E is for Engage


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

Recently, on my social accounts I said that my new years resolution was something that began with E. That was a fun little game, and here are the “guesses” that I received.

Exhale. Emigrate to France. Eat crepes. Environment. E-sports hall of fame. E pluribus unum. Empathy. Electric Vehicle. Equanimity. Entertainment. Everest. E-Techstars. Exit. Enjoy. Education. Energy. Equality. Egypt. Equilibrium. Equity. Engage. Ecosystem. Endeavor. Exercise. E=MC^2. Exorcism. Etherium. Eggs. Estrogen. Eggroll. Eucalyptus. Enigma. Elon. Execute. Estonia. Enlightenment. Extrapolation. Evaluate new economic models. Equine Wrestling Federation. Eat more tacos. Etc! Wow, lots of guesses!

While I like most of these alot, Laura Kennedy and Sam Casey win! Engagement is what I had resolved to do.

There’s quite a lot wrong with the world right now. Social media is incredibly powerful, but it’s also incredibly dangerous as we’ve seen with recent events. The one to many “mind-shaping” potential is downright scary.

No, this is not another one of those posts where I’m taking a break from my Facebook or Instagram or YouTube or Twitter accounts. I get why people are leaving those services. But I’m still out there. I’m letting you know what’s going on that way, just like always.

But this year, unlike past years, I made a new years resolution. And mine is to engage more authentically and more directly with any entrepreneur who wants some help. I want to do this 1:1, instead of in social media marketing blasts.

After all, I’ve now been involved as an early first round investor in more than 2,300 companies, and that number is growing really fast. Those companies have a combined market cap of more than $185 billion today. I’ve seen the trials and tribulations of companies like Twilio, SendGrid, Uber, Remitly, PillPack, and so many more. I’ve personally taught every one of our accelerator companies how to raise money, and they’re about $11.7B into raising angel and VC money. And I’ve learned from what they’ve learned. So, it seems like I should share more of what I’ve learned even more often.

Today I created a channel where anyone can just reach out and ask me anything any time. How does it work? Just text me at +1 (303) 529-1541. Once you do text me, you’ll have an easy and private way to reach out to me about whatever is going on and let me know how I can help YOU. Unfortunately, for now, this is limited to only people with US or Canadian phone numbers, but I expect that will expand in the future.

Yes, once in a while I’ll send you some content by text that I think is relevant to you. It might be because I’m visiting the city where you are (if we can ever travel again!) or it might be because I have some new content related to something you asked me about. But it will never be general marketing blasts from me. Because, who needs more of that? Anything I text you back will be something I think is valuable to you. And, you can opt out easily any time.

I made a little video explaining more. Feel free to watch it or just shoot me a text any time. I’d love to hear from you.

Text me at +1 (303) 529-1541

The post E is for Engage appeared first on Hi, I'm David G. Cohen.

E is for Engage


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

Recently, on my social accounts I said that my new years resolution was something that began with E. That was a fun little game, and here are the “guesses” that I received.

Exhale. Emigrate to France. Eat crepes. Environment. E-sports hall of fame. E pluribus unum. Empathy. Electric Vehicle. Equanimity. Entertainment. Everest. E-Techstars. Exit. Enjoy. Education. Energy. Equality. Egypt. Equilibrium. Equity. Engage. Ecosystem. Endeavor. Exercise. E=MC^2. Exorcism. Etherium. Eggs. Estrogen. Eggroll. Eucalyptus. Enigma. Elon. Execute. Estonia. Enlightenment. Extrapolation. Evaluate new economic models. Equine Wrestling Federation. Eat more tacos. Etc! Wow, lots of guesses!

While I like most of these alot, Laura Kennedy and Sam Casey win! Engagement is what I had resolved to do.

There’s quite a lot wrong with the world right now. Social media is incredibly powerful, but it’s also incredibly dangerous as we’ve seen with recent events. The one to many “mind-shaping” potential is downright scary.

No, this is not another one of those posts where I’m taking a break from my Facebook or Instagram or YouTube or Twitter accounts. I get why people are leaving those services. But I’m still out there. I’m letting you know what’s going on that way, just like always.

But this year, unlike past years, I made a new years resolution. And mine is to engage more authentically and more directly with any entrepreneur who wants some help. I want to do this 1:1, instead of in social media marketing blasts.

After all, I’ve now been involved as an early first round investor in more than 2,300 companies, and that number is growing really fast. Those companies have a combined market cap of more than $185 billion today. I’ve seen the trials and tribulations of companies like Twilio, SendGrid, Uber, Remitly, PillPack, and so many more. I’ve personally taught every one of our accelerator companies how to raise money, and they’re about $11.7B into raising angel and VC money. And I’ve learned from what they’ve learned. So, it seems like I should share more of what I’ve learned even more often.

