10: Jon Bradford Of Techstars Explains Silicon Valley, Shifts In Investor Mindset & How To Be Successful

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Part 2 of our interview with Jon Bradford where he talks about major shifts in the startup accelerator world and how to gain traction.

Jon is Managing Director of TechStars London and has previously founded and worked on startup accelerators around the globe. He’s co-founder of F6S.com which has grown into one of the most important startup program platforms in the world, and has recently cofounded tech.eu to feature startup and tech news across Europe.

Episode 9: Jon Bradford of Techstars Says How To Get Into Accelerators

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Jon is Managing Director of TechStars London and has previously founded and worked on startup accelerators around the globe. He’s co-founder of F6S.com which has grown into one of the most important startup program platforms in the world, and has recently cofoundedtech.eu to feature startup and tech news across Europe.

Our interview had so much great content we decided it was worth 2 episodes rather than cut out such valuable knowledge. In part 1, Jon explains:

  • How to get into accelerators
  • What investors are looking for
  • How to build a good team
  • Shifts in startup accelerator models
  • How to use crowdfunding to your advantage

How things got started

Jon shares with us how he went from being a “bored accountant” at a major firm to launching his first startup (made a ton of money) becoming a VC, joining Techstars and being part of the growth of the tech startup world.

We then dive into his opinion on the changes in how startups can get off the ground, how to get into accelerators, and what people like him (the decision maker) are looking for when making those decisions.

Don’t miss Part 2! You can contact Jon at jon at techstars dot com

Everywhere Else Tennessee Speaker Josh Hix Debuts on Shark Tank Tonight

josh hix

Everywhere Else Tennessee is coming up fast! 26 days and counting…

We already have an awesome speaker line up, and after tonight, we can add “TV star” to the list.

Speaker Josh Hix and his cofounder Nick Taranto will pitch their company Plated on ABC’s Shark Tank tonight at 9 PM EST. Go ahead and get ready for all the “will they bite?” comments.

Plated is a gourmet food delivery startup that graduated from Techstars New York last year. The company delivers fresh ingredients for chef-designed meals right to your door. They cover 80% of the US, sourcing local ingredients in each city. You can sign up for a subscription and get a slight discount on each meal shipped, or you can order whenever you want to.

And the meals are truly gourmet, too. Currently, in Nashville, you can order Lemongrass Pork with Vermicelli Noodles, Coffee-Rubbed Steak With Roasted Pepper Panzanella, or Poached Salmon with Red Quinoa, Kale, and Dill Yogurt Sauce.

The ingredients come ready to cook, with spices already measured out and everything.

In January, Plated announced a $5 million Series A led by ffVentures.

So, will the sharks “bite”? (See what I did there?)

With the graduation from Techstars and the recent series A, Plated is obviously a company to watch. Hix and Taranto are Harvard MBA graduates, and with such rapid expansion, they’re doing something right.

But, Shark Tank investors rarely go for typical startups. The sharks seem more interested in what we would consider “lifestyle” businesses. Of course, the show was filmed last year, before the Series A was announced. Plated could’ve looked like a different company at that point.

Regardless of how they walk away from the shark tank, Plated will almost certainly get the same boost in traffic other Shark Tank companies see during their episode.

And, hey, they raised $5 million.

After you watch Josh on TV, make sure you see him speak at Everywhere Else Tennessee, where he’ll talk about the number one thing every entrepreneur must have.


Techstars NYC Is Back At it

Techstars NYCWhen people talk about accelerators, they talk about one of two things. They discuss the much-feared bubble and whether or not an accelerator in every town is a good thing.

Or, they talk about the Big 3: Y Combinator, 500 Startups, and Techstars. We all know these accelerators have produced successful companies, and they are easily the most coveted spots in the country.

But even the Big 3 have issues sometimes. Techstars NYC has not been without drama in the last year or so. Last year Managing Director David Tisch left, but his replacement Eugene Chung was fired just weeks before Demo Day. 5 months later, Alex Iskold was named the newest Managing Director. In an internal email, interim Managing Director Nicole Glaros wrote, “Even at Techstars, we have really struggled, especially this last year, to really capture the potential of the community. We did a lot of things wrong, and we learned a lot.”

The time has come to see just how much the program has learned.

