Over the last ten days since wrapping-up my 13 weeks at TechStars Boulder, I have been asked on several occasions if it was worth it. These inquirers, usually investors, cite the richness of the equity (6% for $18,000) and the opportunity cost of my time as strikes against the program. Admittedly, the decision to give up any portion of our company was not easy and with plans to ultimately base the company in New York where international business, travel and foreign culture permeate everyday life, the choice to spend more than three months in Boulder, Colorado was not obvious. Excited and a little anxious (some might say, “giddy”), I took off for Boulder hours after receiving my diploma from Wharton.
To attempt to describe our entire TechStars experience in a blog post would not do justice to the breadth and quality of the program, however I will highlight some of my favorite takeaways from the summer:
Team: We started the program as a team of two and grew to a team of eight by the end of the summer. Our team today are MONSTER executors with the passion to blow this business out of the water. Rock on Team VerbalizeIt.
Mentors: Seriously, another mentor meeting? Meeting with nearly 100 experienced entrepreneurs and investors proved to be one of the biggest benefits of the program. Who else can meet with a world-class investor and marathoner, a serial entrepreneur and a marketing guru all before breakfast? Awesome.
Product: We came into the program with a delivery solution that enabled anyone to use their phone to access our translator community. We left the program with an improved phone-based solution, an iPhone and an Android app, a relationship with Skype, powerful API enabling developers to have the power of our crowd at their fingertips and custom portals designed for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Community: The Boulder community rallied around our team and business and really invigorated our existing excitement for the business. Boulder is a seriously awesome place to build a startup and I’m thrilled that we have team members leading our operation out of Boulder and New York.
Capital: Exposure to world-class investors – ‘nuff said. We’re excite to share in our exciting future with the amazing investment partners who have committed to backing our vision.
TechStars Entrepreneurs: I’ve always said that I will be doing well in life if I surround myself with people who are smarter and more experienced than I am. The current and former TechStars-backed companies are, in short, amazing. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to benefit from their unique perspectives and excited to be apart of this amazing community moving forward.
I would be thrilled to provide any TechStars candidate with my perspective on the program.
Wishing for the best for all of the mentors, investors, entrepreneurs, coordinators and supportive members of this rockstar community.