Today I created a channel where anyone can just reach out and ask me anything any time. How does it work? Just text me at +1 (303) 529-1541. Once you do text me, you’ll have an easy and private way to reach out to me about whatever is going on and let me know how I can help YOU. Unfortunately, for now, this is limited to only people with US or Canadian phone numbers, but I expect that will expand in the future.

Yes, once in a while I’ll send you some content by text that I think is relevant to you. It might be because I’m visiting the city where you are (if we can ever travel again!) or it might be because I have some new content related to something you asked me about. But it will never be general marketing blasts from me. Because, who needs more of that? Anything I text you back will be something I think is valuable to you. And, you can opt out easily any time.

I made a little video explaining more. Feel free to watch it or just shoot me a text any time. I’d love to hear from you.

Text me at +1 (303) 529-1541

The post E is for Engage appeared first on Hi, I'm David G. Cohen.

E is for Engage


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

Recently, on my social accounts I said that my new years resolution was something that began with E. That was a fun little game, and here are the “guesses” that I received.

Exhale. Emigrate to France. Eat crepes. Environment. E-sports hall of fame. E pluribus unum. Empathy. Electric Vehicle. Equanimity. Entertainment. Everest. E-Techstars. Exit. Enjoy. Education. Energy. Equality. Egypt. Equilibrium. Equity. Engage. Ecosystem. Endeavor. Exercise. E=MC^2. Exorcism. Etherium. Eggs. Estrogen. Eggroll. Eucalyptus. Enigma. Elon. Execute. Estonia. Enlightenment. Extrapolation. Evaluate new economic models. Equine Wrestling Federation. Eat more tacos. Etc! Wow, lots of guesses!

While I like most of these alot, Laura Kennedy and Sam Casey win! Engagement is what I had resolved to do.

There’s quite a lot wrong with the world right now. Social media is incredibly powerful, but it’s also incredibly dangerous as we’ve seen with recent events. The one to many “mind-shaping” potential is downright scary.

No, this is not another one of those posts where I’m taking a break from my Facebook or Instagram or YouTube or Twitter accounts. I get why people are leaving those services. But I’m still out there. I’m letting you know what’s going on that way, just like always.

But this year, unlike past years, I made a new years resolution. And mine is to engage more authentically and more directly with any entrepreneur who wants some help. I want to do this 1:1, instead of in social media marketing blasts.

After all, I’ve now been involved as an early first round investor in more than 2,300 companies, and that number is growing really fast. Those companies have a combined market cap of more than $185 billion today. I’ve seen the trials and tribulations of companies like Twilio, SendGrid, Uber, Remitly, PillPack, and so many more. I’ve personally taught every one of our accelerator companies how to raise money, and they’re about $11.7B into raising angel and VC money. And I’ve learned from what they’ve learned. So, it seems like I should share more of what I’ve learned even more often.

Today I created a channel where anyone can just reach out and ask me anything any time. How does it work? Just text me at +1 (303) 529-1541. Once you do text me, you’ll have an easy and private way to reach out to me about whatever is going on and let me know how I can help YOU. Unfortunately, for now, this is limited to only people with US or Canadian phone numbers, but I expect that will expand in the future.

Yes, once in a while I’ll send you some content by text that I think is relevant to you. It might be because I’m visiting the city where you are (if we can ever travel again!) or it might be because I have some new content related to something you asked me about. But it will never be general marketing blasts from me. Because, who needs more of that? Anything I text you back will be something I think is valuable to you. And, you can opt out easily any time.

I made a little video explaining more. Feel free to watch it or just shoot me a text any time. I’d love to hear from you.

Text me at +1 (303) 529-1541

The post E is for Engage appeared first on Hi, I'm David G. Cohen.

Introducing Maëlle Gavet as CEO of Techstars


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

Thoughtful leadership evolution in growing and scaling companies is healthy. It happens in strong, successful, mission-driven companies all the time. We’ve seen it over and over again in our own investment portfolio – and helped to mentor our founders through these strategic decisions and transitions. It’s all part of the journey.” 

Today, I’m thrilled and honored to announce that Maëlle Gavet has joined Techstars as CEO. 

Maëlle Gavet

Before telling you more about Maëlle, I’d like to tell you why we decided to recruit a new CEO in the first place. As one of the highest velocity seed investors in the world, we’re now funding approximately 500 companies annually, and this number is growing fast. Our portfolio of thousands of accelerator companies has now raised well in excess of $10B from investors, with well over $2B of that happening in the last twelve months alone. It’s our job to continue helping them succeed as we grow, and as they grow. 

Techstars itself now employs 300 people in 22 countries, and has activities in more than 150 countries. Our success is attracting more and more interest, and it feels like we’re on the cusp of hypergrowth. As such, we decided to bring in an experienced operator who has seen growth from our scale to more than 10x our scale to lead us through this phase.

