American Idol, Startup Style: TechStars Reality Show to Debut on Bloomberg TV

8/2/11Follow @arleneweintraub

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echoes that sentiment. “Starting a company is really hard, and doing so in three months is even harder,” Tisch says. “We wanted a show to capture the true essence of that, not to be scripted.”

Cohen says the show starts from the time that TechStars selected 11 finalists from 600 applications. It then tracks those entrepreneurs through the program’s culmination—the April 14th demo day, a glitzy affair during which the companies pitched themselves to 700 venture capitalists.

Judging from the “TechStars” trailer, the entrepreneurs were sometimes overwhelmed, or at the least exhausted, during their three months of intense coaching. OnSwipe founder and CEO Jason Baptiste (also an Xconomist) is shown sleeping in the office. But Baptiste clearly wasn’t sleeping on the job: In June, just a few months after the series ended, OnSwipe—which makes a publishing platform for tablet computers—raised $5 million in a “Series Awesome” (and yes, the company’s investors really called it that).

Cohen says seven companies that participated in the TechStars New York inaugural class have received funding and “there are more that haven’t announced yet.” He hopes the Bloomberg TV show brings attention to the program and the value of entrepreneurship in general. “TechStars’ philosophy is to be open-source,” he says. “We want to help people understand the value of mentorship and to catch the entrepreneurial bug.”

Not to toot our own horn or anything, but it’s worth noting that Xconomy actually proposed a TechStars movie last fall. We thought it might even be better than “The Social Network,” especially if Cohen were played by Jon Favreau and Tisch by Shia LeBeouf. Ok, so Bloomberg TV isn’t quite Hollywood, but it’s close enough.

TechStars Trailer from Vortex Media on Vimeo.

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