A Few Months, Pizza, Passion & Hard Work = TechStars DemoDay

April 15th, 2011 by Caroline Scheinfeld View Comments

Harvard and Yale acceptance’s rate look pretty good compared to the competitive NY TechStars incubation program, which only accepts 11 companies out of 600 applications. Yesterday, investors and other eager guests gathered at Webster Hall to witness the result of a few months of sleepless nights, hours glued to computers and an exuberant amount of brainstorming. The 11 companies, which constitute the most recent TechStars NY group each pitched their sites with the hopes of closing their first rounds. The CEO’s of each company captured the attention of the audience members ranging from the select older men dressed Don Draper-style to the majority of youngsters in Mark Zukerberg-esque garb. The bystanders were not all men, but for someone used to the fashion industry (me), the amount of women in the room seemed inconsequential.

David Cohen and Brad Feld started Techstars in Boulder, CO but spread the funding and mentorship to Seattle and New York City. David Tisch, ran this NY session flawlessly resulting in businesses with great teams, strong ideas and sufficient markets. Angels, institutional investors and other big tech names ooed and awed at the entrepreneurs blatant passion and ability to solve current problems online.

When evaluating startups, consider whether or not a current problem is being solved. How will this make my life easier and more convenient? Other important points of diligence include an intense evaluation of the team. If an idea is great and a market exists, one might assume success but not so fast TEAM IS EVERYTHING. Demo Day enabled potential investors to not only get a glimpse into their businesses but also get a feel for the entrepreneurs’ personalities.

Demo Day truly confirmed the expansion of the start-up industry with the instability of the corporate world, it seems many took the road of sacrificing fat pay checks in return for passionate jobs and a long journey to an exit.


About Jay Levy

Jay Levy

Jay Levy is a co-founder and principal of Zelkova Ventures. Jay focuses most of his time in working with the current portfolio company and looking at new investments in the software-as-a-service, internet media and green tech space. More »


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