Build Locally, Thrive Globally: CEO David Cohen on Techstars’ Future

8/12/13Follow @davidcohen

As we wrap up our seventh year of the Boulder Techstars program, it’s been a time to reflect on the past and look to the future. Not just the future of Techstars, but of startups everywhere. Because we strongly believe that we’re making a difference that spreads far beyond the companies we invest in or even the cities where we work. We hope to continue this by leveraging the power of the network to help startups interact, collaborate, and succeed on a global scale.

At Demo Day last week, we had all four Techstars founders together on stage. It was really fun, especially since the four of us don’t get to see each other all at once very often. It was also a perfect opportunity to remember where we started and talk about where we’re headed next.

In 2006, David Brown, Brad Feld, Jared Polis, and I launched Techstars, and we ran our first program in the summer of 2007. Our primary goal at the time was to create a better way to invest at the early stage—a different way of doing things so that angel investors could better understand what the startups were all about.

We had another goal in mind, too. We wanted to help Boulder grow into an even better place for startups, so that investors wouldn’t have to leave town to find great companies, and entrepreneurs wouldn’t feel like they had to move to Silicon Valley just to have a shot at making it.

We wanted to accomplish these goals by creating something new, something that didn’t exist at the time—a mentorship-driven accelerator. The idea was to combine hands-on, intense mentorship with some seed investment, to help the best startups have the best possible chance at success.

This concept of combining top-notch mentors with carefully selected startup teams has proven to be a winning combination. Techstars is now in seven locations, one of which is our first overseas program in London, and we have programs with corporate partners including Nike and Kaplan. We’re funding … Next Page »

David Cohen is the founder and CEO of Techstars. Follow @davidcohen

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