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By Andy Sack

We have gotten under way here at the Seattle TechStars offices. With the first 3 weeks of the 13-week program behind us I really feel confident in saying that we are building an amazing set of companies this year. Each one of them embodying all that the tech community has come to expect from TechStars, with a little bit of the Pacific Northwest culture thrown in for good measure!

The application process was more competitive than ever. We had 67% more applications than last year and lots of later stage companies applying.  Reviewing and selecting was extremely tough. It’s honestly the hardest part of my job. I had to say no to great entrepreneurs who are doing potentially great things. 

The upside is that I said yes to 10 talented and diverse  teams. Their types of business, industries, and target customer range from robots to healthcare to resumes. Half of the teams came from out of state and one even relocated from Israel. The backgrounds, age, and cultural differences of the teams are equally diverse.  We have a very well rounded set of teams making smart decisions about interesting problems.  

Being around all of these determined new startup founders has gotten me remembering what it felt like being in their shoes. The late night coding sessions and strategy meetings over a glass of bourbon. The sleep deprivation, endless phone calls and emails, and the overwhelming strain it put on my personal (and financial) relationships. From the outside it seems like nothing more than self-imposed torture. But founders endure these issues as the cost of doing business because they can see past the sawdust and rough edges to the vision they are building the dream they are pursuing. And chasing that dream can make almost anything seem possible.

But unlike when I was building my first company 14ish years ago, the TechStars founders don’t have to go through all of these steps alone. TechStars prides itself in being a community of support. Teams helping teams, quality mentorship, and a very warm embrace from the Seattle startup community. It’s fantastic to see how the ecosystem has really expanded in Seattle. 

I’ll be sure to keep writing community updates throughout the program. Remember, the TechStars reality show airs on Bloomberg Television on September 13th. And Demo Day is on November 3rd!!! You really don’t want to miss it.

Thanks to everyone who’s supported our efforts and our teams. Its an exciting time to be a part of the TechStars community and most definitely an exciting time to be doing tech in Seattle.

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