Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Attend Denver Startup Week and take the next step in scaling up!

Techstars is proud to be a part of the 4th annual Denver Startup Week!  Denver Startup Week is bringing innovation to life by taking the skills and drive of an entire team; founders, developers, product managers, designers, marketers, sales teams, and makers. It is where every member of that team can come to learn, grow, and be ready to take on the next challenge.

Techstars is heavily involved in the programming at Chase Basecamp on Thursday, Oct. 1. Chase is a the national title sponsor of Startup Week in partnership with Techstars. Six other cities this year are Chase sponsored: Seattle, Tampa Bay, Phoenix, Dallas, Columbus and Detroit. Learn more about the partnership here.

With 232 events on the Denver Startup Week 2015 schedule (and more being added each day), there's something for everyone!  All events are free, but registration is required.

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Check out these upcoming #DENStartupWeek #ChaseBasecamp events with Techstars:

Why Colorado Is A Great Place To Be An Entrepreneur – Thursday, 10/1 8:00am — 9:30am. In this panel discussion, we will discuss and explore what concerted efforts—focusing on Startup Colorado and the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network—are taking place to support entrepreneurs from getting involved in the entrepreneurial community, to early stage companies, and up through fast-paced gazelles ready for a major exit event.

Feld & Friends – Thursday, 10/1 12:00pm — 1:30pm. Join Brad Feld of Foundry Group and he brings his favorite #squad members to chat about investing, startups, and life as an entrepreneur.

Founders Story: Brad Feld Of Foundry Group – Thursday, 10/1 3:00pm — 3:30pm. Join us daily from 3:15 to 3:45 at Basecamp for a quick chat with a superstar Colorado startup founder.

Pitch Techstars – Thursday, 10/1 4:00pm — 6:00pm. Six lucky individuals will get the chance to pitch Natty Zola of Techstars and get feedback.

Check out the full schedule for Denver Startup Week here.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Discussion of Accelerators with Brad Feld & Ian Hathaway

The economist Ian Hathaway recently interviewed Brad Feld, Techstars co-founder and Managing Director of the Foundry Group, about the startup accelerator phenomenon.

In this video discussion, they cover the origin of accelerators, startup communities, seed stage investing, immersive education, the downside of learning by doing, and the value of mentorship. Brad offers best practice tips for accelerators around mentor dynamics, program rhythm, and investor engagement. He also explains how founder stress and conflict can help to build the muscle which eventually helps startups succeed.

If you've been through an accelerator, are a mentor to an accelerator program, or are interested in what's important around accelerators — check it out.

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Meet 14 New Techstars Companies from Fall 2015 NYC Class

We are very pleased to announce the new Techstars class here in NYC. This will be our 7th session in the city, and my third as the Managing Director. The class started this week, and will end with the demo day on December 17th.

We had an overwhelming amount of high quality applicants. Thank you very much to everyone who applied. Fourteen companies that made it into the class represent less than 0.8% of applications. Seven of the companies are from NYC, two from Los Angeles, and one from Bay Area, Boston, and Seattle respectively. We also have two international teams – one from Paris and another one from Lagos, Nigeria. This is the first time that a company from Africa made it into a Techstars NYC class! 

Techstars NYC continues its commitment to funding exceptional, technology-focused founders. The companies in this class are working on improving mobile search, automating shopping and help desk assistance, making it easier to buy health insurance, building intelligence platform for law enforcement and teaching girls how to code through programmable jewelry. We are also very excited to welcome back an alumni, Jason Baptiste, who previously went through Techstars NYC as the CEO of OnSwipe. His new company is called Morsel.

We want to take this opportunity to thank the 70 Techstars NYC alumni companies and 150 mentors for their ongoing and generous support. We look forward to an amazing session this Fall.

