We were super excited to host TechStars for a Day in Boston which treated a few early bird applicants to a one-day minicamp of a day in the life of TechStars. We wanted to share a piece of that experience with you…
Bill Warner (TechStars Mentor who helped bring TS to Boston), Katie Rae (Managing Director, TS Boston), David Cohen (TS Founder)
Katie Rae, Managing Director for TechStars Boston, and David Cohen, TechStar’s Founder & CEO, were joined by mentors and alumni to give applicants a feel for what it’s like to spend an intensive 3 months in one of the top startup incubators. One which is said to be harder to get into then Harvard (they already have over 400 applications for Boston and expect 600 by the January 31st deadline. Only 10 will be selected into the program).
TechStars mentors offered sometimes whimsical, sometimes inspirational advice to founders:
“Why would you do something that doesn’t matter when there are big problems you can be working on?” asked Jules Pieri of Daily Grommet.
Justin Siegel of MocoSpace taught us how to say no so we can focus on the important stuff, calling no a “proxy for focus.”
And Bill Warner lightened the afternoon’s tone by reminding us all to follow our hearts.
Alumni like John Laramie of AdStruc (Boulder TechStars class of 2010) shared their own experiences at TechStars: “One of the most moving things TechStars says to those they accept is ‘We didn’t invest in your ideas, we invested in you.’”
Shane Taylor of ScriptPad (Boulder TechStars 2010) spoke of how unsustainable and unhealthy the rapid pace of TechStars is but how that’s the very beauty of the program, “It’s an awful experience, but it’s the most rewarding experience of your life.”
And some of the Boston TechStars 2010 alum talked of the great lengths they went through to participate. Leon Noel, CEO of SocialSci, took a leave of absence from Yale during the 2nd semester of his senior year (so close!). Daniel Sullivan, Founder of Appswell, had a baby and started TechStars within a 10 day period! Incredibly though, the relationships they formed were so close and valuable that even now, all 10 of the TechStars Boston 2010 class have remained within a 3 block radius of one another – some taking up residence at Dogpatch Labs Boston, others in Cambridge Innovation Center’s C3 coworking space.
But I think the most valuable part of the day was the networking that occurred, where applying startups had a chance to talk 1 on 1 with mentors and alumni alike to learn – as Bill Warner taught us – just how important the people really are.