Friday, October 30, 2015

A razor that uses a laser is an innovative product indeed

A razor that uses a laser is an innovative product indeed

While it sounds like something Dr. Evil invented, the laser razor is tuned to destroy hair, not skin.

Ever since people started shaving using sea shells back in ancient times, people have been in search of the perfect razor blade that will cut hair and leave the skin smooth and unmolested. The art of shaving has not greatly changed throughout the centuries, despite the invention of the safety razor and various other innovations. Shaving involves passing a sharp blade across the skin to cut the hair off.

However, according to ZME Science, a company called Morgan Gustavsson MBBS has developed an innovative product called the Skarp Laser Razor that promises to bring shaving into the 21st century, The Skarp does not use a blade, but rather a laser beam to cut hair off of the face or some other part of the body.

At first glance, the Skarp sounds like something Dr. Evil might have created as a torture implement (This is a razor with a fricking laser beam on it.) How does one use such a thing without slicing off one's skin?

Fortunately, one does not have to be a Jedi master to use the Skarp, The laser is tuned to destroy chromophore molecules found in all types of hair. Thus it can be used in safety.

The company is going through a round of crowdfunding investment using Kickstarter. When the Skarp is available, it will have a steep price, between $159 and $189. However, since the laser razor has a 50,000-hour operating life, the Skarp will soon pay for itself. The first preorders are due to be shipped in March 2016.

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Ensuring the Best Entrepreneurs Can Stay in the U.S.

At Techstars, it breaks our hearts when we see world class entrepreneurs come to this country to grow their startups, only to return home because of visa and immigration issues. These are bright founders who will be hiring, paying large salaries, paying taxes, and becoming productive members of our society, but they are turned away. This is asinine to me, we should be recruiting entrepreneurs to the U.S., not turning them away! It's bad for the startup, it's bad for the entrepreneur, and most importantly, it's bad for the U.S.

But luckily, there are some clever individuals out there that have come up with unique solutions to the visa issue for startups.

Organizations like the Global EIR Initiative, that lets entrepreneurs, backed by Techstars, work for a state university as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence, until they qualify for a permanent H1B visa directly with their own startup. Thanks to Brad Feld for all his work on this organization and this issue.

Or Unshackled, who hires the founder as a W2 employee of Unshackled, in exchange for equity, until that founder can qualify for their own permanent H1B visa.

Techstars is working closely with both of these organizations to help bring the world's best and most promising startups and entrepreneurs to the U.S. Hopefully the government is listening…

If you're part of a state or local initiative around immigration and visas, please reach out to me directly or in the comments below. We'd love to hear what you're doing.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Announcing The Launch of The Lang Scholars Program at Techstars NYC

I am very excited to announce the launch of a unique program and partnership between my alma mater, Columbia Business School, and Techstars NYC. This new program will take advantage of our organizations' shared home in New York City to provide students with a unique blend of world-class educational programming and real-world experience.

Managed by the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center at Columbia Business School and with oversight provided by the center's Director, Vince Ponzo, the Lang Scholars Program embeds a second year Columbia Business School student in each of the incoming Techstars NYC 2015 Fall Class. A total of fourteen hand-picked, high caliber Columbia Business School students are matched with each of our equally high caliber 14 Techstars NYC Fall Class.

Participating Columbia Business School students benefit from this program by having a front row seat into the hectic and rapid pace of an early stage startup and in the process, determining if such a career path is for them. In addition, these MBAs are able to call upon their MBA caliber education and previous work experience to make a direct, tangible impact at their matched company. Finally, Lang Scholars have an unprecedented opportunity to build their networks by being members of the amazing Techstars programming, environment and ecosystem.

For our fourteen Fall Techstars NYC companies, the benefits of gaining an extra pair of hands and having access to the experience and education of world-class MBA students will no doubt be an added advantage to them as they continue to scale. And for many of these fast growing companies, the possibility of adding a Columbia Business School MBA to the team, one that can hit the ground running on day one, is another huge plus.

For us, this initiative allows Techstars to further its vision of making entrepreneurship more accessible by encouraging students to consider entrepreneurship as a viable career path.

