Startups have had a place to launch and grow in Boulder since 2006 – that’s when TechStars was born. Now one of the nation’s premier startup accelerators with programs in Boston, Chicago, New York, and Seattle in addition to the original Boulder program, TechStars had humble beginnings.
Founded by David Cohen, Jared Brown, Brad Feld, and Jared Polis, the program has become one of the most sought-after destinations for entrepreneurs to grow their business ideas. With fierce competition and generous funding, it’s no wonder that founders from all over the globe seek to compete for the prestige of being a TechStars alum.
TechStars – the Early Days
The first TechStars Boulder cohort dates back to 2007. The program had just over 300 applications. Out of the ten companies accepted into the program, eight received a total in just over $5 million in funding. Six of those companies went on to be acquired. Not bad for a startup accelerator its first year out of the gate.
TechStars in Boulder – Today
Today, the latest TechStars Boulder class of 2012 saw 12 companies admitted to the program. Eight of those companies received funding totaling over $11 million – a substantial increase in only five years since their inaugural program. They’ve also expanded their community reach with a series of events catering to the entrepreneurial and startup communities. There are regular “Co-Founder Dating” events, where entrepreneurs can connect with founders to power their ideas as a team. They also host women-centric events to encourage a greater participation rate for female entrepreneurs in the startup world. TechStars weaves itself into not just the Boulder community, but also every community where it launches a program.
Want to keep your pulse on everything in TechStars Boulder and the greater Tech Stars community? We can always recommend following the TechStars blog, and especially the This Week in TechStars series where you can get an in-depth look at issues facing founders and startups from interviews with mentors, VCs, and founders.
The collection of TechStars accelerators isn’t shy about the results they produce for companies accepted into the program. Each year, they make public the detailed results for each of the companies completing the program. They also consistently update the data on whether the companies have gone on to fail, are still active, or have been acquired. There are no cloak-and-dagger moves once you’re accepted into the TechStars program. Companies all receive the same access to funds ($18,000 per company with the option of a $100,000 convertible note upon acceptance), world-class mentors, and perks from a host of partner companies that can make life as a growing company easier.
It’s quite a track record for TechStars to say that roughly 75% of companies accepted into the program go on to receive follow-on funding or become profitable once they’ve completed the program. We’d have to say that speaks well of their application and screening process. But we’d venture to guess that TechStars has a few more powerful positives up its collective sleeve.
In Boulder, the TechStars companies brighten the overall entrepreneurial fabric. Many stay long past their tenure in the program, contributing to the community and going on to create careers that support the Front Range ecosystem. It’s fair to say that Boulder’s entrepreneurial scene wouldn’t be what it is without TechStars – they do more than just bring in founders with ambitious ideas. They give those ideas room to grow and set down roots in the community, long after they’ve emerged from the TechStars cocoon.
More Startup and Entrepreneurial Resource in Boulder:
Boulder Startups: A Primer to Local Resources for Entrepreneurs
Silicon Flatirons – Promoting Boulder and Colorado Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship in Boulder – A Top 10 List