In a blog post yesterday, Alex Iskold announced the application period for the spring program.

Great companies are a mix of science, art and (who are we kidding) luck.

The art is innate but the luck is altogether out of our control. It’s the science part with which we can work. There is a science behind making great companies and we, collectively, are getting better and better at it in NYC and around the world.

Iskold goes on to to outline the qualities his program will look for in founders:

  1. Vision
  2. Passion & Energy
  3. Intellectual honesty
  4. Domain knowledge and experience
  5. Flexibility

He also reminds companies that they are looking specifically for big ideas with big markets: “Often times we run into wonderful ideas that can bootstrap and be a great lifestyle business, but not venture-backed one. Since Techstars is in the business of making money for our investors, we can’t fund these opportunities but we are still very happy to help, in any way we can.”

Techstars NYC has definitely had a rough year, but hopefully they really have learned from those mistakes. Iskold represents new leadership and possibility, and of course, they do still have the prestigious Techstars name.

If you’re interested in applying, the early deadline is December 6th and the final one is December 31st.


Atlas Demos The Next Fitness Band At Techstars Austin



As a college track coach and marathoner, my husband swears by his GPS watch. I have plenty of friends who love their FitBit or Nike FuelBands. I have to say, though, I didn’t really get the whole wearable tech, fitness analytics thing. Why can’t you just go for a run and do a few crunches for crying out loud? Why the hell do we have to measure EVERYTHING?

I didn’t get it, that is, until I stumbled across recent Techstars Austin graduates Atlas Wearables.

The idea for the Atlas wristband came when CEO Peter Li developed a platform to help motivate his fellow students at Johns Hopkins to get fit. He realized that most of the tools out there only measure subsets of fitness–number of steps for example. He realized customers really needed in depth analytics on what works and what doesn’t.

With that understanding, Atlas is focusing their efforts on showing the type, speed, and quality of the exercises, helping consumers understand what they need to do to lose weight and get fit.

What makes Atlas unique is that it’s not a one-sport wonder. That GPS watch my husband loves will never be able to tell me the quality of the push ups I just did. The Atlas wristband aims to do that, as well as track analytics across other sports like swimming, yoga, and cycling.

It’s an understatement to say that Li and his cofounder Mike Kasparian are qualified to build this type of product. Li has a masters degree in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins. Kasparian studied electrical engineering at Boston University, then designed circuitry for defibrillators at Philips. Combine that with a mutual love of fitness and sports, and it’s obvious this team knows what they’re doing.

It’s still early days, though. Last week the Atlas team graduated from Techstars, but we all know Demo Day is just the beginning. In the coming months, the team will test the wristbands with local gyms and personal trainers to see how well the technology works and what features need to be included. They have already started work on the next iteration and will be offering a small batch to a few early adopters. (Reserve yours here!)

Fitness and health awareness is growing quickly. Consumers are beginning to understand the importance of a good sweat to get and stay fit. Atlas is poised to bring good old-fashioned exercise into the 21st century.

And, it looks like I might finally jump on board, too!


Techstars & Sprint Announce Sprint Mobile Health Accelerator

Techstars, Sprint Accelerator, Kansas City startups, startup accelerator

Techstars, one of the most recognized accelerators in the world, is expanding its US footprint into the already lively Kansas City startup community. Earlier this year Techstars co-founder and Foundry Group founder Brad Feld bought a house in Kansas City to house a startup to work on their company, utilizing KC’s 1gb ethernet. Kansas City was the second city in the country, behind Chattanooga, to offer 1gb ethernet to residences and businesses.

But it wasn’t Kansas City’s Google Fiber that attracted Techstars to the region. They’ve partnered with Kansas City’s biggest tech company, Sprint, the third largest wireless carrier in the country. Sprint has always been a friend to innovation. They were the first wireless carrier to hold an annual developer summit for developers to collaborate, and learn about developing on Sprint’s wide range of services.

sprintacceleratorSprint and Techstars are centering this accelerator around the growing mobile health segment. Monitoring devices, e-prescriptions, mobile EDR’s and other health based mobile technology startups will work in the three month Techstars-modeled accelerator format at the new accelerator.

