Creating the SaaS Management Category
Zylo CEO Eric Christopher discusses the importance of brand in becoming a category leader.
FROM IDEA TO EXECUTION
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For those who haven’t heard, Techstars is one of the biggest resources available to those who are looking to launch a startup company. This program is a seed accelerator that was founded about 15 years ago out in Boulder, CO. This seed accelerator has accepted more than 1,600 startup ideas and companies into its program. Overall, less than 1 percent of applicants are accepted into Techstars. Techstars has a combined market cap of more than $18 billion.
At the same time, it is important for every company to analyze both what Techstars does and doesn’t do to figure out whether or not this program is right for them. The structure of Techstars venture studio is a collaborative model where startups come to Techstars for an extended period of time to work next to other startup companies. After a set period of time, there is a presentation at the end where companies vie for a financial award. In this sense, the Techstars is temporary, setting it apart from other capital investments such as venture capital. In addition, there are Techstars competitors as well who function as seed accelerators with a slightly different model. Therefore, Techstars should be compared to every other alternative before a company signs on with this seed accelerator. Programs such as Techstars can have a tremendous impact on the growth of a young startup company.
Techstars Alternatives by Program
When a new company is looking at a tech incubator, it is important to consider a few different aspects, First, take a look at what the program looks like. The Techstars demo day and Techstars startup weekend are built around a collaborative model where companies work side by side and then pitch their projects at the end with a large, final presentation. Not every program is structured the same way.
Next, young companies need to take a look at both time and financial commitments when it comes to signing on with a Techstars program. What sort of agreements are included in the contract? How is this going to influence the growth of the company both in the short and long-term?
Finally, it is critical for young companies to take a look at both the benefits and drawbacks of each Techstars cohort. The Techstars perks are tremendous and include aspects to mentors and a financial incentive. At the same time, there are lots of Techstars alternatives available who can provide similar resources to a young, growing company. Therefore, take a look at all the programs available and find the one that is right for the needs of the business.
Techstars Alternatives by Term
When young companies are looking to participate in a program such as Techstars, it is also a good idea to look at the terms of the agreement. While participating in Techstars ventures can bring a lot of Techstars benefits with the program, it is critical for companies to take a look at what they might be giving up.
One of the biggest issues that Techstars companies need to look at is the Techstars equity terms. Sometimes, companies are chosen to receive Techstars funding. This capital is critical and can give a young company the resources it needs to accelerate its growth to new heights. At the same time, at the end of a Techstars startup week, companies might be awarded funding only if they agree to give up equity in their company to Techstars. This equity is incredibly valuable and, for some companies, the equity might be more valuable than the funding that is being offered by the seed accelerator.
There might be other financial considerations that need to be taken into account as well. Some startups might be encouraged to agree to a loyalty provision instead of equity. This might be a better option for some but not others. Other programs might not be required to give up any equity at all. Take a look at the financial considerations before agreeing to anything.
Techstars Alternatives by Industry
In some cases, it might make sense for a company to find a company like Techstars that exists in other industries. In many cases, these seed accelerators specialize in a single area of expertise. This might allow a young startup to partner with a company that has an intricate understanding of their specific space. Therefore, the connections that are made through this startup consortium will be that much more valuable.
For example, There are Techstars education accelerator programs available that might provide resources for those who are looking to launch a startup in the education space. There are also Techstars IoT (internet of things) options out there for those who are looking to explore this sector. There are even Techstars retail accelerators that have been designed for those who are trying to enter the retail space.
In the end, it is important for everyone to think about the Techstars focus areas that are available. It might be a good idea to join a startup accelerator program that has a similar industry-specific focus. This makes any potential financial investment in the startup accelerator that much more valuable.
Techstars Alternatives by City
It is also a good idea for young companies to consider the geographical implications of signing on with a seed accelerator. In some cases, it might be better to look at possible incubators that are located nearby before branching out to a national partner. On the other hand, moving across the country to another local incubator may not provide access to the necessary resources. It is important to evaluate the options carefully. Find a seed accelerator that is going to be invested in the success of their startup companies.