Maëlle has been a leading technology executive and entrepreneur for over 15 years. She began her career as an entrepreneur and then went on to become a Principal at the Boston Consulting Group from there she became CEO of OZON.ru, Russia’s largest e-commerce site (which recently went public on NASDAQ and is valued at over $9B), and then Executive VP of operations of the Priceline Group, the largest online and travel agency in the world which includes brands like OpenTable, Kayak, and Booking.com. Most recently Maëlle was Chief Operating Officer at real estate platform Compass, valued at over $6B. 

When I first read Maëlle’s book, Trampled by Unicorns: Big Tech’s Empathy Problem and How to Fix It, I was blown away. It was by far the best articulation of the problems with technology companies that I’ve seen in one place, along with practical ways that we can all contribute to addressing the issues. She sees the same opportunity for tech and entrepreneurship to be a force for good, and to benefit everyone. I knew as soon as I read it that I wanted to try to get Maëlle involved with Techstars one way or another.  

After speaking with her dozens of times over the last few months, it became clear to me and everyone on the board at Techstars that she would be incredible as the CEO of Techstars. We ran a full process, with more than 350 applicants, interviewed dozens, and felt fortunate to be able to select Maëlle. We are honored that she has also selected Techstars! 

It’s impossible to sufficiently thank my co-founder and outgoing CEO David Brown for his contributions to date. David is the best co-founder, partner, and friend I could have ever asked for. I feel incredibly fortunate that he has also been such a capable leader at exactly the right moments for Techstars.  David will continue with Techstars in his ongoing role on the Board of Directors.  

The quote at the top of this post belongs to David Brown. These can be difficult transitions for founders (more thoughts on this), but the way in which he has approached it all speaks volumes about his character and integrity. After nearly thirty years working closely with David, I am humbled to be his co-founder and honored to call him a friend. 

As for me, I am now Chairman rather than Managing Partner.  What’s behind the move to Chairman? Well, as fast growing companies mature they need leadership for the Board of Directors in addition to leadership for the company. Maëlle will lead the company as CEO, and I’ll lead the Board of Directors as Chairman. While my primary responsibility will be to provide leadership for the Board of Directors, I’ll have plenty of bandwidth day-to-day to support Maëlle on her priorities.

And now, with excitement, we welcome Maëlle to the team as we look forward to helping even more entrepreneurs succeed!

The post Introducing Maëlle Gavet as CEO of Techstars appeared first on Hi, I'm David G. Cohen.

Introducing Maëlle Gavet as CEO of Techstars


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

Thoughtful leadership evolution in growing and scaling companies is healthy. It happens in strong, successful, mission-driven companies all the time. We’ve seen it over and over again in our own investment portfolio – and helped to mentor our founders through these strategic decisions and transitions. It’s all part of the journey.” 

Today, I’m thrilled and honored to announce that Maëlle Gavet has joined Techstars as CEO. 

Maëlle Gavet

Before telling you more about Maëlle, I’d like to tell you why we decided to recruit a new CEO in the first place. As one of the highest velocity seed investors in the world, we’re now funding approximately 500 companies annually, and this number is growing fast. Our portfolio of thousands of accelerator companies has now raised well in excess of $10B from investors, with well over $2B of that happening in the last twelve months alone. It’s our job to continue helping them succeed as we grow, and as they grow. 

Techstars itself now employs 300 people in 22 countries, and has activities in more than 150 countries. Our success is attracting more and more interest, and it feels like we’re on the cusp of hypergrowth. As such, we decided to bring in an experienced operator who has seen growth from our scale to more than 10x our scale to lead us through this phase.

Maëlle has been a leading technology executive and entrepreneur for over 15 years. She began her career as an entrepreneur and then went on to become a Principal at the Boston Consulting Group from there she became CEO of OZON.ru, Russia’s largest e-commerce site (which recently went public on NASDAQ and is valued at over $9B), and then Executive VP of operations of the Priceline Group, the largest online and travel agency in the world which includes brands like OpenTable, Kayak, and Booking.com. Most recently Maëlle was Chief Operating Officer at real estate platform Compass, valued at over $6B. 

When I first read Maëlle’s book, Trampled by Unicorns: Big Tech’s Empathy Problem and How to Fix It, I was blown away. It was by far the best articulation of the problems with technology companies that I’ve seen in one place, along with practical ways that we can all contribute to addressing the issues. She sees the same opportunity for tech and entrepreneurship to be a force for good, and to benefit everyone. I knew as soon as I read it that I wanted to try to get Maëlle involved with Techstars one way or another.  

After speaking with her dozens of times over the last few months, it became clear to me and everyone on the board at Techstars that she would be incredible as the CEO of Techstars. We ran a full process, with more than 350 applicants, interviewed dozens, and felt fortunate to be able to select Maëlle. We are honored that she has also selected Techstars! 

It’s impossible to sufficiently thank my co-founder and outgoing CEO David Brown for his contributions to date. David is the best co-founder, partner, and friend I could have ever asked for. I feel incredibly fortunate that he has also been such a capable leader at exactly the right moments for Techstars.  David will continue with Techstars in his ongoing role on the Board of Directors.  

