It’s that time of year again. Time to close the books on last year and set resolutions for the year to come. Reflecting on 2012, a lot happened to me on a personal and professional letter. I traveled the globe. I ran my first marathon since completing an Ironman triathlon. I graduated with an MBA from Wharton, took part in TechStars, the world’s number one business accelerator, grew my company, and most recently closed a $1.5 million first round of financing from an amazing group of investors.
While I’m proud of all of these accomplishments, I thought I’d take a moment to share some thoughts and hopefully give back to TechStars – a program and community that has given (and continues to give) me so much.
Last night, I participated in a panel in New York to answer questions for TechStars applicants and future leaders in technology and business. What an opportunity! It reminded me how lucky I was to spend 13 weeks surrounded by world-class entrepreneurs, business leaders, technologists, investors, teammates and TechStars classmates.
I was asked whether it was truly worth giving up 6% equity in my company, “my baby”, to take part in TechStars. The answer from all of us was a resounding, “YES” and I even dared admit that I would have given up more than 6% in retrospect, to which program coordinator Nicole Glaros responded, “darn!” – jokingly sensing the opportunity to have a bigger piece of our business.
But I meant it.
The most valuable asset for any entrepreneur is time, and TechStars accelerates success and failure into a short and overwhelmingly rewarding 13 week period. Beyond accelerating an idea, TechStars provides a window into team dynamics (hey, what better way to know if you’re a match for your business partner than to spend 20 hours a day for 100 days), evaluating business operations, testing market hypotheses, focusing on customer and product development and financing opportunities.
And the icing on the cake? 200+ mentors from every industry moving in lockstep to help you achieve success. Value-added capital? I certainly think so.
But don’t take my word for it. Talk to other alumni. Look into the program’s mentors and decide how their experiences (successes and failures) could be valuable to you. Look at the performance metrics of their portfolio companies and apply. Deadline is next Friday!