There are numerous Techstars alternatives available. While Techstars Boulder 2019, Techstars NYC, Techstars Seattle, and Techstars Boston are good options, there are also competitors out there. There are alternatives to Techstars LA 2019 as well as Techstars Austin 2018 alternatives that companies should take a look at. There are Techstars Boulder jobs available, including Boomtown Boulder, that might provide startups with the opportunity they need to grow to new heights. Therefore, consider the geographical implications of signing on with any seed accelerator. There are great options out there.
Y Combinator Competitors
One of the biggest competitors out there to Techstars is called Y Combinator. For those who haven’t heard, this is a company that provides a number of resources to those who are looking to launch a startup. The Y Combinator startup school has become popular for those looking to launch a company. Y Combinator careers can take many forms and browsing the Y Combinator Wiki will show that Y Combinator Summer 2019 was a massive success. At the same time, Y Combinator 2019 has a number of differences when compared to Techstars. Anyone who is looking at attending a startup school or filling out a Y Combinator application should know the differences.
First, Y Combinator encourages startups to work out of their own homes whereas Techstars typically has startups working together side by side in a collaborative model. Therefore, Y Combinator is more isolationist whereas Techstars uses a shared space. Next, Y Combinator is located only in Silicon Valley. While this location is prime real estate, Techstars has offices spread out and travels to Seattle, New York City, Boston, and more. There are even differences in how the mentoring is carried out. For example, Y Combinator has office hours for both startups and mentors. In contrast, Techstars has a month that is dedicated to startups “dating” potential advisors. Y Combinator is huge, with more than 40 slots available for each session. In contrast, Techstars has only about 12 slots for each session. Furthermore, the pitches at Y Combinator are much shorter than the final presentations of Techstars. Finally, the financial award from Techstars is about $18,000 whereas the Y Combinator startup award is $150,000.
High Alpha Venture Studio
High Alpha is a leading venture studio based in Indianapolis. We build, launch, scale, and invest in B2B SaaS companies. Since our founding in 2015, we’ve launched more than a dozen new companies and have invested in more than 40 leading SaaS businesses.
Founders and CEOs choose to start their companies with venture studios like High Alpha because they provide an extra layer of support. With the venture studio model, startup founders form partnerships with experienced operators, which helps them move faster.
When we start a new company, we surround them with expertise in a variety of functions: finance and HR, marketing and design, engineering and data science, and more. By sharing our expertise, these companies can go from idea to execution in less time.
At High Alpha, we believe that the venture studio is the best model for entrepreneurship. If you’re interested in starting a B2B SaaS company with us, learn more on our Studio page.
Google Startup Accelerator
Google is one of the biggest alternatives to Techstars because they actually play a major role in the startup community. There are numerous resources available from Google for those who are looking for an alternative to Google Techstars. The Google Startup Accelerator offers a number of resources to those who are looking to launch a new company. First, there is a Google entrepreneurship course available for those who are looking to learn more about running a business. This course is going to cover the essentials such as hiring talented employees, identifying opportunities in the market, networking and making connections, as well as raising capital. There is even a Google startup lab available for those who are interested. Google for Startups is a startup program that was put together and launched by Google back in 2011. This area has more than 50 working spaces spread out across more than 125 countries. These spaces are available for people not only to work but to learn as well.
There was even a Google pitch competition that took place recently where talented individuals could pitch their ideas to those who would offer funding in exchange. This pitch competition was a great opportunity for those who are looking for more capital and will likely take place again. Google is interested in helping startups for multiple reasons. First, this is a great way for people to get their ideas off the ground. Next, this also provides Google with an opportunity to enjoy a significant return on their capital investment. Therefore, for Google, this functions as both a marketing opportunity and an investment vehicle.
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