The quote at the top of this post belongs to David Brown. These can be difficult transitions for founders (more thoughts on this), but the way in which he has approached it all speaks volumes about his character and integrity. After nearly thirty years working closely with David, I am humbled to be his co-founder and honored to call him a friend. 

As for me, I am now Chairman rather than Managing Partner.  What’s behind the move to Chairman? Well, as fast growing companies mature they need leadership for the Board of Directors in addition to leadership for the company. Maëlle will lead the company as CEO, and I’ll lead the Board of Directors as Chairman. While my primary responsibility will be to provide leadership for the Board of Directors, I’ll have plenty of bandwidth day-to-day to support Maëlle on her priorities.

And now, with excitement, we welcome Maëlle to the team as we look forward to helping even more entrepreneurs succeed!

The post Introducing Maëlle Gavet as CEO of Techstars appeared first on Hi, I'm David G. Cohen.

Introducing Maëlle Gavet as CEO of Techstars


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

Thoughtful leadership evolution in growing and scaling companies is healthy. It happens in strong, successful, mission-driven companies all the time. We’ve seen it over and over again in our own investment portfolio – and helped to mentor our founders through these strategic decisions and transitions. It’s all part of the journey.” 

Today, I’m thrilled and honored to announce that Maëlle Gavet has joined Techstars as CEO. 

Maëlle Gavet

Before telling you more about Maëlle, I’d like to tell you why we decided to recruit a new CEO in the first place. As one of the highest velocity seed investors in the world, we’re now funding approximately 500 companies annually, and this number is growing fast. Our portfolio of thousands of accelerator companies has now raised well in excess of $10B from investors, with well over $2B of that happening in the last twelve months alone. It’s our job to continue helping them succeed as we grow, and as they grow. 

Techstars itself now employs 300 people in 22 countries, and has activities in more than 150 countries. Our success is attracting more and more interest, and it feels like we’re on the cusp of hypergrowth. As such, we decided to bring in an experienced operator who has seen growth from our scale to more than 10x our scale to lead us through this phase.

Maëlle has been a leading technology executive and entrepreneur for over 15 years. She began her career as an entrepreneur and then went on to become a Principal at the Boston Consulting Group from there she became CEO of OZON.ru, Russia’s largest e-commerce site (which recently went public on NASDAQ and is valued at over $9B), and then Executive VP of operations of the Priceline Group, the largest online and travel agency in the world which includes brands like OpenTable, Kayak, and Booking.com. Most recently Maëlle was Chief Operating Officer at real estate platform Compass, valued at over $6B. 

When I first read Maëlle’s book, Trampled by Unicorns: Big Tech’s Empathy Problem and How to Fix It, I was blown away. It was by far the best articulation of the problems with technology companies that I’ve seen in one place, along with practical ways that we can all contribute to addressing the issues. She sees the same opportunity for tech and entrepreneurship to be a force for good, and to benefit everyone. I knew as soon as I read it that I wanted to try to get Maëlle involved with Techstars one way or another.  

After speaking with her dozens of times over the last few months, it became clear to me and everyone on the board at Techstars that she would be incredible as the CEO of Techstars. We ran a full process, with more than 350 applicants, interviewed dozens, and felt fortunate to be able to select Maëlle. We are honored that she has also selected Techstars! 

It’s impossible to sufficiently thank my co-founder and outgoing CEO David Brown for his contributions to date. David is the best co-founder, partner, and friend I could have ever asked for. I feel incredibly fortunate that he has also been such a capable leader at exactly the right moments for Techstars.  David will continue with Techstars in his ongoing role on the Board of Directors.  

The quote at the top of this post belongs to David Brown. These can be difficult transitions for founders (more thoughts on this), but the way in which he has approached it all speaks volumes about his character and integrity. After nearly thirty years working closely with David, I am humbled to be his co-founder and honored to call him a friend. 

As for me, I am now Chairman rather than Managing Partner.  What’s behind the move to Chairman? Well, as fast growing companies mature they need leadership for the Board of Directors in addition to leadership for the company. Maëlle will lead the company as CEO, and I’ll lead the Board of Directors as Chairman. While my primary responsibility will be to provide leadership for the Board of Directors, I’ll have plenty of bandwidth day-to-day to support Maëlle on her priorities.

And now, with excitement, we welcome Maëlle to the team as we look forward to helping even more entrepreneurs succeed!

The post Introducing Maëlle Gavet as CEO of Techstars appeared first on Hi, I'm David G. Cohen.

Introducing Maëlle Gavet as CEO of Techstars


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

Thoughtful leadership evolution in growing and scaling companies is healthy. It happens in strong, successful, mission-driven companies all the time. We’ve seen it over and over again in our own investment portfolio – and helped to mentor our founders through these strategic decisions and transitions. It’s all part of the journey.” 

