The ultimate here and now

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Why Boulderites should know everything they can about Techstars

At its core, Techstars is a future-focused organization.

The fast growing business incubator helps promising new companies here and around the world get off the ground with a heavy-duty infusion of money and mentorship.

But Techstars offers the communities in which it operates (and Boulder as its global headquarters) some pretty spectacular here-and-now opportunities too. Consider just a few beneficial angles of Techstars’ local presence:

Since its founding in 2007, Techstars has helped hundreds of startup businesses connect with mentors and investors, and many of those companies began in Boulder. The upshot is the creation of jobs. That means big breaks for every ilk of intelligent worker. Think coders, engineers, marketers, creatives, developers, sales pros, etc. And when layoffs occur locally, Techstars has served as a connection point between those displaced and those seeking talent. Join or tap into the Techstars talent pool.

Boulder has long been a center of successful entrepreneurship. Techstars has amassed the ultimate who’s who of investors, entrepreneurs and business mentors from here and around the world. Its incubator companies tap into that network, gaining access to a wealth of knowledge and resources. At the same time, network members get to learn about new business opportunities a few feet below the ground floor.

Techstars’ nearly 100-strong mentor network in Boulder includes people like Dave Secunda, who has served as CEO of three successful companies and is the force behind Avid4Adventure, which has long provided Boulder’s most outstanding outdoor camp experiences (and is close to my family’s heart). PivotDesk founder David Mandell is another local Techstar mentor. His company is revolutionizing the way startups acquire professional work spaces without breaking the bank or over committing. Meet more Techstars mentors.

New businesses need money, and one of Techstars’ fundamental roles is that of investor. In early January, the company closed a new $150 million investment fund. Since its founding, Techstars has invested or helped assemble investments in excess of $1.5 billion. Nearly $325 million of that money has poured into Boulder, and the ripple effects for our community are priceless.

In the past week alone, TechStars companies have raised over $100 million, with notable acquisitions and investments throughout its spectrum.

Techstars is no Shark Tank. Being accepted to a Techstars mentorship program is exceedingly difficult; thousands apply to its city-based and corporate vertical programs every year, and only a small percentage are accepted. It’s so difficult to get into the program because Techstars’ results are so impressive. Some 90% of Techstars companies succeed. Hold that up to the 93% failure rate for U.S. startups, and it’s clear that Techstars is a great place for serious emerging companies to pursue their dream of running a sustainable business.

Interest on this level means Techstars – and by extension Boulder – learn about some of the most innovative concepts on the planet, some even before they get out of the dorm or garage. Take the companies recently announced in Techstars’ newest mentorship program, the Qualcomm Robotics Accelerator. Companies include Clever Pet, which develops robots to teach pets new behaviors. There’s also Solenica, an Italian company that channels sun into homes throughout the day using reflection technology, offering the joy and energy of southern exposure to all. Brilliant.

Right now, the company’s Sprint Accelerator, powered by Techstars program is lauding 10 companies who have just completed a three-month intensive in Kansas City. Each company in the class represents an intriguing idea. With my own 13-year-old on the cusp of 8th grade football, I’m curious about JOLT, a company that’s developing on-the-field systems that measure and mitigate impacts when players bash their noggins.

Techstars’ 2015 mentorship program in Boulder kicks off this summer, and the winning companies will be announced June 16. We can’t wait to meet them.