I am so excited to see what this synergy brings over the next three months and look forward to keeping you updated on its progress.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Techstars & Twitter Partner to Give Techstars’ Startups Access to Twitter Data

We're excited to announce that Techstars is partnering with Twitter to provide access to Twitter's data products to Techstars' companies during program.

This partnership provides startups (going through a Techstars accelerator program) the same access to Twitter's enterprise-ready APIs for social data that major corporations have. In addition, Twitter will provide consulting services to help Techstars' founders effectively apply social intelligence to products and services that they are creating.  For example, social media monitoring tools, business analytics, ad targeting and e-commerce.

Starting with Techstars' spring sessions in 2016, startups in program will have access to Twitter data to create innovative new data-driven solutions in their products.

This preferred access to Twitter data is another perk available to Techstars' founders. As part of the Techstars network, companies and founders have access to over 300 perks valued at over $1 million. These perks come from corporate partners and sponsors, mentor companies, Techstars companies, and others across our network. Yet another benefit of being part of the best global ecosystem for entrepreneurs.

We're excited about the possibilities that our Twitter partnership will bring to our companies!

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Techstars & Cedars-Sinai to Launch Healthcare Accelerator in Los Angeles

Techstars is excited to announce a new accelerator program with Cedars-Sinai focused on transforming innovation in health and healthcare delivery. Cedars and Techstars are committed to inviting the most promising and innovative entrepreneurs to Los Angeles to create the best new technology in the healthcare industry.

The Techstars Healthcare Accelerator, in partnership with Cedars-Sinai, will support the leading academic medical center's focus on developing innovative approaches to medicine and science that not only further enhance the quality of the care but ensure it is provided in a patient-centered, cost-effective manner. Cedars-Sinai, the largest nonprofit academic medical center in the western United States, is known internationally for providing the highest-quality, most advanced patient care.

The Techstars Healthcare Accelerator, in partnership with Cedars-Sinai, will offer companies with pioneering ideas that improve the quality, safety and efficiency of health and healthcare delivery with access to a vast array of resources, including mentors from Cedars-Sinai and the Techstars' network.

This is Techstars' second program in L.A. in addition to the hugely successful Disney program we've run over the past two years. Building upon the success of this program, we've developed a strong ecosystem of mentors and investors in L.A. to tap into. We are proud of this new partnership with Cedars-Sinai and look forward to continuing to grow the global entrepreneurial ecosystem around healthcare innovation!

The Techstars Healthcare Accelerator, in partnership with Cedars-Sinai, will kick off in Los Angeles in March 2016, and applications open today.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Announcing the New Managing Director for the Target Retail Accelerator

I'm excited to announce today that I'm joining Techstars to serve as Managing Director for the new Techstars Retail Accelerator, in partnership with Target, in Minneapolis. I cannot think of a more ideal local corporate partner  than Target to help bring the power of the Techstars network to Minneapolis! Target is a proud startup supporter that continues to push boundaries in design, customer retail experience, and, now — technology.

The retail industry is massive — and we are about to disrupt it. Worldwide, total retail sales were more than $22 trillion in 2014. That's trillion with a "T." No other industry integrates into every aspect of today's economy and our day-to-day life. Retail technology is a huge opportunity and to most observers, still in its infancy.

This is not the first time my path has crossed with Techstars, and in a way, it brings things full circle for me since I hastily packed up a truck and moved with my wife to Boulder from Minneapolis in 2008. I had just been accepted into the CU-Boulder MBA program and was looking for new opportunities and a change of scenery. Having recently sold my first business I started while at the University of Minnesota, I was eager to continue my founder journey under the backdrop of the Rocky mountains. Boulder was undergoing massive transformation at the time, and when I left in 2012, this small city was firmly planted amongst the top startup communities in the U.S.

When we made the transition back to Minneapolis, I plugged back into the startup scene and was impressed by the quality of founders and startups here. It was clear that there was something special brewing.