“We have been watching Kansas City from afar, seeing it come together, and now we’re excited to join the community and help it grow. It’s great to see Sprint giving first through their tremendous network of resources and executive knowledge. It makes all the difference for the companies we fund through the program,” Techstars co-founder David Cohen said on the official Techstars blog.

Kevin McGinnis, Sprint’s Vice President of Development, will help oversee the program which is taking applications now through December 6th. Startups that are selected will be notified in early January 2014 and the first session will kick off in March.

“Kansas City increasingly is gaining recognition on the national level as an emerging entrepreneurial technology center,” McGinnis told Cohen. “Sprint has been expanding its work with startups and other ventures that are developing intriguing innovations. The Sprint Accelerator will act as a catalyst for growth in this market.”

You can apply here.


Boulder Tech Is OK! Mobilizing To Help Those In The Canyon

Boulder startups, Brad Feld, David Cohen, Techstars, Boulder Floods

Techstars David Cohen took to Twitter to report everyone was ok and helped mobilize cleanup efforts

Brad Feld, the author of Startup Communities and the founder and managing director of Foundry Group, is one of the Boulder tech community’s most notable figures and a champion for startups and Colorado. When news broke out about the intense downpours and rain that hammered Boulder over this past weekend Feld was vacationing at Vail and watching the coverage on TV, reports USA Today.

Feld keeps a condominium in downtown Boulder, but his primary home is in the nearby mountains. By most accounts the town of Boulder weathered the storm quite well. It was those in the canyon and in the mountains that were hit hardest. Feld took to his popular blog, Feld Thoughts, to let people know that he was a-ok but he wasn’t able to get to his home in the mountains.

One of the biggest themes when Feld and others talk about Boulder is the tight knit community that’s formed around entrepreneurs, technology, and startups. Last July when wild fires ravaged parts of Colorado, Boulder’s tech community banded together to raise money through fundraising drives, t-shirt sales, and other impromptu crowdfunding efforts to help others.

The same holds true today after the floods and rain.

Techstars co-founder David Cohen echoed Feld’s initial sentiment reporting on Twitter that the town of Boulder was ok, but the canyon roads were washed out. Feld also took to Twitter to organize people to help others who had flooded basements. 15 people quickly mobilized just off Cohen’s tweets.

Techstars alum Benny Joseph, whose startup GoodApril was acquired by Intuit before demo day this year, wanted to give back as well. USA Today reports that although GoodApril has moved to the California offices of Intuit, Boulder had a special place in their hearts,and they donated $20,000 to clean up efforts.

Boulder again has shown the community in “Startup Community”


Luke Beatty Exits Position As Managing Director Of Techstars Boulder

Luke Beatty, startup founder, Techstars, Managing directorTechstars flagship Boulder program had some news on Monday  that may have been troubling to some at first. Luke Beatty, the program’s Managing Director, has stepped down.

Beatty began his career at Techstars as an Entrepreneur-In-Residence before he moved up to his current role as Managing Director. He took on that role as predecessor Nicole Glarros segued to a similar position at Techstars New York program. That was to fill the void from Techstars NY’s Dave Tisch stepping down to start Box Group.

Beatty is being tight lipped about why he is stepping down but did tell the Boulder County Business Report that “I have a once-in-a-lifetime chance (to be announced later), that I just can’t pass up – one that wouldn’t allow me to live up to the TechStars promise if I were to try to juggle.”

“Luke is staying very close to the Boulder program, and Nicole is taking it back over,” TechStars co-founder and chief executive David Cohen said in an email Monday,

Beatty is an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur, one of those guys that preaches the startup and entrepreneur lifestyle. He also takes pride in being annoying and hyperactive.  “I will remain annoyingly (hyper) active and will forever be engaged with the 11 companies that were in this summer’s cohort in Boulder.” he said on his blog.

Beatty was the founder of Associated Content which was acquired by Yahoo in the pre-Mayer era. After the acquisition he stayed on at Yahoo as a Vice President before leaving for Techstars.

Glaros will move back to Boulder and take over as Managing Director.

Beatty oversaw the most recent graduating class at Techstars Boulder which included GoodApril, a tax planning startup that was actually acquired before completing the program.

Of course you can find out more at techstars.com

You gotta see the startup accelerator panels at this huge startup conference.

