Techstars Launches New Accelerator Dedicated to Social Good

There are founders who start their day with a mission to do good and solve the most pressing social and environmental issues facing the world today.

In response to the increase in socially conscious startups launching around the world, Techstars launched Techstars Impact Accelerator, the first program backing for-profit, mission-driven founders building technologies to solve our most pressing issues around the world.

Techstars Impact Accelerator will be based in Austin, TX. As the fastest-growing city in the US, Austin is an emerging leader bridging technology and social innovation and consistently attracts top tech talent from around the world.

The Techstars Impact Accelerator fund is backed by notable LPs including impact investment funds managed by Morgan Stanley Investment Management’s AIP Private Markets Team, Impact America Fund and Cotter Cunningham, CEO of RetailMeNot, Inc.

After four years serving as founder and CEO of UnLtd USA and previous experience working with impact startups across the US and emerging markets, I am joining as managing director of the program. UnLtd USA will join forces with Techstars to bring its global network in the impact space to the Techstars Impact Accelerator.

Since Techstars launched 10 years ago, we have had a deeply held belief that some of our biggest global challenges also represent some of our biggest opportunities, so investing in world-class, mission-driven founders is deeply embedded in our DNA.

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Over the last several years, we have made several investments into impact companies, including category leaders such as Zipline, which builds drones to deliver crucial medical supplies in Africa, Aunt Bertha, the #1 ranked social service search and referrals platform, and Connxus, a supplier management solution that allows buyers to achieve their goals of responsible and sustainable sourcing.

In 2015, Techstars companies represented 5 percent of all Series A deals. Alongside this, we see an important trend in the landscape: since 2011, the number of impact companies accepted into our global accelerator programs has continued to increase, growing by an average of over 50 percent each year over the last three years.

Now with dozens of impact companies in the Techstars Portfolio, we see a second exciting trend that validates our core belief: looking at the investment multiple of our impact companies compared against the general portfolio, our impact companies track with the general portfolio and in some cases are outperforming.


We launched the Techstars Impact Accelerator to help world-class, mission-driven entrepreneurs who believe, like us, that solving some of our most pressing social and environmental problems can sit hand-in-hand with building a successful company.

Companies participating in the program will focus on developing transformative technologies and innovative business models to solve our most pressing challenges across financial services, healthcare, education, agriculture, energy and more.

Applications open in December 2017 and the program kicks off June 2018.

Read more about accelerator programs around the country at TechCo

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Written by:
Zoe is the Managing Director of the Techstars Impact Accelerator in Austin. She is the Founder & Executive Director of UnLtd USA, providing seed funding and venture support to entrepreneurs tackling pressing social and environmental challenges. She is an Aspen Ideas Scholar, formerly a Mentor-in-Residence at Techstars and has worked with social ventures across the United States, India and Africa.
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