As I surveyed the startup scene in Minneapolis, I wanted to help connect Minneapolis founders to the rest of the world. I decided to create Matchstick Ventures to help fund early-stage tech companies in the Twin Cities and in other startup communities across the country. I also co-founded Beta.MN to showcase local startup companies and provide networking opportunities and connections for founders. Finally, I co-founded Twin Cities Startup Week to further unite and shine a national spotlight on the startup community.

What was missing all that time? Techstars! Which is why this announcement is such an exciting day for me and why I am so bullish on Retail + Techstars + Target + Minneapolis combination. I've been involved in the creation of this program helping to drive initial discussions and can't wait to get it up and running. I've seen firsthand how Techstars can be a force for good in the cities it operates in and I'm excited to bring it back home to Minneapolis.

Have a startup that plans disrupt the retail industry? Let's chat. Hit me up at or on Twitter @rbroshar.

The program will kick off in June in Minneapolis. Applications are open – apply here!

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Monday, October 19, 2015

3D Printed guides for regrowing nerves is an innovative product that could allow the paralyzed to walk

3D Printed guides for regrowing nerves is an innovative product that could allow the paralyzed to walk

A new product could help reverse paralysis by implanting a 3-D printed "guide" to help the nerves grow back correctly.

Regrowing nerves that have been damaged due to disease or injuries is one of the holy grails of medicine. If one could accomplish this feat, a variety of forms of paralysis could become treatable.

Gizmag reported recently on the work of a group of researchers from the University of Minnesota, Virginia Tech, University of Maryland, Princeton University, and Johns Hopkins University who have hit upon a way to repair damaged nerves using 3D printing. The technique does not involve the 3D printing of nerves, at least directly.

Instead, the researchers use a 3D printer to create a silicone "guide," an innovative product that is then implanted in the body of the patient. With biochemical "cues" added, the guide helps to regrow the damaged nerve, repairing the damage. The work has concentrated on the sciatic nerve, one of the larger nerves that control muscles of the thigh, lower leg, and foot. Experiments with rats have been met with considerable success.

The next step will likely be human trials. The way it would work is that doctors would scan a model of the nerve that was injured, perhaps using another living human or a cadaver. Then the silicone guide would be printed and implanted. The process of scanning and printing would take about an hour. Based on lab and rat studies, the nerves would take several weeks to grow back.

The implications of the research are mind blowing. People who have been consigned to wheelchairs for the remainder of their lives would now be giving back the ability to walk. The effect on the quality of life for millions of people will be profound.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A New Startup Weekend Website Just In Time For Global Startup Battle!

We're excited to announce a new online home for Startup Weekend. The new site is something we've been working toward for a while and today we're finally setting it free.

Just in time for Global Startup Battle, the world's biggest startup competition, the new site is here to make it much easier to find a Startup Weekend. You can now search by Region, Edition, or by using the Map view.

GSB 2015 will feature:

  • 5 Themed Tracks to compete in, including a new Open Track that invites teams from everywhere to join the fun for the first time ever
  • Huge prizes to help your startup move forward
  • Big name judges
  • A global hashtag battle

Learn more about the competition and how you can participate at

Find an event near you and be a part of the rally for innovation!

An initiative created by Startup Weekend, Global Startup Battle aims to generate a stronger global community of entrepreneurs through the largest startup competition in the world. During the weekend prior to and following Global Entrepreneurship Week, hundreds of Startup Weekend and other Techstars Community Programs are hosted around the world. Winning teams from each event move forward to compete with one another via a global video competition. Global Startup Battle enriches the global entrepreneurial community by creating a sense of inclusion between startup teams around the world.

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Announcing the 11 Companies for Techstars METRO 2015

It's my sincere pleasure to announce the first class of Techstars METRO in Berlin, Germany.

Techstars has partnered with the world's leading wholesaler of independent hotels and restaurants, METRO AG, as well as R/GA, the world's leading digital branding and marketing agency, to help accelerate 11 hospitality and food-tech companies.

While this is the first year for Techstars METRO, we received applications from over 20 countries from all over the world. From SaaS platforms to hardware and eCommerce to mobile, these companies represent the cutting edge of innovation for the way independently-run hotels and restaurants do business.

