Community Building: More is Better—Or Is It?

By Chris Heivly, Entrepreneur in Residence at Techstars

There are many aspects of life where more is better, and as such there are many times we employ strategies to maximize the more. A few examples that many of us live by are:

  • Money
  • Customers
  • Employees
  • Priceless Art
  • Profound experiences
  • Time with loved ones
  • Goals in ice hockey (ok, maybe just me)

In terms of startup community building, there are a plethora of activities that local leaders utilize to create lift. (For clarity, I am using the word “activities” in a very broad sense.) These may include:

  • Hackathons
  • Coffee meetups (1 Million Cups)
  • Grant programs
  • Pitch competitions
  • Learn to code academies
  • Accelerators
  • Networking socials
  • Startup weekends
  • Recruitment events
  • Venture funds
  • Community blogs

The list literally goes on and on. Developing communities are first challenged to convene the various actors across the ecosystem. This has an immediate positive impact as the tribe begins to organize. Participate in this over a few months and some momentum begins to build.

As a community matures, activities naturally increase as newly motivated leaders step up and attempt to fill various voids. In many mature communities, there may be as many as two to three events every week.

I find the number, the diversity, and the cadence of these activities to be one of the critical signals as to the maturity of a community.

But beware. There is a trap that evolves in some minds that if the first handful of activities start to build some very visible momentum, then more activities would have an even larger effect. Unfortunately there is a ceiling to the number of activities and the subsequent impact.

In terms of startup community building, the more is better strategy has a very visible limit to its effectiveness. Once a critical mass of organizing these basic activities is achieved (and there are different trigger points for different communities), then the strategy should shift to building more meaningful activities.


Looking for a great startup community building event? Find—or organize!—a Techstars Startup Weekend in your community.

Bootcamp Community Leaders Rio Grande do Sul

Foi realmente emocionante ver a energia vinda da nossa comunidade no sul do Brasil. Estava muito frio durante todo tempo no Gramado Expo Center (Gramado é conhecido por seu fluxo exclusivo de turismo de inverno), mas isso não impediu as pessoas de interagirem com a equipe do Techstars e líderes de comunidades. O Rio Grande do Sul é certamente um dos maiores centros de inovação e desenvolvimento tecnológico do Brasil e nossa comunidade está fortemente engajada no ecossistema.

A presença da Techstars foi sentida durante todo o encontro. Muitas das startups expositoras na conferência vieram de membros da comunidade e de ex-participantes passados ​​do Startup Weekends. Um dos palcos do evento, foi conduzido por um dos nossos facilitadores mais ativos, Eduardo Pittol, e foi ótimo ver ele aplicar muitas de suas habilidades como facilitador do Startup Weekend no grande palco do Gramado Summit.

Um momento emocionante em nosso estande aconteceu quando dois líderes de comunidades do Chile veio até nós para falar sobre os SWs que estavam organizando em suas comunidades no Chile. Parece que o Startup Weekend teve um enorme impacto no Sul e continua crescendo. Para um estado grande com muitas cidades urbanizadas, foi incrível ver quão unida é a comunidade do Rio Grande do Sul e como estão sincronizadas ao colaborar em iniciativas de desenvolvimento de comunidade.

No sábado de manhã, nós participamos de mini bootcamp, realizado por um dos facilitadores do estado, Walter Cruz, com foco em educar e fornecer orientações para CLs atuais e futuros, onde muitas questões sobre a comunidade surgiram. Ter tempo face a face com muitos CL’s na mesma sala provou ser inestimável. O Gramado Summit certamente foi uma das melhores experiências que o time da Techstars Brasil pode viver e esperamos que nossa comunidade no Sul continue a crescer e fornecer um modelo para outras comunidades em todo o Brasil.


  • 8h30 ~ 9h: Seja bem vindo(a)!
  • 9h ~ 9h30: Conheça o time Techstars
  • 9h30 ~ 10h: AMA (Ask Me Anything) para Techstars
  • 10h15 ~ 10h30: Conheça a Bela Pagamentos
  • 10h30 ~ 11h: O papel de um (Community Leader
  • 11h ~ 11h30: Conectando o SW com a Jornada Empreendedora no RS
  • 11h30 ~ 12h: Cuidados na captação de recurso

Bootcamp CLs Rio Grande do Sul na Bela Pagamentos

Techstars Startup Weekend Facilitator Spotlight: Cindy Spelt

How did your journey with Techstars Startup Weekend begin?