TechStars Austin Unveils First Class

Techstars, Techstars Austin, Capital Factory, Startups, Accelerator Back in May Techstars, announced the formation of their Austin Techstars program. The accelerator is being housed at the Capital Factory in downtown Austin. Jason Seats, who was the director of the Techstars Cloud program in Houston moved over to Austin to head up the program.

Techstars reported receiving 850 applications for this first cohort in Austin. The team at Techstars was tasked with cutting those applications down to ten.

Here are the ten startups announced last night at an event at the Capital Factory.

  • Filament Labs build patient tracking and compliance software around mobile health, behavior tracking, and behavior change. One of its consumer products, HealthSpark, was 1 of 30 hand-selected apps within Aetna’s CarePass initiative.
  • MarketVibe (founded by the Whoosh Traffic team at Capital Factory) uses customers web analytics and shopping cart data to teach companies how to get more traffic, leads and sales.
  • Fosbury is a cross-platform digital wallet solution for designing, managing and analyzing campaigns on Apple Passbook and Samsung Wallet. Fosbury ensures retailers and other that their customers always have loyalty cards and coupons with them and provides a new way to interact with customers.
  • Atlas Wristband takes a new approach to wearable technology in the fitness industry. Atlas combines top talent from Johns Hopkins University, Phillips Healthcare and Maxim Integrated Products.
  • AuManil helps Online Retailers identify, manage and grow their most valuable customers – and create more of them. It enables shopper-facing agents to engage high value customers based on behavioral profiles and predictive insights. These targeted, personalized engagements lead to increased revenues, high retention rates, and better customer satisfaction.
  • Ube: controls lights and appliances from a smart phone, inexpensively. The company’s Wi-Fi enabled Smart Dimmers, Smart Plugs and Smart Outlets are competitively priced, easy to install, and provide the convenience of controlling your lights from your smartphone from anywhere in the world.
  • ProductGram: allows online sellers to extend their store from one outlet to many. Currently in development for Etsy sellers, the mobile app will push an attractive listing, not just a third party link to drive more product views to increase sales via other channels, with checkouts happening wherever engagement happens.
  • Testlio: opens a network of mobile testers to developers needing every last bug uncovered. The company has created tools for software testing that use real time chat, integrate issue reports into their existing systems, and do daily/weekly testing based on the customers own release schedule.
  • Accountable: streamlines and simplifies HIPAA compliance by providing a suite of tools and resources for firms, from necessary agreements and policies to risk assessments and employee training. All required pieces are tracked for completeness and time-sensitive expiration, with monitoring and alerts maintaining compliance. Audits are as simple as printing out a report and all requested information.
  • ProtoExchange: is a cloud-based network of professional 3D printing services that allow businesses to source the production and material capabilities of the network in a scalable, cost-effective, and time-efficient manner.


These 100 Mentors Did 1500 Hours At Techstars NY; Now Follow Them On Twitter

Techstars, Techstars New York, Mentors, Follow on Twitter, startup acceleratorTechstars released some data on their current NY session on their blog Friday.  The Techstars New York class graduates this Friday, June 28th, and they’ve been burning the midnight oil.

Nicole Glaros, the co-manager of this Techstars New York session reported they’ve had 39,000 working hours (60 hours x30 weeks x50 people), 5 pivots, 1500 mentor hours, 1 wedding, 72lbs of La Colombe Coffee, 14 missing iPhone charges and one of those 5 pivots, pivoted back.

One of the keys to success for Techstars–or any good accelerator program for that matter–is their mentor network. Techstars has one of the best mentor networks in the world. Here are 100 mentors that have taken part in this current session in New York. Now you can pick up on their nuggest of wisdom by following them on Twitter.


MassChallenge Startup ZoomTilt Announces New Analytics Product

Zoomtilt, MassChallenge, TechstarsAnna Callahan is a bad-ass startup chick. First she was a hackstar for Techstars Boston, but she got the startup bug herself and decided to apply to Boston’s other mega-huge startup accelerator, MassChallenge. It was there that she grew her startup ZoomTilt, which was named a finalist in last year’s MassChallenge program.

But what is ZoomTilt?

