A review of the first eleven Techstars Unicorns


This post is by David Cohen from Hi, I'm David G. Cohen


Someone asked me the other day “How many unicorns has Techstars funded?” When I asked them to guess they said “2 or 3.” I told them it was closer to ten. Actually, there are currently eleven.

Here’s quick review of the eleven companies valued at $1B or more that Techstars has funded to date. These are sorted by the year that we funded them. In total, they are valued at more than $100 billion today.

#1: SendGrid (2009)

SendGrid is a transactional email platform. The three founders (Isaac, Tim, and Jose) were based in the Los Angeles area when they moved the company to Boulder for the Techstars Boulder Accelerator in 2009. Here’s their demo day pitch. Jim Franklin was a Techstars mentor during that accelerator program, and would later join as CEO. I served on the board of directors until the IPO, and during that time we were able to recruit great firms like Foundry Group, SoftTech VC (now Uncork Capital), Bessemer Venture Partners, and Bain Capital Ventures. In 2019, SendGrid become the first ever company from any accelerator program to IPO, valued at over $1 billion. The company later merged with Twilio in a transaction worth about $2 billion at the time.

#2: Uber (2009)

Techstars Ventures 2009 invested in Uber (NYSE: UBER) (actually UberCab, as it was called then) as part of their initial angel round in 2009. Ryan Graves was mentoring at Techstars Boulder that year (full story) when he shared (Read more…)