Here is the incredible first class of Techstars METRO:

Coffee Cloud has developed an application with wireless connection for espresso machines that counts how many cups of coffee are made in real time and saves the data in Cloud. All drinks are reliably billed. At the same time, the device monitors the machines and informs the user when an appliance has to be repaired or cleaned.
Flowtify develops a tablet-app for quality and HACCP-management for restaurateurs and restaurants. HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) is a concept for risk assessment of critical control points and serves as a preventative system for consumer protection by hygiene regulations. Using paperless checklists, employees can exercise, document and archive quality measure. is a B2B online shop for kitchen technology and restaurant/catering equipment. From small food stands to canteen kitchens, customers can easily order napkins, industrial refrigerators or patio heaters online. helps to raise donations for aid projects. When a group books a table at a participating restaurant, a percent of the bill will be donated to a help project of their choosing. Restaurants can this way increase their capacity in difficult times.
Users tell Journy what they want to see and do in any particular city. The service then consults local experts and puts together an individual tailor-made travel plan. The package costs 50 dollars per city.
Lunchio is an online waiter and restaurant guide for lunch. Users select a restaurant in their city, pre-order their favourite meal and pay. When they arrive at the restaurant, they don't have to wait and can eat their lunch right away.
Thanks for Poshpacker, travelers can easily and affordably book creative hotels, hostels or apartments around the world. The hotel booking site distinguishes itself from the competition by offering extraordinary places to sleep like igloos and caves.
Roomatic allows hotel guests to communicate their needs with their smartphone. The user orders a taxi by app or registers a problem easily with the application, or get in touch directly with room service.
rublys is a gambling mobile-marketing-instrument with which companies can win new customers. With the app and free of cost, users can choose scratch cards from companies, scratch and win prizes.
Wynd offers a software package with various modules for restaurateurs to help them digitalize their restaurants or cafés.
1001menus has developed a restaurant software that helps restaurants to create their own websites in a quick and simple way, as well as to manage their reservations. Furthermore, restaurants can easily let their customers know what's new, like changes to the menu, with their newsletter and social media tool.

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Monday, October 12, 2015

The Power of the Network: Techstars Alums Naritiv + Sphero Work Together on Innovative Snapchat Campaign

A few weeks ago, we covered the story of how two Techstars alumni, Sphero and Naritiv (both from Disney accelerator '14), worked together on the launch of BB-8™, the App-Enabled Droid by Sphero, based on the character from the upcoming Star Wars™ film. Sphero was looking for a partner — who could move at the speed of startup — to tell their story globally. They found that in Naritiv, who brought the technology, analytics and Snapchat expertise to lead the campaign and measure its success.

"Our marketing is completely intentional to what we want people to see, feel, and experience," explains Ross Ingram, Head of Community & Marketing Programs at Sphero. "Everything starts with a story."

The companies joined forces to launch a new platform for the Sphero brand using Snapchat to create more meaningful human interactions and shared experiences. For this campaign, they built creative content by capturing the excitement of the global Force Friday event with Snapchat influencers in Paris, London, Dublin, New York, and San Francisco, as well as Sphero team members snapchatting in Tokyo, Milan, and Chicago, launching BB-8 into the world.

Check out the campaign highlights:

  • 10.3m views in just over 24 hours
  • 69.1m seconds watched
  • In the total number of seconds watched, you could watch all six Star Wars movies 1,445 times!
  • The Snapchat Stories extended the conversation to other social platforms bringing nearly a half a million additional fan engagements.
  • Check out the Sphero Force Friday Snapchat Recap in these fun video highlights.

Congratulations to Naritiv, Sphero and Disney on such a successful collaboration!

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Techstars & Barclays Expand FinTech Accelerator Programs in Cape Town and Tel Aviv

Techstars is excited to announce the expansion of our partnership with Barclays with two new accelerator programs in Cape Town, South Africa, and Tel Aviv, Israel, focused on the FinTech market. This brings the Barclays Accelerator, Powered by Techstars' programs to four, across four continents, including existing programs in London and New York.