Well, think 99designs for film. Callahan loves film making; in fact it was reading a script while working as a Techstars hackstar that made her decide to take the plunge and launch her own innovative idea. The idea: link filmmakers to people who want to build a brand using short films, mini TV shows if you will.  If you’ve got a brand and want to see film and TV stars in a video featuring your product, ZoomTilt is the answer. If you want to have an engaging YouTube miniseries or Facebook page video series that highlights your brand, ZoomTilt is the answer.

Callahan tells Nibletz that they’ve got hundreds of filmmakers waiting for the chance to work on your brand’s short video project. By leveraging the talent and creativity within their network ZoomTilt is able to offer unparalleled engaging video marketing solutions without a gigantic budget.

Callahan joined forces with cofounder Chris Bolman and ditched their first name, CrewTide, which Callahan says made people think they sold nautical supplies. Then they hunkered down over the summer as one of the 125 startups in MassChallenge and emerged as a finalist.

On Wednesday Zoomtilt announced ZoomTilt Analytics. It’s the first of its kind A/B testing platform for video.“The information our analytics will provide for brands, agencies, media companies, and content creators will allow [them] to make better audience targeted content, quickly identify areas to improve upon allowing for [their] videos to be more effective, engaging and shareable,”  Bolman said in a statement.

zoomtilt1 ZoomTiltanalyticsscreen

The software allows for the online video marketing community to lessen the pressure to create a video that will “go viral” and increase their video marketing return on investment (ROI). ZoomTilt Analytics makes this possible by generating fast feedback directly from target audience members.

Callahan adds: “When using video on the web, [advertisers] must create entertainment – too much money is spent on videos that get low viewership and have no impact. Our analytics tools help you understand which of your videos really engages your target audience. With this you can make better decisions about which videos are right for you to promote.”

ZoomTilt has been helping brands obtain affordable, crowdsourced content from independent filmmakers since early 2012. Besides being a 2012 MassChallenge finalist, they were also members of the 2013 Betaspring class and participated in the 2013 SXSW Interactive Accelerator, where they were featured as a finalist in the entertainment and gaming industry.

You can check out the ZoomTilt dashboard here.


Now read what Drive Capital’s Mark Kvamme thinks about the Brandery.


Techstars Opens In Austin, Mashing The Best Of Texas’ Startup World

Techstars,Techstars Austin, CapitalFactory, StartupsSome may be surprised to find out that Techstars has no “official” presence in Austin. What??? That’s right, even though they throw one of the best parties at SXSW and you can find most of the Techstars team roaming about during the festival they’ve had no real presence.

Until now.

Techstars announced via their blog that they are going to take up residency in the already epically awesome Capital Factory (home to DreamIt Austin as well), and begin an official Techstars cohort in August.

That’s not all though. They are bringing over TechStars Cloud Director, Jason Seats, from San Antonio to run the program. Seats sold his company Slicehost to Rackspace and has since been involved with Techstars. He’s also part of the StartupGrind program.  Having a Techstars class in an environment like Capital Factory gives the young startups a huge advantage. Austinpreneurs are always hanging out at Capital Factory, in addition to the huge mentor network Techstars already has to offer.

David Cohen announced the new Techstars program this morning and also opened up the application process.

“Forbes and Bloomberg have been calling Austin the No. 1Boomtown and the best place for your startup for years now, and Google recently chose it as the second city to receive the fastest Internet on the planet. TechStars exists to put the best mentors and the best entrepreneurs together in the best startup communities so Austin is a natural next stop for us. We will run our first program starting this August and applications are open as of today!” Cohen said in the blog post.

Here’s the application for Techstars Austin

Speaking of Austin here’s over 40 startup stories from SXSW 2013.


Techstars Boulder Announces Summer 2013 Class

Techstars,Techstars Boulder, startup,acceleratorWhile the spring season for startup accelerators is coming to close with a variety of demo days across the country, the summer season is warming up. In fact today we’ll be reporting on three startup accelerators kicking off their summer program. We start the day with Techstars Boulder.

Techstars is one of the most successful startup accelerator programs in the world. They yield thousands of applications every year and only a handful of the best startups get picked to build their products as Techstars branded startups.

