What You Need to Know Before You Apply to Techstars

September 17, 2017

3:50 pm

If you are thinking about joining an accelerator and Techstars is in your radar, here are some tips from our managing directors to get you started and make the application process go a bit smoother. If you’re not able to meet up with some of the managing directors at local campuses, roadshows or events, check out their FAQs here.

What to Know Before Applying

Our current application consists of three parts: basic information, team information, and program specific questions. You can use the same profile and team information to apply to different programs. Some of our programs are on one joint application because they share similar timelines, others may be separate because of the unique timeline or specific focus.

Do your research, learn more about each program and the team behind it, and check out who we’ve accepted in the past.

All Stages

You are never too far along! Techstars can, and has, helped at all stages. It’s not just pre-product, pre-revenue companies.

There isn’t a ‘minimum’ requirement. Each application is different. We look at a lot of things to make a decision. If you’re early or far along, if you’ve got customers or are pre-product, there are a lot of different kinds of companies that get into Techstars.

About the Team Video

When we ask for your team video, we really want to know about your team. Who you are, how you met, how long you’ve worked together, why you’re awesome.

We’re looking to hear your story. And don’t forget, show some personality and make it personal! This really is the most important element of the application. Keep it simple: be yourself, don’t read your pitch from a screen, and don’t work about a high quality production.

What About the Demo Video?

Like the team video, everyone agrees: this doesn’t need to be super polished. Instead: demo what you actually have, show us the product, give us a simple walkthrough!

As a guide: “a super crappy product demo with an ugly UI is 100x better than a marketing video.”

What else? Here is specific feedback, direct from our MDs

About your team

We love the story of how you met, how long you’ve worked together, and how you work together. Show us your interpersonal relationships, why you want to solve this problem, and why you are uniquely qualified to do so!

On your location selection

Your first choice location will prioritize reading your application. The location you select will determine the network you’ll build. Make sure you pick a location that will give you the best opportunity to build the right network with the right mentors. There’s a decent chance you may wind up locating your company there for the long haul. And, If you’re planning to fundraise, choose a site that you think you’d have success fundraising in.

Company & Vision

Make it brief, long rambling answers are never effective. But think big, too: MD’s also want to see “a clear immediate goal and very big, encompassing long term goals of disrupting an industry.”

Team & Commitment

Make sure you really highlight what makes your team unique! As one MD says: “There are people who were born to do what they do. I really want to know that this is the thing you were put on earth to do and that with hard work and good luck, you can do it better than anyone else on the planet.”

Traction

From our MDs, “the more detail on this, the better,” but detail doesn’t have to mean metrics and raw numbers. We want to see the momentum you’ve gained, and what you’ve learned from your customers.

Funding

One guiding principle: Be honest!

Runway

Help us see where your money is going. And know that “You’ll need to have enough runway that with the money from Techstars, you can last until your next likely round of financing.”

Cap Table

Plain and simple: “We want to understand your cap table so we can help you.”

Help us see the full picture: Give any notes about team members that are no longer with the company but own > 5 percent.

And remember, like funding: Be honest!

Competition

Never say you don’t have any competition! As one MD says: “It’s either another company, and if it’s not, it’s email or a spreadsheet, or voicemail, or something else that people hack now to solve the problem they have that you’re solving.” And when you list it out, make sure to be specific.

Above all: “Having competitors is good. It gives you someone to go up against. You should know who they are and most importantly, how you are different and better than they are.”

If you’re not able to meet up with some of the managing directors at local campuses, roadshows or events, check out their FAQs here.

Applications are open for 10 of our worldwide mentorship-driven accelerator programs, and the Techstars roadshow has kicked off and is coming to your community! Check out the locations to meet with our managing directors, staff and alumni!

 

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Angel investor, mentor, running FinTech accelerator for Techstars

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