Back in 2014 I was ready for a new adventure. The new generation, fresh from school, was active, creative and tech savvy. They inspired me with their thinking, their business ideas and knowledge. A week before the event, I saw a post on Facebook about a Startup Weekend in Utrecht (The Netherlands) and decided to buy a ticket. I was convinced that I would meet those tech savvy people there and was excited to work with them.

Half an hour before the event my best friend called me. We had a nice chat and I told her that I was tired from the week and not really motivated to go to the event. And then she said: why don’t you just go and check it out? Since it’s only 10 minutes away from your home, you can always go home in case you do not like it… And so I did. It turned out to be the BEST weekend of my life. Life changing. True story.

Why did you decide that you wanted to take the step from being an Organiser to becoming a Facilitator?

I became addicted. To the people, the atmosphere and the energies it gave me. At each event you meet amazing like-minded people. As a facilitator you enlarge your network and the opportunity to meet local people. For me being a facilitator is something natural. I love doing it, it doesn’t cost me too much energy, although after a weekend I feel satisfied, and also a bit tired. Straight back to work is sometimes a bit challenging.

What do you enjoy most about being a Facilitator?

I get attached to the people. I understand how exciting it is to pitch on Friday and how nervous people are for the Sunday evening Pitch Night. I feel for them. They worked so hard the whole weekend, and then the moment comes to bring everything to the table. I am nervous too, for them. I am always proud of what I see on Sunday evening. They all went through some learning curves and teams show true team spirit. It is beautiful to see. Startup Weekend is the place to be if you are looking for a transformational experience. And those are the BEST! I cannot get enough :-). I always want MORE.

What is your best memory of facilitating at a Techstars Startup Weekend?

I got a request from a participant to practice his Friday evening pitch with the organising team, a couple of days before the event would kick off. I was impressed by the level of ambition and humbleness of this person. Of course I accepted it and invited him to one of our team meetings. We gave him advice and his idea was chosen on Friday evening. They won the first prize on Sunday evening too. I love the level of ambition of the people coming to Startup Weekends. We have a lot fun and at the same time we are damn serious about setting up a business and creating impact. I love this combination!

Do you have any advice for those thinking of taking the plunge and applying to become Facilitators?

Just do it. It is a great experience. I learned a lot from other facilitators, like Stavros (Greece) and Dwight (Amsterdam). When I felt a bit more confident I found my own way of doing it. I am just me, myself and I. In all the surveys the feedback that I get is that participants see how natural I am by just being myself and how much I am enjoying it too. Participants are not looking for a show, they value authenticity more. In the end, all SW-peeps are part of the same family. So, you can just be yourself and enjoy the ride! So find your own uniqueness in the way you like to facilitate, and it will be great!

Evolving the Techstars Community in Washington, D.C.

Aligning the Techstars Startup Programs For “New Majority Communities”

The Techstars suite of startup programs are an amazing catalyst for startup communities. Its three core startup programs help engage people at various stages of the entrepreneur’s journey. However, sometimes the programs can fall into silos and lose the benefit of being part of a whole. So, what gives and is it critical for your city?

Stepping on the Ledge

Washington, D.C. was my formal introduction to the world of startups and entrepreneurship. In fact, Techstars Startup Weekend was one of the initial entry points. I was inspired to engage the community and give back by volunteering.

As I got more involved, I saw there were complimentary programs like Techstars Startup Week and Techstars Startup Digest, but no one on the Weekend crew had much interaction with them. So I set out to see how to get more involved because, at the time, there were too many organizers in the Weekend crew already. I had to piece the connections myself, which undermines a cohesive startup community.

Sometimes the programs can fall into silos and lose the benefit of being part of a whole.

So what did I find? There was no Startup Week, there was a Startup Digest.

Crossing the Chasm | Startup Week

One great thing about the Techstars Startup Programs is access to a regional manager to make connections and introductions. Just like they are able to serve as a connector, so too should the local community leaders.

I had to piece the connections myself, which undermines a cohesive startup community.

Startup Week was not active in the area, but someone else had reached out to them before me. At first, this felt like a setback, but in hindsight it was great because I wouldn’t have to do it alone.

