers based on both technical and cultural fit.
Queen of Raw, from New York, is a marketplace connecting designers with manufacturers’ unused raw materials, increasing profit, reducing waste, and revolutionizing supply chains.
BioInteractive Technologies, also from Vancouver BC, makes a wristband that allows users to control any connected device, hands free.
TokenClub, from Halifax, Nova Scotia, offers a monthly subscription to curated and vetted ICO tokens.
Goodr, from Atlanta, GA, is a sustainable waste management company that leverages technology to redirect surplus food from food service providers to the millions of people who are food insecure.
Lynq, from New York, provides long distance location anywhere in the world – stay connected for miles without phones, networks, maps or infrastructure.
Aiming to fund and work with companies wherever they happen to be located, Techstars Anywhere delivers a full Techstars program through a (mostly) virtual accelerator experience.
Instead of relocating to another city and working from a shared office for three months, Techstars Anywhere uses technology and the power of the Techstars worldwide network to bring the accelerator to you, wherever your company happens to be.
The Techstars Anywhere Accelerator provides the same investment of capital, time, team and network as other Techstars accelerator programs. While the investment is the same, Techstars Anywhere delivers the full Techstars Accelerator value differently. The program is designed to allow a different kind of accelerator experience which can be a better fit for certain companies.
One of the differences of Techstars Anywhere is how our distributed mentor network is built. By removing geographical barriers, Techstars Anywhere leverages all of the Techstars global network to build a network around you and bring the right mentors for your company, regardless of where they happen to be. With a highly tailored mentor pool, founders from any given industry, technology or market get an unfair advantage to build a successful business from #anywhere.
Your Techstars experience is built largely on the relationships you build in the program. Therefore, while the majority of Techstars Anywhere happens online, the program is designed to allow founders to spend the right amount of time in person.
We start the first week of the program together in a Techstars accelerator location for an intense orientation week. The class meets again in person during weeks six and 12.
While we’re together, we optimize for network and relationship building amongst founders, mentors, investors and Techstars alumni. We carefully select locations with a dense Techstars network. For our first class, we visited Boulder, San Francisco and New York.
Aside from the the time we spend in person, most of the program takes place online. You work from your office or home and access all meetings and program sessions through video conference. We are heavy users of Slack and other tools for distributed teams.
We are connected all day, every day to make sure you’re getting the support you need to move your business forward.
It’s an intense program to help you #domorefaster. Schedule and intensity will vary in different parts of the program but in a typical week of Techstars Anywhere, you can expect regular check-ins with the class, several mentor meetings, deep dives with the program team, peer founder calls, workshops and sessions with experienced founders and investors.
Flexibility & Focus
The nature of Techstars Anywhere allows us to deliver an extremely intensive experience that is balanced with the flexibility of working on your own schedule, rhythm and location (whether you’re home or traveling).
The program features fewer social events and we prioritize for camaraderie and network building during the times we spend together on the program trips. We’ve learned that this format allows a high degree of focus so you can get a lot more done!
One of the goals of Techstars is to help you fundraise successfully (when that’s what’s right for your company). At Techstars Anywhere, you’ll learn how to manage your fundraising process, refine your pitch, and meet the right investors for the industry and geography that’s relevant to your business. You’ll also learn how to leverage the Techstars network to access the right investors for your company.
Demo Day will be one of the elements of your fundraising process. Techstars Anywhere Demo Day is virtual and investors come from #anywhere! Each company’s fundraising plan will be different, so we work with each company to build the right investor pipeline based on their industry and geography. We work with each company to identify, approach and effectively build a relationship with the right investors no matter where they happen to be.
When Techstars Anywhere can be the Right Choice for Your Company
Designed differently, Techstars Anywhere delivers a full Techstars accelerator through a (mostly) virtual experience. From nature of the product, company stage or a geographically relevant customer base, there are different reasons why relocation may be suboptimal for certain companies. Personal working styles and life situations may also be reasons why Techstars Anywhere can be a better fit for you.