Without further ado here are the startups that got into Techstars flagship program, the Summer 2013 session at Techstars Boulder, Colorado:

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 11.08.04 PMHull is like Startup Weekend online. Their website claims that you can build social apps in a weekend rather than in weeks. Hull handles hosting,social mechanics, and services integration so the person creating the social app can focus on the features.


lechatLeChat hails from Oakland California and promises to be the next revolutionary messaging app. Their website says they are “messaging for modern organizations” and support a host of features including search history, multiple chats on screen, integration with dev tools, native mobile apps and a price poing of $1 per user per month.


According to the Techstars website Augur is a platform that makes mobile and web personal by        intelligently tailoring the experience of each user.


givengoodsGiven Goods blends social entrepreneurship with e-commerce in a beautiful website that only sells products that give back. Sometimes here at nibletz we call this “slacktivism”, think Toms and other products that make a difference in the community.


Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 11.18.01 PM


Local startup Elihuu has a funny name with a serious mission. Their platform allows product people to design beautiful products and they help take care of the manufacturing. Their website says: Democratizing the process of design, invention, and manufacturing. We believe new technologies change the thinking around the production of consumer products.


brandfolderBrandfolder gives users the tools to build a brand book that would typically cost thousands of dollars from an agency, easily and from a web based platform. While they plan to offer a premium paid product later on, their website says their branding tools will always offer a free option.


prediculousAccording to the Techstars website Prediculous is building social sports games for all fans. It looks like this Boulder based startup is pivoting from a social prediction game to something worthy of a much larger audience. Find them online here.



GoodaprilThis bay area startup offers tax monitoring tools that users can use all year long in hopes to help them have a “good April” Mitchell Fox, co-founder of GoodApril has penned guest posts on several startup focused sites about preparing for and being proactive about tax season. Check them out here


adsnativeAds native is an ad server for native content based advertising. Their website says that you can monetize without compromising user-experience. You can find them online here.



Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 11.33.20 PMWe met the guys from Snowshoe last year on the sneaker strapped road trip when we stopped in Madison Wisconsin. They seem to have pivoted a little bit since then, now using their original technology as an authentication layer for the internet of things.



Are you working on your pitch? Check out The Anatomy of a winning pitch deck.

Meet The 10 Startups In The Nike Techstars Accelerator

Techstars,Nike,Portland startups,accelerator,startup newsTechstars, the world renowned accelerator network has been beefing up there offerings with new locations, like Techstars Chicago and new vertical accelerators in conjunction with Microsoft and Nike.  When announced late last year, the startup space was on fire over the possibilities that would come from an accelerator driven by Nike and TechStars.

The Nike accelerator is buit around their NikeFuel digital platform and the Nike Fuel band.

“We are excited by the response to the Nike+ Accelerator and the high caliber of applicants to the program,” Stefan Olander, Nike’s vice president of digital sport, said in a news release. “We recently celebrated the first year of NikeFuel, and the Accelerator program is a natural next step to broaden and enhance the Nike+ ecosystem – allowing Nike to offer richer experiences to athletes of all levels.”

As with most TechStars branded accelerators, hundreds of teams applied. Here are the 10 that were chosen, as reported by the Portland Business Journal.


  • FitDeck (San Diego, Calif.) — Digital decks of exercise playing cards that deliver ever-changing workouts for fitness and sports. (Fitdeck.com)
  • GoRecess (New York) — Helps users find, book and review fitness activities. (Gorecess.com)
  • Chroma.io — Indie game studio that creates virtual worlds tied to real-world activity. (jumpbots.chroma.io)
  • CoachBase — Provides a digital sports coaching platform. (Coachba.se)
  • GoFitCause — Leverages fitness data as a means of raising money for charities. (Gofitcause.com)
  • HighFive — Ad network for health and fitness apps that helps people achieve goals by rewarding them along their journey. (Highfive.io)
  • Sprout At Work (Toronto) Provider of corporate wellness solutions using social and gamification tools to inspire employees and employers. (Sproutatwork.com)
  • GeoPalz (Boulder, Colo.) An interactive gaming and rewards platform for kids and families. (Geopalz.com)
  • Incomparable Things — Creates activity-driven fantasy sports leagues. (Incomparablethings.com)
  • RecBob (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) Offers a platform that makes recreational sports easy by organizing play. (Recbob.com)

Find out more about TechStars here.

Check out more accelerator stories at nibletz.com