Today, I’m thrilled and honored to announce that Maëlle Gavet has joined Techstars as CEO. 

Maëlle Gavet

Before telling you more about Maëlle, I’d like to tell you why we decided to recruit a new CEO in the first place. As one of the highest velocity seed investors in the world, we’re now funding approximately 500 companies annually, and this number is growing fast. Our portfolio of thousands of accelerator companies has now raised well in excess of $10B from investors, with well over $2B of that happening in the last twelve months alone. It’s our job to continue helping them succeed as we grow, and as they grow. 

Techstars itself now employs 300 people in 22 countries, and has activities in more than 150 countries. Our success is attracting more and more interest, and it feels like we’re on the cusp of hypergrowth. As such, we decided to bring in an experienced operator who has seen growth from our scale to more than 10x our scale to lead us through this phase.

Maëlle has been a leading technology executive and entrepreneur for over 15 years. She began her career as an entrepreneur and then went on to become a Principal at the Boston Consulting Group from there she became CEO of OZON.ru, Russia’s largest e-commerce site (which recently went public on NASDAQ and is valued at over $9B), and then Executive VP of operations of the Priceline Group, the largest online and travel agency in the world which includes brands like OpenTable, Kayak, and Booking.com. Most recently Maëlle was Chief Operating Officer at real estate platform Compass, valued at over $6B. 

When I first read Maëlle’s book, Trampled by Unicorns: Big Tech’s Empathy Problem and How to Fix It, I was blown away. It was by far the best articulation of the problems with technology companies that I’ve seen in one place, along with practical ways that we can all contribute to addressing the issues. She sees the same opportunity for tech and entrepreneurship to be a force for good, and to benefit everyone. I knew as soon as I read it that I wanted to try to get Maëlle involved with Techstars one way or another.  

After speaking with her dozens of times over the last few months, it became clear to me and everyone on the board at Techstars that she would be incredible as the CEO of Techstars. We ran a full process, with more than 350 applicants, interviewed dozens, and felt fortunate to be able to select Maëlle. We are honored that she has also selected Techstars! 

It’s impossible to sufficiently thank my co-founder and outgoing CEO David Brown for his contributions to date. David is the best co-founder, partner, and friend I could have ever asked for. I feel incredibly fortunate that he has also been such a capable leader at exactly the right moments for Techstars.  David will continue with Techstars in his ongoing role on the Board of Directors.  

The quote at the top of this post belongs to David Brown. These can be difficult transitions for founders (more thoughts on this), but the way in which he has approached it all speaks volumes about his character and integrity. After nearly thirty years working closely with David, I am humbled to be his co-founder and honored to call him a friend. 

As for me, I am now Chairman rather than Managing Partner.  What’s behind the move to Chairman? Well, as fast growing companies mature they need leadership for the Board of Directors in addition to leadership for the company. Maëlle will lead the company as CEO, and I’ll lead the Board of Directors as Chairman. While my primary responsibility will be to provide leadership for the Board of Directors, I’ll have plenty of bandwidth day-to-day to support Maëlle on her priorities.

And now, with excitement, we welcome Maëlle to the team as we look forward to helping even more entrepreneurs succeed!

The post Introducing Maëlle Gavet as CEO of Techstars appeared first on Hi, I'm David G. Cohen.

How are startup financings and M&A impacted by the pandemic? (through November 2020)


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

Back in April of this year I wrote “Are financings and M&A slowing down during the pandemic?” with the goal of sharing the Techstars view of how things have been changing given the events of 2020. Here’s an update to that data through the end of October, 2020. Remember, the graphs show when the activity starts (comes across our virtual “desk” at Techstars for the first time). I’ll continue to try to update and share it as we get more information.

Total M&As YTD

  2019: 59

  2020: 68

The M&A data implies that the market “flinched” in April 2020. The one data point we saw in April 2020 was near the end of that month. Almost nobody was starting new M&A transactions in April. But, as the stock market came back so did the acquirers, just as quickly. And towards the end of this year it seems to be greatly accelerated year over year. My take on this is that the experienced acquirers are now deal hunting or at a minimum doing business as usual. Those that are less experienced are still on the sidelines. Now, through November, M&A is really up but some of this activity is in smaller deals. As some startups have realized that they can’t raise a new round and continue to go it on their own in some cases, perhaps acquirers are being significantly more opportunistic?

Total Financing YTD

  2019: 560

  2020: 567

For financings, the data shows that there’s still no meaningful change in the activity level in general. July of 2019 was a bit of an outlier for Techstars, with 71 financings starting that month. This was a high for the year (2019) up to that point. In 2020, we’re seeing financings continue on relatively the same pace as last year, adjusted up slightly for the size of our portfolio growing at about 500 companies per year which is about 20% over 2019 data. Takeaway: VCs have capital and they’re deploying it. Sure, maybe valuations have adjusted downward slightly, but the pace feels unchanged or even slightly up from our early stage perspective.