After the experience, I was glad to have help. Like Marc Nager taught us with Startup Weekend, don’t go it alone. There’s only so much a person can do, but with others involved, you can do so much more, like build a startup in 54 hours!

So as Startup Week was getting organized, I began to lead some Startup Weekend programs. An idea popped in mind, “wouldn’t it be helpful to promote Startup Week to the participants of the other programs?”

Now I don’t know if anyone can relate, but a 5-day program that no one has seen or heard about before is not something incumbent leaders jump for joy about. I realized the uphill battle to get Startup Week credibility on the local stage, and leveraging the Startup Weekend network was critical.

An idea popped in mind, “wouldn’t it be helpful to promote Startup Week to the participants of the other programs?”

In hindsight, being part of the Startup Weekend crew already helped bridge the trust and collaboration gap that could have existed. Startup Week could have been left to its own devices. And let’s be clear, the Startup Weekend organizers are always willing to help, but their capacity is capped since everything we do is a labor of love; no Ferraris at the end of this tunnel.

The Uphill Battle | Startup Digest

Another great thing about Techstars is the leadership development they make available. For our purposes, every year there’s a summit for all community leaders across its startup programs to provide training and share ideas across cities.

Startup Digest in Washington, D.C. has a following of more than 5,600 subscribers.

The thought of Startup Digest resurfaced during the 2016 summit, and I wanted to learn more and get involved. And in this case, there were already two curators overseeing Washington, D.C. Now here was the tough part, how was a small time upstart like myself going to begin the conversation and build trust to get in on the team?

The regional manager made the connections and I was added to the local Startup Digest team. Success? Sort of. As with any team where someone new gets thrust upon them, it was a bit awkward at first. It took time to learn the ropes so to speak and build trust.

Surprisingly the team was already looking to move on, so I became the lead curator shortly after my entry. Here’s where things got interesting. The Startup Digest in Washington, D.C. has a following of more than 5,600 subscribers. Imaging tapping into that to help promote Startup Weekend and Startup Week?

A Helping Hand | Techstars Community

All three programs now became circles that, if in silos would continue to grind away on their own, but if they converge even to a small extent they could support and bolster each other’s efforts.

The Techstars Community concept came into play, something that Aldo Aguirre mentioned as we pushed to hold various events to co-promote the upcoming program initiatives. In fact, we surprised Aldo with a co-hosted rooftop social mixer to celebrate the various partners and entrepreneurs.

And that’s just a tip of the iceberg.

So what’s the benefit? Well after a year of struggling to align the programs where it made sense, here’s what came out so far:

Startup Weekend

  • Give: Virtual sessions during weekend program for promotion
  • Take: Promote events to program followers

Startup Week

  • Give: Right of first announcement and/or winner speaking opportunities; promote programs
  • Take: Promote events to program followers

Startup Digest

  • Give: Highlight startup/entrepreneurs in weekly emails; prize certificates
  • Take: Promote signup to program followers

Cross Functional Collaboration (all three programs)

  • Communicate sponsorship opportunities for all programs one-time during the year (instead of hitting the same organization 2–3 times across the programs)
  • Host community events that can help with outreach and engagement
  • Engage partners as Techstars Community (rather than individual programs)
  • Email newsletter coming from Techstars Community collective

And that’s just a tip of the iceberg. For 2018, the collaborations have expanded to think up a calendar of events to move each program’s needle forward.

    The Journey Continues

    Is this the direction all cities should follow? Not necessarily. It works for Washington, D.C. because in an area where the ecosystem is splintered and duplicative efforts are the norm, it just doesn’t make sense for the long game.

    As we continue to map out the Washington, D.C. ecosystem using the Startup Community Maturity Model, we need to become more collaborative to help mature the ecosystem into the next phase.

    I’m also in a unique position where I touch all three programs. This is not the norm across cities that I am aware of, so some unexpected challenges may come up. However, as we continue to ask Techstars to increase the support they provide, cross-functional collaboration is something we should consider at the local level.

    There’s only so much a person can do, but with others involved, you can do so much more, like build a startup in 54 hours!

    And as traditionally underrepresented groups become the new majority in the upcoming years, we need to be intentional about how we engage across programs and with limited resources to provide the best support for the next generation of startups and small businesses.

    This original post can be found on Meldium.

