Sometimes you work with great people and you know they're great. Those people have a harder time surprising and impressing you because of the high expectations you already have.
Well, I want you all to know that I am blown away by the work David Cohen (and to a lesser extent Brad Feld) have been doing with TechStars. In the past six months, they published a great book (that I wrote a chapter in) -- Do More Faster. And today, David Cohen and TechStars were part of the launch of StartupAmerica. What's so awesome about TechStars -- and fundamentally different than Y-Combinator is that TechStars isn't about David Cohen or Brad Feld -- it's about supporting innovation in the cities across America. It's about job creation. It's specifically not about Silicon Valley. TechStars focuses relentlessly on getting great entrepreneurs to help other aspiring entrepreneurs to reach for their dreams and in so doing, to get funded, build great companies and create jobs. TechStar's community approach is super effective! I say all this...and I say it as a point of differentiation but in no way is it intended to detract from the power of what Paul Graham is doing with Y-Combinator. They're great and Paul is doing a great job. In fact, Y combinator had some super interesting news this past week too and I hope to comment on that in a post later this week. The purpose of this post is to acknowledge that David Cohen has been kicking some serious ass and making great stuff happen. I want him and others to know how impressed and proud I am of him. Well done Cohen!
If you want to learn more and understand why I am so impressed....read on.... below is David Cohen's post today --worth reading if you want to know about StartUp America...and why I think David is so impressive.
I'm at the White House today and we're just kicking off the announcement event for Startup America, a White House campaign to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation. This coordinated public/private effort brings together an alliance of the country’s most innovative entrepreneurs, corporations, universities, foundations, and other leaders, working in concert with a wide range of federal agencies to dramatically increase the prevalence and success of America’s entrepreneurs. One of the key factors is access to mentorship.
We are incredibly honored to be launching the TechStars Network today as a featured partner of the White House Startup America campaign. We've had tremendous results with TechStars, and now we're formally helping other programs to have the same impact.
The new TechStars Network launches with 17 independently owned and operated seed accelerators that replicate the mentorship-driven startup acceleration model pioneered by TechStars. The TechStars Network provides opportunities for networking, sharing best practices, training and ongoing support for members of this regionally diverse network, and includes members from Miami to Seattle and from Nashville to New Orleans, and beyond.
We've been contacted by around one hundred organizations from around the world that wanted to replicate our mentorship-driven model. It would have been easy to shut them out, and not speak to them. Instead, we asked: "How can we help?" We've spent countless hours actively helping these other communities to replicate our model. The reason is simple: It's good for entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial communities. We don't need any other reason to help.
Through our experiences with TechStars, we have seen what happens when an entire community comes together to support entrepreneurs. We're more than flattered by the activity of other programs that have leveraged our mentorship-driven model and have improved or tweaked the design. In the end, we believe that developing strong relationships and strong communities creates amazing results. Taking this up a level and building a global network of like-minded accelerator programs is what the TechStars Network is all about. To say the least, we’re full of excitement to see what we’re able to build together as a connected community of credible accelerator programs around the world.
Over the last 6 months, we've fully documented our process and are now making it available to members of the TechStars Network. We're taking the lead on making sure we're driving best practices into the seed accelerator model so that it best serves entrepreneurs everywhere. We'll be organizing an annual conference both for the innovative leaders of these programs and also for the founders who attend these programs. Through the TechStars Network, we're sharing our legal documents, ensuring that mentors who contribute their time are recognized and rewarded, streamlining access to investors, ensuring that entrepreneurs have easier access to these programs, sharing deals and resources, and more. What this means for aspiring entrepreneurs is that there will be more high quality seed accelerators in more places, with more mentors, and more support for them.
At TechStars, we've always been focused on quality over quantity. We've vetted all of the members of the TechStars Network, and will make sure that the bar remains high for future members of the network. We're thrilled to be working in partnership with these other great programs and expect the TechStars Network to grow over the coming years.
We are very excited to announce that Jenny Boyd, who helped build the Kiva organization, will manage the TechStars Network.
Here's a video introducing the TechStars Network that is currently being featured on the White House site for Startup America.