In partnership with Techstars, Barclays is actively embracing the expertise in the global startup ecosystem to help bring innovate technologies to the future of financial services. The Barclays Accelerator, Powered by Techstars programs in Cape Town and Tel Aviv will provide 20 companies focused on FinTech and cyber security innovation with the opportunity to participate in Techstars' three month, intensive, mentorship-driven accelerator.

Greg Rogers, previously the Techstars Managing Director (MD) for Barclays Accelerator in London, will now oversee all Barclays Accelerator programs in an Executive Director role. Chris Adelsbach, entrepreneur and FinTech veteran, has taken over management of the London Barclays Accelerator program. Jenny Fielding will continue as the MD for the Barclays Accelerator program in New York. Cape Town and Tel Aviv MDs will be announced soon.

Founders and startups from around the world can apply for the Barclays Accelerator, Powered by Techstars, at

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

How To Build and Scale a Customer Success Team from Scratch

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 8.43.29 PM

One of the most critical elements your company can invest in early on is a holistic focus on the success of high-growth customers, starting from the moment they sign up for your product.

Customer Success is a hot topic – In this post I will share introductory knowledge on how we approach Customer Success at DigitalOcean, tools we've created to monitor customer health, and our engagement mechanisms. If this is your first foray into Customer Success, I hope you'll be able to apply our concepts to help shape your process as you scale your startup.

So…what is Customer Success anyway?

Customer Success (CS) is an organizational approach to cultivating high-growth customer loyalty. Customers won't stick with you if you don't have a team, processes, and tools to ensure they continually find value in your service quality and product. This is not to say you shouldn't value every customer, because you should. However, your high-growth customers are likely to have more stringent support needs, and in many cases, a larger footprint utilization of your services.

A "high-growth customer" means something different for every organization; it could be the highest spending customers, potential partners, or even a customer that will bring in consistent revenue.

Below is a recent quote from Dusty Davidson, CEO of Flywheel, that illustrates the impact Customer Success can have on your customer life cycle:

"We've worked with DigitalOcean since very early on in their life – I think they had launched something like 8,000 droplets at the time (vs 7M+ today). To say that the support we've received over the years has improved is a tremendous understatement, and I can almost pinpoint the inflection point to when they brought on a dedicated Customer Success team to deal with large customers like Flywheel. Today our teams interact regularly – on support, new features, upgrades and more – and we know that they're deeply invested in our success as a customer and are dedicated to helping us grow."

Outreach at time of sign-up

In most organizations Customer Success gets involved with a high-growth customer after a hand-off from the Account Executive team. At DigitalOcean, our CS team is a hybrid of inside sales and account management – We reach out to potential high-growth customers at time of sign-up.

Our CS team created an internal tool that tracks real-time information to segment potential VIP customers.


(Note: client contact info is removed as well as a few internal metric columns)

From the moment a customer signs up to DigitalOcean, our Customer Success Engineers can see how much funding they've raised, who their investors are, and how quickly they are growing in terms of company size and social media presence. We complement this private company data with a few internal product usage metrics to predict end of month spend.

After we've defined a core set of target customer indicators to build our CS funnel, we implement ongoing KPI metrics to continue honing in on our high-growth customers. A few examples of ongoing CS KPI metrics include: conversion rate, spend percentage increase, and total month over month revenue increase.

There are great tools out there that can provide your company with private growth indicators. One of tools we leverage is Mattermark. I recommend signing up for their trial if you want to learn more about their proprietary mindshare and growth score metrics.

Once you've created a funnel of high-growth potential customers, it's time to reach out!
The more technical your product is, the more your customers will appreciate outreach up front. By outreach, I mean helping customers get started with your product and learning more about their business needs to understand how you can best support them. At DigitalOcean, a Customer Success Engineer will reach out to offer assistance around cloud architecture planning, product overview, cost spend analysis, and more. Even just offering a more direct contact for them to reach you goes a long way.