Here are the companies:​

 1442614714375 Flip enables people to buy and sell leases from each other.
Gorgias builds customer support software powered by machine intelligence to maximize productivity.
GreatHorn is a cloud security platform that detects and prevents data breaches.
Haubby is a SaaS platform for beauty freelancers, offering client engagement, business management and product sales tools.
Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 4.06.50 PM Homemade is a marketplace for homemade food.
Impact Health helps consumers select and buy optimal health insurance.
Jewelbots are programmable friendship bracelets that teach girls to code.
LiveLike is creating a live-sports viewing platform that combines the immersiveness of Virtual Reality with the power of social.
MAX is hyper-local on demand delivery for Urban Africa.
Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 4.09.10 PM Mona is using machine learning to create a fully automated retail shopping assistant.
Morsel is a monthly lunch subscription service delivering healthy meals to your desk.
Sailo is an online boat rental marketplace.

CEO Adrian Gradinaru  |  http://www.sailo.com  |  founders@sailo.com

Slash is a smart mobile keyboard making it easy to share anything, without switching apps.
SPIDR is the next generation communication and intelligence platform for law enforcement.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Introducing The Techstars Foundation, a Non-Profit to Improve Diversity in Technology Entrepreneurship

Today we are excited to launch the Techstars Foundation.

Over the past year, many of our alumni, investors, and mentors have encouraged us to think hard about inclusive entrepreneurship. We decided that we wanted to do something very meaningful that would have a lasting impact on this issue — so we created the Techstars Foundation. The goal of the foundation is to improve diversity in tech entrepreneurship by providing opportunities for underrepresented entrepreneurs through grants, scholarships, and sponsorships.

Founders and employees of Techstars, along with a number of alumni and mentors, have made an initial cash contribution to the Techstars Foundation, which launches today with more than $500,000. We are thrilled to offer a way for Techstars accelerator alumni, partners, mentors, Startup Weekend and Next alumni, and other supporters to Give First by providing access and opportunity to underrepresented minorities and – together – create stronger entrepreneur communities worldwide.

The Techstars Foundation is fortunate to have the guidance of an incredible board of advisors, including Brad Feld (Managing Director, Foundry Group), Mary Grove (Director, Google for Entrepreneurs), Jenny Lawton (Chief Strategy Officer, littleBits), Rod Robinson (Founder and CEO, Connxus), and Lucy Sanders (Founder and CEO, National Center for Women and Information Technology).

If you would like to get involved, please consider donating cash or stock to the Techstars Foundation. You can also name the foundation as a beneficiary. Your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Demo Day Round Up: September 2015

It's been busy lately at Techstars' accelerator programs around the world with FIVE demo days this month. From Berlin to Boston to Boulder, and in the world of Robotics and Mobility, we've welcomed 50 new companies into the Techstars family!  Here's a quick recap:

Berlin Class of 2015

It was the first year for a Techstars program in Berlin and the event went off without a hitch! Managing Director, Jens Lapinski, showcased this exciting class in a beautiful old theater in Berlin. The founders' pitches were well received as the audience learned about solutions for online collaboration, booking musicians, sports venues, online tutoring and more.

Congratulations to the Berlin class of 2015!

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Boston Class of 2015

Led by Managing Director, Semyon Dukach, the Boston Demo Day was a big night showcasing the best of Beantown and beyond. One highlight of the night included the 100 year old co-founder of the iconic restaurant chain, Friendly's, S. Prestley Blake, who introduced his grandson, ThriveHive co-founder, Adam Blake. Founder wisdom passed on through the generations!

Congratulations to the Techstars class of Boston '15!

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Boulder Class of 2015

This year marks the ninth class of the Boulder program, led this year by new Managing Directors, Zach Nies and Natty Zola. Founders were invited to take a step towards corporate philanthropy with Pledge 1%. Techstars co-founders David Brown and Brad Feld took the stage to talk about local success story, Sphero, Techstars global growth and the entrepreneur's journey. During the evening, Zach also announced that the spring 2016 Boulder Demo Day will align with Boulder Startup Week!

Congratulations to the Boulder class of 2015!

