As fate would have it, I've found myself without quality air conditioning on a day when such an amenity is quite necessary. Gazing around the coffee house currently sheltering me from heat-induced migraines and an endless battle with perspiration, I've become quite fascinated with each of the faces illuminated by laptop screens and smart phones. Essentially the entire customer base is bridged to the outside world by a technological medium, and each of us is vigorously using our respective bridge for some unique (or not so unique) purpose. While some may consider this accessibility a plague to humanity, those of us that cradle our electronic devices like newborn children have learned to appreciate the possibilities presented by the rapid advancements in technology seen through recent years. In order to keep the innovation flowing, it's imperative that brilliant, new ideas be nurtured and given the opportunity to flourish. Last week, the Awesome Inc. team traveled to Boulder, Colorado to learn more about an organization that is doing just that.
From the TechStars website:
TechStars is a mentorship-driven seed stage investment fund. Each year we run a summer-long program in Boulder, Colorado and Cambridge, Massachusetts. We’re very selective - each year hundreds of companies apply to the program and we only take about ten per city. These companies get up to $18,000 in seed funding, a summer of intensive top-notch mentorship, and the chance to pitch to angel investors and venture capitalists at the end of the summer.
In summary, TechStars accepts twenty companies out of roughly five-hundred applicants and provides those companies with seed funding and mentorship during a three-month summer bootcamp. After an intensive preparation, each company pitches its idea to investors and venture capitalists in an attempt to raise the funding necessary to make its aspirations a reality. In past years, the organization has aided projects like IntenseDebate, Socialthing!, Brightkite, and Gyminee obtain the knowledge and resources necessary to take their projects to the level that they are at today. We had the pleasure of sitting through this year's pitch day to see some of the up-and-coming projects designed to take the world by storm. Here is the list of companies that presented.
Out of those ideas presented, my favorites were Next Big Sound, Take Comics, Spry, and ReTel, but I find each of the ten to be highly useful to its targeted audience. I hope to see each of these projects thrive within the next few years and pave the way for future innovations. Keep doing what you're doing, TechStars! The world needs more organizations like you!