Summary: Automate the ability to segment who's signing up to your product, reach out to your high potentials early in the funnel, and see an increase in not only conversion, but also revenue spend of those conversions.

Identify a VIP health score

You have excellent relationships with customers and a pulse on every single one of their needs, right? It's nearly impossible to stay on top of this –

A Customer Success management tool comes in handy by tracking customer spend, feature requests, product feedback, and utilization trends. It's a no brainer – the earlier you reach out to a churning customer, the better. It all comes down to building a comprehensive customer health score that makes the most sense for your product and customers. At DigitalOcean, we look at items like: droplet creates vs. destroys, sentiment of last interaction with customer, and how deeply integrated the customer is with our various services.

(Client information is removed as well as a few internal metric columns)

The "guardian" feature of our tool allows us to directly send re-engagement emails to our VIP customers. If we get no response, we know it's probably time to pick up the phone; the customer may be ready to churn, and we need to avoid churn at all costs!

This leads me to emphasize how necessary it is to have real-time indicators. Below you can see one of our bots that reports in real-time to the #customer-success Slack channel when a user begins to destroy servers, and more importantly if that type of action is out of ordinary for the customer.


Cultivate a "customer first" mentality

All of this funnel building and health score data should support the most crucial mission of your Customer Success team which is preventing churn. At DigitalOcean, we do this by providing great technical support, managing customer expectations, looping feedback to the product team, and most importantly ensuring our team goes above and beyond for customers in every interaction.

Below you'll see the churn data of our high growth customers in the past 6 months, it's something that DigitalOcean is very proud of. While we've gone to great lengths to build technological tools to funnel potential VIPs and nurture their health and loyalty, a tool means nothing without the effort of a strong CS team.


There are many aspects of the business that your CS team will have little control over. At DigitalOcean, our mantra and the core of our culture is to go above and beyond for our customers in every interaction, and finding ways to proactively fight for their best interests. If your customers know this about your team, they will be your biggest champions in the field!

Build the right Customer Success team

Rather than hiring traditional "Technical Account Managers", DigitalOcean's Customer Success Engineers comprises of linux sys admins and developers with experience in Python and Ruby on Rails. Due to the technical nature of our product, it was critical for us to cater the positions around the needs of our customers.

Not only do our CS Engineers roll up their sleeves to problem solve technical issues with customers, but to our benefit, they have actually built the very tools that we use internally to manage customer success.

Build vs. buy is a whole other topic, so we'll focus on why building our own tools significantly helped our Customer Success initiatives. The initial time investment needed was roughly about 1 month, if you focus only on building "what works" vs. something that will be featured on Dribbble. Our tool simply WORKS. It's fully customizable, dedicated features that actually mean something to us, and immediate changes can be made as needed.

Having a customer management tool gives you the ability to map your customer's entire journey, which will allow your team to focus more on impact(rather than spend time figuring out how to make a difference).

From first-hand experience, I understand that building a Customer Success team from scratch at a start-up can be daunting. Where do you start? Balance the pressure to accelerate from 0 to 60 MPH, and take the time to build your foundation: define high-growth customers, build your outreach process from time of sign-up, identify health score metrics, promote a "customer-first" mentality, and then focus on building the right team around you.

I spent my first 3 weeks on the job just talking to customers and learning from their experience with DigitalOcean's product. What were we doing well? What were the opportunities for improvement? Above all else it is critical to tap into the voice of your customer. Empower your customers to help define what Customer Success means to your organization.

I hope this post will be useful to you as you build out your own Customer Success team and startup. If you have any questions, ideas, or feedback, feel free to reach out to me directly at edward [at] digitalocean [dot] com

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Monday, October 5, 2015

Startup Next Fall Program Announcement by Techstars

Techstars is excited to announce 16 Startup Next pre-acceleration programs taking place this fall in 10 countries across 4 continents. Startup Next is now part of Techstars, which brings an extended network of mentors, investors and entrepreneurs, providing more opportunities to Startup Next companies.

If you're a startup trying to get into a top tier accelerator or raise a seed round, have a well-rounded founding team in place and are at least at the MVP stage, this is for you! Find a program near you and apply. The program is free of charge and no equity is taken.