    Bringing a Focus to the Latinx Tech Community

    One of the first projects I got to work on when I joined the Kapor Center in 2016 was helping to launch the first Startup Weekend: Latinx in Tech here in Oakland. We brought together more than one-hundred Latinx entrepreneurs, coaches, and mentors over the course of a three-day weekend to conceptualize product ideas, pitch them, and form teams to turn their ideas into action.

    Startup Weekend is a powerful way to turn tech dreams into reality over the course of just a few days.

    This one was particularly important to me and my colleagues, however. The Latinx community is the second largest ethnic group in America, made up of 52 million people and yet there still are very few initiatives in the tech space directly serving our communities.

    I say “communities,” rather than the “community,” because as the 2016 Latinx Startup Weekend showed, we are incredibly diverse. It’s one thing to know that Latins is an ethnic designation, rather than a race.

    This diversity was wonderfully apparent at the first Startup Weekend, where we saw Latinx entrepreneurs from all different racial backgrounds bring their own lived experience to the table. It was a deeply powerful event, and we soon received requests from other cities to bring this energy to the national stage in 2017.

    Last fall, I was excited to collaborate once again with my colleague and friend, Carolina Huaranca to make this a reality on a larger scale, when we partnered with 2 national organizations,  Techqueria and Techstars, to reach our target audiences in brand new cities with large Latinx populations..

    How We United the Latinx Population Across America

    Our vision for the 2017 event was to bring together participants in Oakland, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and New York to design tech solutions to the specific problems affecting the Latinx communities in each city

    In less than three months, we went from event concept to formalizing organizers in five cities with weekly advisement to bring 300+ community members across the country together in one weekend.

    Navigating the Unexpected

    Of course, things come up. Late into our planning we were faced with the unexpected as Hurricane Irma hit Florida, stalling the Miami Startup Weekend organizing team. After working hard to rally, the team on the ground ultimately decided to pull out and focus on crucial community rebuilding efforts.

    We hope to welcome them this year as they are strong representation of our community who exemplify strength and resilience. Only a few days later Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico, affecting even more of our organizers and participants.

    But one thing tech knows how to do is to pivot.

    Organizers encouraged participants to tackle recovery issues using tech and entrepreneurship, and in three of our cities, top-placing teams focused on prototyping recovery and disaster relief solutions. It showed that the Latinx community can come together to channel their talents to help one another through action and innovation.  

    Celebrating Success

    Despite all of the challenges, Oakland, Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago organizing teams led this first ever national Latinx in tech entrepreneurship initiative to  success – we helped activate four cities, brought together +300 community members, launched +30 prototypes/startups in 54 hours. 

    Each city provided curated skill-building in lean startup methodologies with local ecosystem mentors that included local experienced entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and industry experts.

    Over the 54 hours of the event, we were able to activate an action-focused Latinx in tech community in four ecosystems across the country with strong leadership. Participation culminated in over  300 community members, including participants, mentors, coaches, judges, and volunteers.

    We also got people talking about this new and exciting national initiative. Social media exploded in excitement and interest with 4.2k overall  tweets, and over 100 contributors on the platform.

    By the end of the weekend, over 30 new venture prototypes had been pitched, ranging drone technology to assessing infrastructure damage of natural disasters, to talent matching using digital platforms for small businesses, to creating a marketplace to connect doctors on a global scale.

    We’re excited to have helped demystify tech entrepreneurship for our diverse, multicultural LatinX community  and ignited desire for change and leadership in each city.

    Only the beginning…

    By 2060, over a quarter of the entire U.S. population will be Latinx. That’s about 119 million people, and over a trillion dollar market of creators and consumers that remains untapped.

    We are excited to continue bringing more spotlight to the Latinx in Tech community through our efforts at the Kapor Center and in collaboration with partners, like Techstars and others who share the goal of increasing activating the potential of this inspiring community.

    Through the last two years of Latinx Startup Weekends, we’ve seen how the lived experiences of our entrepreneurs make them uniquely qualified to identify problems specific to the Latinx community and design tech-enabled solutions.

    This is where our story starts and we’re excited to see the continued growth and success of Latinx in Tech across America. Stay tuned for more details about 2018’s national initiatives!

    This post was originally published in Medium.

    Santiago Shows Startup Muscle with Mega Event for Techstars Global Startup Weekend 2017

    Photo from:

    Santiago de Chile is a city found in South America, in the middle Los Andes, and a busy place for entrepreneurship in Latin America. Chile has the highest rate of Internet users in Latin America and the country ranks 9th in the world for mobile phone use according to the PEW research center.

