Brad Feld on TechStars angel approach

Another acquisition gives the angel mentoring program another win

Investor interview by Bambi Francisco Roizen
September 24, 2008 | Comments (4)
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/42e

I've seen a number of pitch events, and I have to admit that the caliber of the presentations was really high at the TechStars event this week. Not only were the presentations informative and succinct, the presenters were articulate and personable.

Getting to this level of preparedness of course has a lot to do with the mentoring from David Cohen, who founded TechStars, a pre-seed mentorship program based in Boulder, along with Brad Feld, tech luminary, prolific blogger, angel investor, entrepreneur and co-founder of two venture capital firms, Foundry Group and Mobius Venture Capital.

TechStars has been around since 2006, and about 60% of the 20 companies that it has mentored have received funding. Two of them have been acquired. Socialthing was bought by AOL and Automattic announced its acquisition of IntenseDebate this week.

The Techstars model is pretty clever. Provide a little money and a lot of mentorship for a 5% stake.

The concept was born out of David's frustration of the angel investing process, which is typically - give a little more money and walk away without any real hand in nurturing the startups. 

In this video, Brad talks about the Techstars approach, whereby they select 10 teams out of hundreds of applicants for a summer mentorship program in Boulder. TechStars pay $5,000 per founder (up to three founders). For three months the entrepreneurs stay in a 10,000 square foot facility. During that time, TechStars whips them into shape and makes invaluable introductions to executives at Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL, etc. For the accomodations in Boulder, mentorship and introduction, TechStars takes its fee of 5%.

Watch Brad share the TechStar story. 


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Spencer Parikh, on September 24, 2008

Love it...we need more programs like this. A symbiotic relationship between Founders, Investors and Mentors/Coaches/Consultants...this ensures everyone has a stake in the process, definitely makes it much more enjoyable...

Looking forward to keeping my eyes on TechStars...great effort!

Gary Silver
Gary Silver, on September 25, 2008

Sounds like a great program, we need one (or three) in Chicago. Just curious, I don't see TechStars promoted anywhere as an "incubator", is this term avoided for a reason, or does it not somehow fit?

Josh Chandler
Josh Chandler, on September 26, 2008

I got the chance to talk with one of Techstars prodigies on my podcast that was mentioned in the video called SocialThing, before their acquistion by AOL and in preshow I found out about this great initiatve I can't believe more companies like this don't exist, and the small 5% share in the company is so worth it for the amount of mentoring and support you recieve, well worth it for any company! Plus I am highly jealous of those who get to go to Boulder, the facilities sound amazing.

In response to @garysilver's comment on whether Techstars is an "incubator", I think it's hard to place it as one although it has the traits of a "incubator", many companies who provide an "incubation" enviroment keep companies in for much longer periods then "TechStars" does, although I feel that "TechStars" can just as easily benefit companies in the long run.

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