Startup Next is a mentorship driven program and consists of 3-hour weekly sessions for 6 weeks. This way founders are able to continue building their product, while receiving top quality mentorship and getting access to a global network. Startups that complete the program will move their business closer to product/market fit and be better prepared to answer the tough questions any accelerator or investor will ask.

After the program, Startup Next team will be helping alumni startups with referrals to a large network of accelerators and seed investors worldwide. So far, Startup Next has helped more than 50 startups get into 30 different accelerators and raise more than $40 million dollars in funding.

Check out for more details and feel free to reach out to with any questions. See application deadlines and program dates below.

City Applications close Program starts
Toronto 5-Oct 19-Oct
Dublin 7-Oct 21-Oct
Santiago 7-Oct 21-Oct
Madrid 8-Oct 13-Oct
Mumbai 10-Oct 24-Oct
Los Angeles 12-Oct 26-Oct
San Francisco 13-Oct 27-Oct
Recife 15-Oct 29-Oct
Hong Kong 16-Oct 27-Oct
Austin 19-Oct 2-Nov
NYC 26-Oct 9-Nov
Lisbon TBD TBD
Buenos Aires TBD TBD
Boston TBD TBD
Seattle TBD TBD
Montreal TBD TBD
Mexico City TBD TBD

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Now a wearable innovation collects data on football player performance in real time

Now a wearable innovation collects data on football player performance in real time

The Internet of Things has made its way into professional athletics with a system that picks up and records real-time data about gameplay in football from players' shoulder pads.

Implantable and wearable devices that send information to the Internet, known collectively as the Internet of Things, is starting to affect everything from home appliances to healthcare. According to ZME Science, the technology is starting to penetrate professional athletics.

The National Football League has taken the initiative of providing every player with tags, essentially RFID devices, that will be planted in each shoulder pad. Stadiums are being equipped with receivers that will pick up data from the tags, including field position, speed, distance traveled and acceleration. The data will be generated and distributed in real time.

One can imagine the applications for this innovation. Every kind of statistic imaginable for each individual player will be available instantly to sportscasters and spectators, both at the stadium and at home, to discuss and argue about.

More importantly, the data will be available to coaches and the players themselves. The data can be used to help improve the performance of the players and to catch problem areas in advance.

One can imagine the technology going further, for instance, sensor devices being implanted in the ball. Then the ball's velocity and flight path would be ascertained in real time. The degree of inflation could also be determined, preventing the reoccurrence of the recent deflation scandal.

One should also look for the technology to spread to other sports that involve people running fast after balls, such as baseball and basketball. The gathering of information and the use of it to improve performance would take a giant leap in sports as a result.

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Friday, October 2, 2015

Techstars & PwC to Launch IoT Accelerator in NYC

Techstars is excited to announce a new accelerator program with PwC focused on the IoT (Internet of Things) market. PwC is a founding partner in a consortium of companies for the Techstars IoT Accelerator. The program will bring industry leaders in the new IoT market together with the most innovative emerging startups in the industry for our three month, mentorship-driven  accelerator program.

The Techstars IoT program will take place in New York in 2016, and applications will open later this year.  Application deadlines, program dates and additional information will be released soon.

By 2020, an estimated 50 billion devices around the globe will be connected to the Internet – the majority of which will be sensors, actuators, and newly invented intelligent devices that monitor, control, analyze, and optimize our world.  Products ranging from connected consumer devices to industrial solutions will be candidates for this program.  Estimates of potential economic impact by 2020 range from $2 trillion to more than $14 trillion.

Whether it's a BrewBot to make your next batch of craft beer, a motion sensor from Notion, or baby monitoring with Owlet, Techstars has a successful history of nurturing and supporting the fundraising of IoT companies.  

Techstars is following the successful model that has been proven with Techstars Mobility, driven by Detroit, to engage multiple partners in the Techstars IoT program. We are excited that PwC has chosen to lead the way as a founding partner.

For partners who would like to participate or founders who would like more information before applications open, contact


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