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Qualcomm Robotics Accelerator, powered by Techstars

Epic. That's the word used to describe the inaugural Qualcomm Robotics Accelerator, powered by Techstars, Demo Day in San Diego, CA, last week. Ryan Kuder, Managing Director of the program, led the event, which showcased some of the most innovative robotics technology on the market. Robotic arms, robots for gaming, drones and bringing natural sunlight indoors are only a few of the amazing products that came out of this hugely successful show!

Congratulations to the Qualcomm class of 2015!


Techstars Mobility, driven by Detroit

The resurgence of Detroit is palpable. Led by Managing Director, Ted Serbinski, the Mobility demo day showcased exciting new technologies that address the movement of people, goods, and services —increasing mobility and productivity. The big news of the night was that two of the companies, My Dealer Service and SPLT, will make Detroit their new home!

Congratulations to the Mobility class of 2015!

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 12.41.05 PM

During the event, a film promo was premiered – Restarting the Motor City – a documentary feature focused on the cultural, economic and social shifts happening in Detroit on the back of innovation and entrepreneurship. A Kickstarter for the film was also announced to fund the next stage of production. Good luck to Long Haul films on this awesome project!

 

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Techstars & Target to Launch Retail Accelerator in Minneapolis

Techstars is excited to announce a new accelerator program with Target focused on retail innovation. Target and Techstars are committed to inviting the most promising and innovative entrepreneurs to Minneapolis to create the best new technology in the retail industry.

The Techstars Retail Accelerator, in partnership with Target, will launch next year and will open the doors to any startup that aspires to improve the retail experience, whether online, in-store or a combination of both.

The partnership, which will seek innovations that address all aspects of retail, will have a powerful impact on the Minneapolis / Twin Cities startup community. The area was recently named by Forbes as one of the fastest growing for tech jobs in the U.S. and Target's investment in building the startup community will only accelerate this growth.

The Techstars program, a three-month, immersive, mentorship-driven startup accelerator, will be based near Target's headquarters in downtown Minneapolis, MN. Important application dates will be announced before the end of the year along with further details.

For founders who want more information before applications open, contact retail@techstars.com.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Seattle Startup Week is Back and Bigger than Ever!

Seattle Startup Week is back, and this year's organizers are expecting it to be bigger than ever. Registration opened today on the Seattle Startup Week website, and you can sign up and attend as many events as you'd like!

Seattle Startup Week 1

Seattle Startup Week is a free, five-day celebration of the Seattle startup community happening October 26-30, 2015, that builds momentum and opportunity around entrepreneurship. It's led by local entrepreneurs and hosted in amazing spaces all over town.

One of those spaces is Basecamp, Powered by Chase. For the second year in a row Basecamp will take place at Impact HUB Seattle, 220 2nd Ave S, Seattle, WA. Basecamp is a great place to network, recharge and take in great programming. Plus, they have daily Happy Hours from 4-6pm that are always a lot of fun!

Here are some programming highlights for the week:

    Monday, Oct. 26 // Intellectual Property Essentials for the Hyper-growth Startup

–    Tuesday, Oct. 27 // Operation Failure: Learning that failure is a constant

–    Wednesday, Oct. 28 // Sustainable Design for Hardware Startups

–    Thursday, Oct. 29 // Grit and Resilience: What You Need to Scale Up

–    Friday, Oct. 30 // Rethinking 21st Century Higher Education

Check back often as new programs will be added daily leading up to the event.

While Seattle Startup Week is mostly about learning, there's also a lot of celebrating that goes. The Opening and Closing Parties are not to be missed. It's a great way to connect with others to celebrate the spirit of entrepreneurship.

And of course, none of this would be possible without the generous support of the Seattle Startup Week sponsors. We'd like to thank Chase for their continued support of Startup Week and for returning again this year as the title sponsor. Their support of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Seattle is truly remarkable and we're very thankful to have them as a partner.

Sign up today to get your all-access pass and RSVP for as many programs as you'd like!

To follow the event on social, use these hashtags: #ChaseBasecamp, #StartupWeekSEA.