    Last year during the Latin American Techstars Summit, we met a lot of people who help Santiago maintain its position as a hub of innovation and entrepreneurship. One of those leaders is Rocío Fonseca, Director of Startup Chile, a governmental organization created in 2010 to support ideas and entrepreneurs from all over the world.

    At the summit, more than 80 Techstars Startup Weekend and Techstars Startup Week community leaders from Latin America came together to meet, share best practices and learn how to grow startup communities. The summit was possible because of Gonzalo Mena, lead organizer of our programs in Santiago. He has helped re-ignite the Techstars community in Chile.

    Photo from Techstars archive.

    During Techstars Global Startup Weekend 2017, Santiago held its first ever MEGA event including verticals like video games, social innovation, research and a non-themed vertical.

    “The idea of doing a MEGA event– 4 themed verticals within a single weekend– was born because we wanted to celebrate the community. After doing a non-themed Techstars Startup Weekend back in April, we wanted to bring attention to topics that have been growing importantly in the city but that do not get much media”, says Gonzalo. The video games and research themes– which are not super popular– were complemented with social innovation and another non-themed vertical.

    The participants’ high energy mixed with the facilitators– who knew each other previously– were the perfect match to make the event a success. “More than 150 participants got to live the experience of going from idea to product in those 54 hours, for most of them it was the first event and we saw an amazing change in them between Friday night and Sunday’s final pitch,” according to Gonzalo.

    A grand prize of mentorship from the commercial area from the Ministry of External Relations of Chile will help the winning team to get their project ready to launch abroad.

    When asked about the upcoming plans for the community in Santiago, Gonzalo says that thanks to the exposure that came with Techstars Startup Weekend MEGA and the participation of high profile Judges, they will start pushing to make more events that support different thematics around tech entrepreneurship in 2018, collaborating with other communities that include Startup Grind, Emprendedores Anónimos, Founderlist and more.

    To connect with the Startup Weekend Community in Santiago, you can visit their website or their Facebook Page. To learn more about Techstars Startup Programs or to find an event near you, go to

    Empowering Entrepreneurs and Building Communities in Asia Pacific

    As the Asia Pacific region is growing into a global center for innovation, there’s an increasing challenge of how to offer the best resources for new startup communities. Oko Davaasuren, Techstars Regional Director in APAC, and Anurag Maloo, Techstars Regional Manager in APAC, answer questions on how Techstars is working to help inspire entrepreneurs in the region.

    Watch the whole AMA here.

    What is your vision for Techstars and building communities in Asia Pacific?

    For some of you who don’t have a larger view of Techstars, this question comes up a lot as I’m traveling to different countries.

    Techstars has three distinct parts to it. The first part is our startup programs, which includes Startup Weekend, Startup Week, and Startup Digest. These give access, education, and exposure to the communities or ecosystems.

    The second part is what Techstars is mainly known for, which is our mentorship-driven accelerator programs. We’re running about 29 of these accelerators all around the world.

    The third part of the business is the venture arm, which invests in startups that mainly go through our accelerator program and maybe some outside. Those are the three main pillars of Techstars as an organization.

    We are running startup programs in about 28 countries out of 50 plus in Asia Pacific. We are running about 500 programs, including the bootcamps and other editions of our startup programs. We’re seeing about 10-20 percent growth year-by-year.

    With that said, although we run thousands of Startup Weekends around the world, there are a lot of people we haven’t reached. You hear people who have been touched by these programs and know the impact of these programs in their communities. These people know how awesome it is.

    The mission here is, “how can we share this awesome experience with as many people as possible?” We literally get to change people’s lives.

    In the simplest terms, we want to enable and empower individuals in communities all around the world.

    We want to continue doing that, because there’s so much still to go, especially in Asia. Economic growth is here and it’s the frontier of everything. This is where people need access, power, and exposure more than anywhere else.

    Besides that, we’re not just talking about the individual impact programs, but as a collective of accelerators and the investing arm, we’re trying to help ecosystems in Asia Pacific to grow so that the true values of Techstars are materialized.

    Entrepreneurs should be everywhere. You should be able to build your startup wherever you are from or where ever you are. But in order for that to happen, your ecosystem needs to grow and have all the right elements to be able to provide the environment for people to do that.