The post How are startup financings and M&A impacted by the pandemic? (through November 2020) appeared first on Hi, I'm David G. Cohen.

How are startup financings and M&A impacted by the pandemic? (through November 2020)


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

Back in April of this year I wrote “Are financings and M&A slowing down during the pandemic?” with the goal of sharing the Techstars view of how things have been changing given the events of 2020. Here’s an update to that data through the end of October, 2020. Remember, the graphs show when the activity starts (comes across our virtual “desk” at Techstars for the first time). I’ll continue to try to update and share it as we get more information.

Total M&As YTD

  2019: 59

  2020: 68

The M&A data implies that the market “flinched” in April 2020. The one data point we saw in April 2020 was near the end of that month. Almost nobody was starting new M&A transactions in April. But, as the stock market came back so did the acquirers, just as quickly. And towards the end of this year it seems to be greatly accelerated year over year. My take on this is that the experienced acquirers are now deal hunting or at a minimum doing business as usual. Those that are less experienced are still on the sidelines. Now, through November, M&A is really up but some of this activity is in smaller deals. As some startups have realized that they can’t raise a new round and continue to go it on their own in some cases, perhaps acquirers are being significantly more opportunistic?

Total Financing YTD

  2019: 560

  2020: 567

For financings, the data shows that there’s still no meaningful change in the activity level in general. July of 2019 was a bit of an outlier for Techstars, with 71 financings starting that month. This was a high for the year (2019) up to that point. In 2020, we’re seeing financings continue on relatively the same pace as last year, adjusted up slightly for the size of our portfolio growing at about 500 companies per year which is about 20% over 2019 data. Takeaway: VCs have capital and they’re deploying it. Sure, maybe valuations have adjusted downward slightly, but the pace feels unchanged or even slightly up from our early stage perspective.

The post How are startup financings and M&A impacted by the pandemic? (through November 2020) appeared first on Hi, I'm David G. Cohen.

How are startup financings and M&A impacted by the pandemic? (through November 2020)


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

Back in April of this year I wrote “Are financings and M&A slowing down during the pandemic?” with the goal of sharing the Techstars view of how things have been changing given the events of 2020. Here’s an update to that data through the end of October, 2020. Remember, the graphs show when the activity starts (comes across our virtual “desk” at Techstars for the first time). I’ll continue to try to update and share it as we get more information.

Total M&As YTD

  2019: 59

  2020: 68

The M&A data implies that the market “flinched” in April 2020. The one data point we saw in April 2020 was near the end of that month. Almost nobody was starting new M&A transactions in April. But, as the stock market came back so did the acquirers, just as quickly. And towards the end of this year it seems to be greatly accelerated year over year. My take on this is that the experienced acquirers are now deal hunting or at a minimum doing business as usual. Those that are less experienced are still on the sidelines. Now, through November, M&A is really up but some of this activity is in smaller deals. As some startups have realized that they can’t raise a new round and continue to go it on their own in some cases, perhaps acquirers are being significantly more opportunistic?

Total Financing YTD

  2019: 560

  2020: 567

For financings, the data shows that there’s still no meaningful change in the activity level in general. July of 2019 was a bit of an outlier for Techstars, with 71 financings starting that month. This was a high for the year (2019) up to that point. In 2020, we’re seeing financings continue on relatively the same pace as last year, adjusted up slightly for the size of our portfolio growing at about 500 companies per year which is about 20% over 2019 data. Takeaway: VCs have capital and they’re deploying it. Sure, maybe valuations have adjusted downward slightly, but the pace feels unchanged or even slightly up from our early stage perspective.

The post How are startup financings and M&A impacted by the pandemic? (through November 2020) appeared first on Hi, I'm David G. Cohen.

Conflicting Advice


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

I’ve had several conversations recently where the idea came up that advice is situational. And, for any often used piece of advice, it’s sometimes easy to give exactly the opposite advice. The hard part is deciding what advice (if any) to take in your situation. As I was saying this, I kept remembering a table I had read somewhere of “exact opposite” advice. I finally found it when revisiting a great book called The Happiness Equation. Here’s the table from that book.

Defense wins championships. The best defense is a good offense.
Birds of a feather flock together. Opposites attract.
You’re never too old to learn. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Clothes make the man. You can’t judge a book by its cover.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Out of sight, out of mind.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Better safe than sorry.
You get what you pay for. The best things in life are free.
Good things come to those who wait. The early bird gets the worm.
The pen is mightier than the sword. Actions speak louder than words.

“Advice is never objectively true in all situations.”

What other pairs can you add? Please do so in the comments!

The post Conflicting Advice appeared first on Hi, I'm David G. Cohen.

Conflicting Advice


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

I’ve had several conversations recently where the idea came up that advice is situational. And, for any often used piece of advice, it’s sometimes easy to give exactly the opposite advice. The hard part is deciding what advice (if any) to take in your situation. As I was saying this, I kept remembering a table I had read somewhere of “exact opposite” advice. I finally found it when revisiting a great book called The Happiness Equation. Here’s the table from that book.