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Challenging the crowd to tackle diseases

Ahead of next week's Global Genes Patient Advocacy Summit, we've been reflecting on the different patient groups and disease areas the crowd has been challenged to work on over the years.

The ability to focus the crowd's attention upon a specific, unaddressed problem lends itself extremely well to rare diseases, which often struggle to attract the attention and brainpower needed to make real strides. Two particularly notable programs:

  • National PKU Alliance heard patients ask for an at-home testing device that would greatly improve quality of care. In the absence of the market providing a solution, NPKUA is crowdsourcing its development through a series of challenges, as Executive Director Christine Brown outlines in this webinar.
  • Frustrated with the research obstacles created by the absence of a known biomarker, Prize4Life challenged the crowd to propose new biomarkers for ALS, ultimately awarding $1 million. In the words of Chief Scientific Officer Melanie Leitner, "Working with InnoCentive expanded our reach to new minds around the world, which would have been inaccessible without this partnership. When we launched what we thought was a neuroscience Challenge we certainly didn't expect some of the most exciting ideas to come from the fields of dermatology, chemistry, and plant biology and yet that's what happened. InnoCentive's Solver network is unparalleled."

But even more common diseases that receive a greater share of funding and are the focus of many researchers and projects can use some outside perspective from time to time, as the following programs illustrate:

  • Harvard Catalyst tapped into the crowd to answer an unusual question: What do we not know to cure diabetes? By crowdsourcing the identification of missing puzzle pieces, Harvard Catalyst got a clear idea of what type of research they should fund going forward, as they described in this reflection.
  • In the case of Alzheimer's, the Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer's Initiative identified a lack of attention on the question of male/female differences in how the brain processes the disease, and called on the crowd to propose hypotheses, some of which were funded for further investigation.
  • Earlier this year, the Epilepsy Foundation turned to the crowd with a communication challenge, seeking advocacy campaign ideas for SUDEP (sudden unexpected death in epilepsy). Solvers participated in great numbers, with some of the winners sharing personal connections to the disease.

We're looking forward to meeting more passionate disease champions at Global Genes' Patient Advocacy Summit next week, and will be keeping an eye out for research and advocacy related problems that the crowd can tackle.

 

VP Business Development Siobhán Gibney Gomis leads the nonprofit practice at InnoCentive.

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Techstars Explores Emerging Markets & Appoints Ed Roberto as VP of Accelerator Programs in MEA

Since Techstars' recent acquisition of UP Global, the business now represents a substantial presence across the globe. Our Community Programs are in over 600 cities, 120 countries and six continents. Specifically in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), there have been over 250 events in 50 cities run by 1,500 Community Leaders who have reached over 20,000 entrepreneurs, year-to-date.  Techstars is here to help these entrepreneurs bring their ideas to market wherever those companies are located.

To lead this effort, we are excited to announce the appointment of Ed Roberto as VP of Techstars Accelerator Programs in MEA. As a long-time Techstars mentor and active angel investor, Ed brings deep global operating experience in both startups and later stage businesses, and will actively support Techstars' presence in the region. His intimate knowledge of Techstars will be key to supporting entrepreneurial communities, and ensuring quality and consistency among Techstars programs as we continue to expand worldwide.

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The MEA region, and specifically the Middle East, is poised for huge growth around startups, entrepreneurship and technology. The MEA region has one of the youngest workforces in the world with more than half of its population under the age of 25. According to 2013 World Bank statistics, 1 in 4 of the youth in this category is unemployed. The World Economic Forum estimates that in order to keep up with projected population growth rates, the MEA region will need to create 75 million new jobs – an increase of 40% of the jobs available in 2011 – just to keep unemployment figures in the region at a steady level.

As Ed moves from his role as a Techstars mentor and investor to a key member of our executive team, we look forward to furthering our mission to create a global ecosystem of support for entrepreneurs in MEA. 

