Words cannot describe how much Techstars Austin has changed my life.
Since December 2, I’ve drank from the biggest firehose that I’ve ever experienced. The phenomenal staff and mentors took everything that I thought I knew going in, tore it apart (along with my soul), and reconstructed it into a completely new perspective of building a company.
On a super high level, the program consisted of 3 thematic months: KPIs (key performance indicators), execution, and pitching.
The first month taught me how to build a data-driven company. Techstars’ world-class workshops drilled into me advanced enterprise metrics, product-market fit, and financial modeling, especially how all of those topics are inherently interwoven. Then they threw me into a 2-week ‘Mentor Madness’ where I had about 20 back-to-back mentor meetings each day. I had never been more exhausted, yet enlightened and inspired, from speed mentoring.
Following a much-needed winter “break,” the second month consisted of more heads-down work. Each of the 10 companies focused on executing their goals using their newfound knowledge and mentors. Our top priority was rebuilding and accelerating our sales operations, so there was a fair amount of travel during this time.
Finally, the third month shifted to preparing for Demo Day, where the 10 companies deliver a 3-4 minute pitch to hundreds of supporters and investors. Everyone’s pitch changed dramatically several times each week, which the staff guaranteed would be incredibly frustrating (they were correct).
After weeks of agonizing stress, we finally emerged. On March 4, we concluded the Techstars program with our Demo Day pitch, which you can view here.
Throughout the program, there were some constant themes. Mentorship was always emphasized, and the staff blew it out of the park with their selection of mentors this year.
Cohort bonding was also huge. Unlike with other major accelerators, there are only 10 companies per Techstars cohort. Each of our needs are understood intimately by the staff and one another. As we held weekly standups, workshops, working sessions, happy hours, city outings, and dinners, we became more than just a cohort. We became a family.
After Demo Day, we celebrated at a karaoke bar all night. It was probably the closest I’ve ever been to losing my voice! The following week, we engaged in Investor Week: a bunch of speed-pitching with curated investors from across the nation. Then, that was it.
It was a bittersweet ending to one of the most impactful periods of my entire life. I miss everyone and the daily banter, struggles, and ferocity that we shared in the trenches. Just reminiscing upon those times makes me yearn to relive the past.
Now, with that said, once you get into Techstars, you become a Techstars founder/alum for life. I still keep in touch with everyone weekly, even with remote happy hours (we’ll take any excuse to drink together).
To my Techstars friends, mentors, and colleagues, thank you for pushing me past my limits. I had the time of my life and improved my ability to run a company by orders of magnitude. I can’t wait until the day that we reunite in person, and reengage the Techstars ecosystem as the next wave of mentors.