    With the collective, our goal is to basically make Asia Pacific better than Silicon Valley or become an iteration of Silicon Valley by finding the strength of ecosystems to help it grow.

    We have a lot of work to do.

    Are you ready to help your community learn, network, and startup? Organize a Startup Weekend event in your area today!

    10 Countries. 10 Startup Weekend Communities. 10 Stories Across Borders.

    We’re celebrating Techstars Startup Weekend’s 10th Birthday! On July 7th, 2007, the first Startup Weekend was held in Boulder, Colorado with 80 entrepreneurs. In 10 years, we’ve grown to:

    • 13,837 community leaders in 153+ countries
    • 4,531 Startup Weekend events
    • 363,000+ Startup Weekend attendees
    • 45,375 Teams
    • $410M+ in funding secured

    Techstars Startup Weekend is now 10 years old, and we’re just getting started in the South & Central Asian region with 130+ India events since 2011, 50+ in South Asia (excluding India) & 20+ in Central Asia.

    We’re also excited to announce that we will be bringing the first Startup Weekend events to Maldives and Uzbekistan in late 2017.

    To celebrate the impact of our entrepreneurship programs with our worldwide community and teams around the world and I’m honoured to share with you my favorite stories and memories of building startup communities.

    Thank you to everyone who has played a part in building this startup community and shaping this global entrepreneurship movement. Check out our Thank You video!

    As an Indo-Asian startup innovation Community Architect, I am responsible for the cultivation and sustained growth of vibrant startup ecosystems in India, SAARC nations and Central Asian countries. I’m always excited to welcome thousands of new entrepreneurs every year through Techstars Startup Weekend, and honoured to have facilitated over 30 Startup Weekends across Asia.

    1. Startup Weekend India

    The Startup Weekend India community includes over 20 States — SW Rajasthan, SW West Bengal, SW Kerala, SW Gujarat, SW Goa, SW Odisha, SW Delhi, SW Tamil Nadu, SW Manipur, SW Uttar Pradesh, SW Telangana, SW Karnataka, SW Punjab, SW Haryana, SW Uttarakhand, SW Andhra Pradesh, SW Telangana, SW Maharashtra, SW Jammu & Kashmir, SW Himachal Pradesh, etc.

    1st Startup Weekend Noida (Uttar Pradesh)

    1. Startup Weekend Pakistan

    Startup Weekend Lahore, Pakistan (March 2015) #SWLahore

    1. Startup Weekend Bangladesh

    Startup Weekend Dhaka, Bangladesh (May 2017) #SWDhaka

    Startup Weekend Dhaka (Nov 2015) #SWDhaka

    1. Startup Weekend Bhutan

    #SWBhutan community from 1st, 2nd and 3rd Startup Weekend Bhutan in Thimphu (2016–17) #SWThimphu

    1. Startup Weekend Afghanistan

    Building Afghan Entrepreneurship at first Startup Weekend Kabul, Afghanistan (March 2016) #SWKabul

    1. Startup Weekend Sri Lanka

    4th Startup Weekend Sri Lanka in Negombo #SiliconBeach (May 2017) #SW Negombo

    2nd Startup Weekend Sri Lanka in Colombo (Oct 2016) #SWColombo

    First Startup Weekend Sri Lanka in Jaffna (June 2016) #SWJaffna

    1. Startup Weekend Nepal

    9th Startup Weekend Kathmandu (Greenovation) in Nepal (Nov 2016) #SWKathmandu

    1. Startup Weekend Kazakhstan

    Startup Weekend Astana in Kazakhstan (Oct 2016) #SWAstana

    1. Startup Weekend Tajikistan

    First Startup Weekend Tajikistan in Dushanbe (Nov 2016) #SWDushanbe #SWTJ

    1. Startup Weekend ASEAN (10 Countries in One ASEAN)

    Startup Weekend ASEAN 2015 was organised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (video), where entrepreneurs from all over South-East Asia collaborated in Generation Startup Weekend, an effort by Techstars Startup Programs and its partners at MaGIC (Malaysian Govt.), YSEALI, and the U.S. State Department.

    First of it’s kind — Techstars Startup Weekend ASEAN in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Aug 2015) #SWASEAN

    Startup Weekend is a global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate, and empower individuals, teams and communities. Reach out to me if you’re interested to bring Techstars Startup Programs to your community!