Companies, mentors, and investors who are interested in supporting the entrepreneurial efforts in MEA should email mea@techstars.com directly.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Techstars Explores Emerging Markets & Appoints Ed Roberto as VP of Accelerator Programs in MEA

Great Wall

Since Techstars’ recent acquisition of UP Global, the business now represents a substantial presence across the globe. Our Community Programs are in over 600 cities, 120 countries and six continents. Specifically in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), there have been over 250 events in 50 cities run by 1,500 Community Leaders who have reached over 20,000 entrepreneurs, year-to-date.  Techstars is here to help these entrepreneurs bring their ideas to market wherever those companies are located.

To lead this effort, we are excited to announce the appointment of Ed Roberto as VP of Techstars Accelerator Programs in MEA. As a long-time Techstars mentor and active angel investor, Ed brings deep global operating experience in both startups and later stage businesses, and will actively support Techstars’ presence in the region. His intimate knowledge of Techstars will be key to supporting entrepreneurial communities, and ensuring quality and consistency among Techstars programs as we continue to expand worldwide.

The MEA region, and specifically the Middle East, is poised for huge growth around startups, entrepreneurship and technology. The MEA region has one of the youngest workforces in the world with more than half of its population under the age of 25. According to 2013 World Bank statistics, 1 in 4 of the youth in this category is unemployed. The World Economic Forum estimates that in order to keep up with projected population growth rates, the MEA region will need to create 75 million new jobs – an increase of 40% of the jobs available in 2011 – just to keep unemployment figures in the region at a steady level.

As Ed moves from his role as a Techstars mentor and investor to a key member of our executive team, we look forward to furthering our mission to create a global ecosystem of support for entrepreneurs in MEA.

Companies, mentors, and investors who are interested in supporting the entrepreneurial efforts in MEA should email mea@techstars.com directly.

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FinTech Startups: Find out more about the Barclays Accelerator Powered by Techstars in London

If you are a startup working in machine learning, lending, digital banking solutions, trading, cyber security, data analytics, payments, cryptocurrency, insurance, wealth management and beyond, we would love to speak to you.

We have already held one fantastic event in London, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. For those that want to find out more about the program, the best thing to do is attend one of our events, or sign up to one of our office hours.

Chris Adelsbach, Techstars MD, will be on hand to answer any questions you have. For those that cannot attend any of these events in person, email mark.lazar@techstars.com – and we will discuss other ways to get involved.

Sept 15th – 10am-10pm: Office Hours in Paris – sign up here

Sept 18th – 10am-5pm: Office Hours in London – sign up here

Sept 21st – 6pm-9pm: Recruitment Event in Dublin – sign up here

Sept 22nd – 9am-12pm: Office Hours in Dublin – sign up here

Sept 24th – 10am-5pm: Office Hours in London – sign up here

Sept 28th – 6pm-9pm: Recruitment Event in NYC – sign up here

Sept 29th – 11am-4pm: Office Hours in Manchester – sign up here

Applications close October 14th. To apply to the programme, click here

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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Five Challenges to drive innovations in Renewable Energy

Enel

As a subsidiary of one of the world’s largest energy providers, Enel Green Power concentrates all their efforts on the production of renewable energy through a variety of sources. With a presence in four continents and 735 active power plants globally, it is truly a transnational corporation leading the way in the production of geothermal energy, hydropower, solar energy, biomass, and wind power.

As part of their continual strive to improve renewable energy production and further diversify the energy mix, they have launched five Challenges through their own online platform. These Challenges are looking for early-stage innovative technological solutions and proposals that centre around five key issues that are highlighted below.

  1. Use of drones / satellites in renewable plants

Enel Green Power is looking for effective and concrete proposals of drones and satellites use for power plants during the engineering and construction phase, and operation and maintenance activities. The challenge is to propose an effective way to use drones in renewable power plant management to improve safety, decrease maintenance costs, number of faults etc.

  1. Automatic Assembly of photovoltaic plants

Enel Green Power is looking for automatic assembly systems but it seems that there are very few solutions available on the market, proposed by literature, applied by other electrical utilities worldwide, or in early stages of development. The challenge is to design a system able to assemble solar power plants automatically.

