Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Seattle 2.0, and imported to GeekWire as part of our acquisition of Seattle 2.0 and its archival content. For more background, see this post.
By Andy Sack
TechStars Seattle Inaugural class was really special – as experiencing something for the first time often is. We tried lots of things. We learned which things worked (i.e. meetings at 11:11pm) and ditched the things that didn’t work (Long Island Iced Teas…way too many ingredients).
I have lots of ideas on how to build upon our experiences and make TechStars Seattle even better in year 2.
Here are 3 I’d like to share…
1. Recruit later stage teams
One of the most common misperceptions I hear about TechStars is “it’s only for first time entrepreneurs or for companies that are still in the idea stage”. I want to dispell that belief. Recently, I went to NYC demo day and we witnessed NYC teams with a bit more experience (i.e already had 1.5MM in revenue or raised a 1MM in A round) benefit from the TechStars program even more than idea stage companies . I’m actively looking for companies that have been in business for 6 months to 1 year and maybe even raised 200K – 1M in funding. TechStars is about ACCELERATING your businesses – at whatever stage you’re at. (period)
2. Star mentors
Last year we had 70 mentors – a third were very actively involved, a third were somewhat involved, and a third were not really involved. I’m looking, not necessarily for more mentors, but more active engaged mentors. I hope to define expectations and empower mentors. I know that some mentors wanted to be involved but didn’t know how. My hope is that mentoring is a natural, organic, mutual-selection process. I’ll define what a mentor, lead mentor and STAR mentor looks like regarding time commitment and engagement level. From there, my goal is that mentors know how to dig in and help the TechStar companies appropriately.
3. Get crazy good press on and post-Demo Day.
Creating more buzz and press around the unveiling of these companies is important (creating and maintaining investor interest, getting users, brand recognition, so on) and something we can improve upon. We’ll invite more press to Demo Day this year – local TV stations, major national publications, and journalists from relevant blogs. Just in case any of them are reading…Mark November 3rd on your calendar – you won’t want to miss out!
To call out a few…
You’re all invited.