Defense wins championships. The best defense is a good offense.
Birds of a feather flock together. Opposites attract.
You’re never too old to learn. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Clothes make the man. You can’t judge a book by its cover.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Out of sight, out of mind.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Better safe than sorry.
You get what you pay for. The best things in life are free.
Good things come to those who wait. The early bird gets the worm.
The pen is mightier than the sword. Actions speak louder than words.

“Advice is never objectively true in all situations.”

What other pairs can you add? Please do so in the comments!

The post Conflicting Advice appeared first on Hi, I'm David G. Cohen.

Conflicting Advice


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

I’ve had several conversations recently where the idea came up that advice is situational. And, for any often used piece of advice, it’s sometimes easy to give exactly the opposite advice. The hard part is deciding what advice (if any) to take in your situation. As I was saying this, I kept remembering a table I had read somewhere of “exact opposite” advice. I finally found it when revisiting a great book called The Happiness Equation. Here’s the table from that book.

Defense wins championships. The best defense is a good offense.
Birds of a feather flock together. Opposites attract.
You’re never too old to learn. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Clothes make the man. You can’t judge a book by its cover.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Out of sight, out of mind.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Better safe than sorry.
You get what you pay for. The best things in life are free.
Good things come to those who wait. The early bird gets the worm.
The pen is mightier than the sword. Actions speak louder than words.

“Advice is never objectively true in all situations.”

What other pairs can you add? Please do so in the comments!

The post Conflicting Advice appeared first on Hi, I'm David G. Cohen.

University credit and talent for Techstars alumni


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

Today, Techstars announced something really interesting – a partnership with leading educational institutions (so far this includes The University of Colorado and Northeastern University) to offer Techstars accelerator alumni instant credit towards degree programs at those universities. Think of it as a head start on an MBA or other degree, based on the direct experience gained from having started a company as part of a Techstars accelerator. Pretty cool, and amazing thought leadership from these universities!

These new partnerships also entail providing students and alumni from those universities access to apply for coveted associate positions at Techstars (we hire around 100 per year), as well as job placements into our 2,300 (and growing!) portfolio companies globally.

It’s super interesting to watch smart and forward thinking universities create new ways to attract the next generation of successful founders and entrepreneurs. After all, these are the individuals who will go on to create so many world changing innovations, to employ so many, and to change the world.

For Techstars, this is just another way that we help entrepreneurs succeed. If you work with a University and you have ideas for working closely with great startups, leave a comment on this post or reach out and we can chat about it!

The post University credit and talent for Techstars alumni appeared first on Hi, I'm David G. Cohen.

University credit and talent for Techstars alumni


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

Today, Techstars announced something really interesting – a partnership with leading educational institutions (so far this includes The University of Colorado and Northeastern University) to offer Techstars accelerator alumni instant credit towards degree programs at those universities. Think of it as a head start on an MBA or other degree, based on the direct experience gained from having started a company as part of a Techstars accelerator. Pretty cool, and amazing thought leadership from these universities!

These new partnerships also entail providing students and alumni from those universities access to apply for coveted associate positions at Techstars (we hire around 100 per year), as well as job placements into our 2,300 (and growing!) portfolio companies globally.

It’s super interesting to watch smart and forward thinking universities create new ways to attract the next generation of successful founders and entrepreneurs. After all, these are the individuals who will go on to create so many world changing innovations, to employ so many, and to change the world.

For Techstars, this is just another way that we help entrepreneurs succeed. If you work with a University and you have ideas for working closely with great startups, leave a comment on this post or reach out and we can chat about it!

The post University credit and talent for Techstars alumni appeared first on Hi, I'm David G. Cohen.

University credit and talent for Techstars alumni


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

Today, Techstars announced something really interesting – a partnership with leading educational institutions (so far this includes The University of Colorado and Northeastern University) to offer Techstars accelerator alumni instant credit towards degree programs at those universities. Think of it as a head start on an MBA or other degree, based on the direct experience gained from having started a company as part of a Techstars accelerator. Pretty cool, and amazing thought leadership from these universities!

These new partnerships also entail providing students and alumni from those universities access to apply for coveted associate positions at Techstars (we hire around 100 per year), as well as job placements into our 2,300 (and growing!) portfolio companies globally.

It’s super interesting to watch smart and forward thinking universities create new ways to attract the next generation of successful founders and entrepreneurs. After all, these are the individuals who will go on to create so many world changing innovations, to employ so many, and to change the world.

For Techstars, this is just another way that we help entrepreneurs succeed. If you work with a University and you have ideas for working closely with great startups, leave a comment on this post or reach out and we can chat about it!

The post University credit and talent for Techstars alumni appeared first on Hi, I'm David G. Cohen.