    One of my favourite Startup Weekend picture, kicking off the first SW SriLanka #HappyBirthdaySW

    We want to say thank you again, from everyone at Techstars, for all the hard work and time that you give to support your entrepreneurial community!

    This post was first originally published here at Anurag Maloo’s medium blog here. 

    Techstars Code of Conduct Revisited

    Last week was a watershed week, of sorts, for the VC industry in general. Several prominent VCs were revealed for inappropriate behavior relative to gender discrimination and general sexual harassment. It was not a proud moment in the VC and overall tech industry. Techstars cares, deeply, about people. Not just the people at Techstars and in our worldwide network, but about all people. We feel a responsibility as leaders to make sure that we do our best – and help others do their best – to provide safe, comfortable environments for people to grow and work within.

    Techstars has been and remains firmly committed to the Code of Conduct that we first introduced in March of 2015. We drive Techstars forward based on our mission to be the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. This means helping each and every entrepreneur succeed no matter their race, gender, age, country of origin or any other attribute.

    Every employee at Techstars is employed based on the promise to follow our Code of Conduct and we expect everyone in our network to follow it as well. Recent events have motivated us to renew our commitment to this code and improve our implementation and enforcement of it.

    Some examples of new initiatives include:

    • If you are in our network, we are asking that you voluntarily sign our Code of Conduct, today. Going forward, we will require signing our Code of Conduct when you join our network.
    • For all VCs and Investors, we are inviting you, free of charge, to join us in committing to Emtrain’s Decency Pledge by taking a few hours of your time to get educated and informed on best practices on: Preventing Workplace Harassment, Managing Unconscious Bias, and Code of Conduct and Ethics.
    • To make sure that we are as informed as possible, we have added a submission form and an e-mail address  for people to use to report any violations they may have experienced or witnessed relating to our Code of Conduct. The form has the option for people to remain anonymous.
    • We are clarifying and improving our existing process of investigations of any issues reported to us.

    Please help us continue to ensure that Techstars and the world is a safe, secure place for entrepreneurs to grow, learn and accelerate. We strive to give everyone the best advantage to succeed by #givefirst, acting with integrity and treating everyone with respect.

    No one person or company can change the problems that have been revealed – but if we all work together for the good of the whole, we can make big change happen.

    How Microsoft, Uber, Twitter and Google Came to Boulder

    This post originally appeared on David Cohen's own blog at

    A thriving startup community provides a boost to the greater community in lots of ways. It encourages innovation and investment, attracts creative, entrepreneurial people, and generates a certain energy– making the entire city a more desirable place to live.

    Additionally, when local startups are acquired by big companies, and those companies hire more people in the area, the result is more jobs, which boosts the local economy in a lot of new ways.

    A great example of how big companies get here is Sketchup, a startup that my partner Mark Solon invested in back when it was a tiny company. Google acquired Sketchup in 2006 (yep, I was blogging about Colorado startups way back then), and we’ve had the footprint of Google’s presence in Boulder ever since then. Bolstered by the addition of around 1,500 jobs in Boulder, over the years that acquisition has significantly contributed to Boulder’s growth and housing boom.

    Similarly, in 2011 Federated Media purchased Lijit (now Sovrn), leading to an increase in hiring at the Boulder office. And in 2014, Boulder startup Gnip was acquired by Twitter, leading to their large office here. By the way, even as I write this Twitter has 10 job openings in Boulder right now.

    Microsoft brought an office to Boulder when it bought the startup Vexcel. Later, Uber opened up a Boulder office when it acquired some of the Bing assets and Microsoft continued to operate here.

    There are plenty of other examples in Boulder alone. By my count, about 2,000 high paying, high tech, “big company” jobs in Boulder can be traced back to startups from the last decade. Not to mention the many thousands more jobs that are enabled by the current generation of startups today.

    This is how an active startup community impacts the broader community, well beyond just the startup community itself. It impacts all aspects of the area, including real estate, retail and housing in major ways. Next time you find yourself wondering if startups really matter to a community, take a look at Boulder and ask yourself why Google and Twitter employ so many people here. Startups are responsible for most net new jobs in America. As big companies continue to cut back, we can continue to look to startups to create our future.

    The purpose of Techstars’ Worldwide Entrepreneur Network is to help entrepreneurs succeed. Check out the impact of the Techstars’ network over the past 10 years.