Archive for February, 2011

Tech Stars and Do More Faster

For any of you who are not familiar with TechStars or the book that two of the founders published, I recommend that you investigate them. TechStars is a seed accelerator program that started in Boulder Colorado back in 2006 and founded by Brad Feld and David Cohen.

Brad is a Venture Capitalist and Managing Director of the Foundry, a Boulder based venture firm. He is also the author of Feld Thoughts, a popular blog where Brad covers many issues around investing are entrepreneurship. David was a Boulder based entrepreneur and Angel Investor who approached Brad with the concept that evolved into TechStars.

I did an earlier post about Do More Faster, so I won’t re-state what I covered there. I did however take one of my recommendations seriously and bought copies of the book for entrepreneurs and founders that I mentor as a holiday gift. I thought the book had a lot of great information and would benefit my clients. However, I wanted to see if they thought the same way I did.

The book is a compendium of articles written by Brad, David, TechStars participants and mentors around seven themes. Everyone read the book even those who are more consumer product focused. They all thought there was valuable content and enjoyed hearing how others dealt with problems they are currently experiencing.

Interestingly, two of them signed to participate in future programs and one of them is currently talking with the Director of the Boston TechStars about being part of the next program, which begins in a few weeks. They only select 10 companies from the 800+ applicant, so getting this far in the process is huge.

So, if you are an early stage entrepreneur, you should definitely start looking at the Startup America Program, the things coming out of the Small Business Administration in relation to Startup America, TechStars.org, and get a copy of the Do More Faster book.

Startup America – Sounds Great, Now Can We Deliver?

Wouldn’t you know that just when I rant and rave about how disconnected I think the President might be, he goes and announces a comprehensive program aimed at startups and entrepreneurs. If you haven’t seen anything about it, check it out @ http://www.whitehouse.gov/startup-america-fact-sheet. There is also a good video on the subject.

Finally, there is someone in charge of a program beneficial to the startup community who really understands that creating new jobs has been done by companies less than five years old. Carl Schramm, President and CEO of the Kauffmann Foundation does. So it is perfect that he and Steve Case, former Founder and CEO of AOL are in charge of this program. Let’s hope they can keep the ball moving forward.

A sign that this time might be different is the inclusion of Brad Feld, along with his co-founder and David Cohen, and theirĀ  wildly successful seed accelerator Tech Stars are part of the pack. They committed to creating 5,000 mentors for 6,000 entrepreneurs creating 25,000 new jobs by 2015. They have already signed up 17 other accelerators to be part of the program.

Another thing that I like about the program is that there is something for everyone be you an entrepreneur, mentor, investor or other capital provider. I took away from watching the videos that this seems to be very different from other government supported programs of the past. Sounds great, great team, now it’s time to deliver.

 


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