  1. Photovoltaic Panels Cleaning

Periodical cleaning of solar panels is very important in order to produce and deliver the maximum amount of energy to the grid. Enel Green Power is looking for some solutions which include: Water free solutions (robots installed at string level), and Cleaning with tracks that use water and brushes (necessary water and vehicles fuel consumption). The challenge is to find an effective and inexpensive solution to clean solar modules.

  1. Wind Turbines generators blades anti-icing and de-icing systems

Wind turbine performance can be significantly reduced when the surface integrity of the turbine blades is compromised. The challenge is to find out an effective and inexpensive way to avoid ice formation that can be feasibly applied on new blades or on blades already installed.

  1. New geophysical prospecting techniques

In order to find out the right places of where to drill new wells, Enel Green Power performs geophysical surveys, with the aim to obtain, through the surface detection of some physical parameters of deep geological formations, indirect information useful for the reconstruction of the geothermal model. In this Challenge, Enel Green Power is looking for new geophysical prospecting techniques.

 

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Friday, September 4, 2015

Techstars Alums Sphero & Naritiv Join Forces to Launch the Star Wars BB-8 Droid

One of the most powerful things about Techstars is the network: founders become alumni, alumni become mentors, mentors become CEOs or MDs, associates become employees, alumni companies share talent and do business together.

On that note, Sphero and Naritiv, two Techstars alumni companies from the Disney Accelerator 2014 class, have been working together on one of the coolest product launches of all time….from the newest Star Wars movie, the BB-8™ App-Enabled Droid by Sphero!

bb8_charger_connect_1_drivescreen_legal_final

Sphero, the makers of the BB-8 Droid, wanted to capture the excitement of Force Friday and Star Wars fans around globe through Snapchat. So, they turned to fellow Techstars alum, Naritiv, who builds audiences and strategies for brands on Snapchat.

Naritiv worked with Sphero to send Snapchat celebrities to Paris, Dublin, London, San Francisco and New York as well as Tokyo, Milan, and Chicago, to capture the first moments when the new BB-8 droid hit the streets. With over 100 million users of Snapchat and 3 billion videos viewed per day, Naritiv uses Snapchat as a platform to build brands, spread the word and tell a compelling story.

When the BB-8 launch is over, Naritiv will supply Sphero with sophisticated analytics to quantify the reach of the campaign. (We will share more details on the campaign success as they roll in.)

“It’s been really fun to be a part of such a cool collaboration between two Techstars alumni companies just one year after graduating from Techstars,” says Eric Posen, co-founder of Naritiv. “Both Disney and Sphero have been amazing to work with and we couldn’t be more thrilled to help bring the BB-8 droid to the world in such a new and exciting way.”

The Star Wars BB-8 App-Enabled Droid by Sphero launches today at Disney retail stores and other select retail partners all over the world as a part of Force Friday.  Follow GoSphero on Snapchat to view the story happening now!

Congratulations to the teams at Sphero and Naritiv on your huge success!

 

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Applications Open for the Expanded Sprint Accelerator powered by Techstars

We are very excited to announce that applications are now open for the 2016 Sprint Mobile Accelerator powered by Techstars. The scope of the 2016 program has been expanded to include any mobile startup, which could include but not be limited to:

  • Wearables
  • Consumers apps in areas such as entertainment, lifestyle, or productivity
  • Mobile services such as advertising, commerce, or in-home/multi-screen
  • IoT / IoE
  • Data / Analytics
  • Health and wellness
  • Mobile enterprise apps

Ten startups will be selected to participate in the program which begins on February 22, 2016. The program is located at the award-winning Sprint Accelerator facility in the Crossroads Arts District of Kansas City, MO. The selected startups will benefit from targeted workshops, experienced mentors, Sprint’s mobile resources, and the vast Techstars network. Each startup receives up to $120,000 in funding after being selected.

If your startup leverages mobile technology and you want to significantly accelerate your business, apply today: http://ift.tt/1PJ22g0

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