TechStars Accelerator Plants Flag in People’s Republic of Austin
We don’t know if the people at TechStars like live music, barbecue, SXSW, and bats—but we definitely know they like startups, and that’s why they’re launching a new program in Austin, TX.
TechStars CEO David Cohen announced this morning that Austin will be the home of the newest TechStars accelerator. The program offers about a dozen startups an intense three-month boot camp that helps entrepreneurs refine their business strategy, improve their prototypes, learn from experienced entrepreneurs, and meet with potential investors.
Austin’s emergence as a tech hub is no secret, and SXSW Interactive has become an institution. Cohen said TechStars wants to draw on Austin’s vibrant startup scene and the opportunity to tap into a deep well of potential mentors.
“TechStars exists to put the best mentors and the best entrepreneurs together in the best startup communities, so Austin is a natural next stop for us,” Cohen wrote on the TechStars blog.
“There is so much happening in Austin, and we are grateful to be joining the ranks of an already strong community,” he wrote.
TechStars will begin accepting applications today. About 1,000 companies have been applying to each class, and only about a dozen are selected. The Austin program will start in August.
According to stats provided by TechStars, 211 companies have completed the program, and collectively they’ve raised $326,182,595 from investors and now employ about 1,400 people.
In addition to mentorship and connections, TechStars makes an $18,000 seed investment in each company, provides office space and some services, and offers the companies a $100,000 convertible note. In return, the companies agree to give TechStars a 6 percent stake.
While it looks like TechStars is building the Austin program from scratch—in the past six months, it has acquired or merged with similar programs in London and Chicago—it will rely on some familiar faces. Jason Seats will be the managing director, a position he held at the TechStars Cloud program in San Antonio.
TechStars will make its home in the downtown Capital Factory, and its management played an important role in helping bring TechStars to Austin and getting it set up, Cohen said.
TechStars itself is in the midst of a rapid expansion. The first TechStars program was in the summer of 2007 in Boulder, CO. Cohen and noted VC Brad Feld were two of the program’s four co-founders.
Austin will be the seventh city where TechStars runs an accelerator. It also partners with companies such as Rackspace and Microsoft to run four accelerators that are “powered by TechStars.” Other recent partnerships include the Nike+ accelerator in Portland, OR, and the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator in New York.