University credit and talent for Techstars alumni


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

Today, Techstars announced something really interesting – a partnership with leading educational institutions (so far this includes The University of Colorado and Northeastern University) to offer Techstars accelerator alumni instant credit towards degree programs at those universities. Think of it as a head start on an MBA or other degree, based on the direct experience gained from having started a company as part of a Techstars accelerator. Pretty cool, and amazing thought leadership from these universities!

These new partnerships also entail providing students and alumni from those universities access to apply for coveted associate positions at Techstars (we hire around 100 per year), as well as job placements into our 2,300 (and growing!) portfolio companies globally.

It’s super interesting to watch smart and forward thinking universities create new ways to attract the next generation of successful founders and entrepreneurs. After all, these are the individuals who will go on to create so many world changing innovations, to employ so many, and to change the world.

For Techstars, this is just another way that we help entrepreneurs succeed. If you work with a University and you have ideas for working closely with great startups, leave a comment on this post or reach out and we can chat about it!

The post University credit and talent for Techstars alumni appeared first on Hi, I'm David G. Cohen.

Protected: Techstars Foundation Accelerates Equity


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

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The post Protected: Techstars Foundation Accelerates Equity appeared first on Hi, I'm David G. Cohen.

Techstars Foundation Accelerates Equity


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

In 2015, I helped get the Techstars Foundation going. The Techstars Foundation focuses on gifts of both cash and network support for organizations that improve access to entrepreneurship for underrepresented entrepreneurs. So far, we’ve given around $1.1M in grants, and we hope that the active help from the Techstars network has been an even more powerful gift.

Based on feedback from the dozens of organizations we’ve supported to date, we’ve recently launched Accelerate Equity which is a new way to call on the power of the Techstars network to fuel a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem. The way this works is that anyone who wants to make a significant lead grant to a non-profit that is focused on access to entrepreneurship can get three benefits by making their grant via Techstars foundation:

  • First, we promote their lead donation to our network and ask our mentors, alumni, partners, and community leaders to add to the lead donation.
  • Once all of the matching donations have come in from the network, we add an additional 5% to the total commitment.
  • Finally, if the total raised is greater than $50,000, Techstars accelerates that non-profit in a similar way that it has accelerated 2,000+ for profit organizations which have created tens of billions of dollars of enterperise value to date.

Here’s a specific example:

  • Anchor Point Foundation (Brad Feld and Amy Batchelor) has provided a lead donation for Grid110 of $50,000. Grid110 is an economic and community development non-profit dedicated to creating clearer pathways to success for early-stage entrepreneurs in Los Angeles.
  • Via this blog post and other promotion, we’re asking you to consider matching this gift, in any amount.
  • Imagine that the initial $50,000 lead donation generates another $25,000 in matches from the network. That’s $75,000 in total. The Techstars Foundation then adds 5%, or another $3,750. Ultimately, Grid110 would receive $78,750 instead of just the original $50,000 lead gift. And, because the amount is more than $50,000, Techstars will work with the non-profit for a year to help accelerate them!

In short, if you’re considering donating to a non-profit that impacts diversity and inclusion in tech in positive ways, you’d be better off pledging it via the Techstars Foundation than giving it directly. Your lead gift can be amplified for further fundraising in the Techstars network, and automatically qualifies for additional matching. This is the definition of a no-brainer!

So here’s a call to action – Give to one of the four organizations below to amplify the gift of the lead donor, or simply donate to these and other future non-profits by making a gift to our matching fund.

The first four non-profits currently being amplified through Accelerate Equity are:

  • HBCUvc – HBCUvc actively reimagines the innovation economy by developing the next generation of venture capital leaders in communities where entrepreneurs face barriers accessing capital. Their work begins at one of the most overlooked avenues for Black innovation (HBCUs) and extends to cities where stark inequalities and implicit biases continue to widen the racial wealth gap. This one is currently over the $50,000 mark! Can you help?
  • Grid110 – Their mission is to foster the most thriving, inviting & inclusive community for entrepreneurs in Los Angeles. Grid110 believes that anyone with the goal of becoming an entrepreneur should have the chance to pursue it and receive support along the way. Their work impacts individuals who are often overlooked by traditional startup ecosystems — that’s what drives Grid110 to make the entrepreneurial path more equitable, inclusive and accessible. This one is currently over the $50,000 mark! Let’s do this LA!
  • Knox St. Studios – Knox St. Studios connects and equips current or aspiring entrepreneurs across the Triangle area of North Carolina and beyond with the skills needed to create businesses, jobs, intellectual property, and community wealth for generations to come. This one is at $40,000+, help us get it over the $50,000 mark! Share it in the RTP/North Carolina area!
  • Sistah.biz – Sistahbiz is working to build a tech solution to expand their reach to Black women entrepreneurs globally and close the gap for Black women in business worldwide. The portal will provide a one-stop-shop space online for Black women entrepreneurs to access back office services, coaching, training, and a variety of opportunities to collaborate and network. Currently over $50,000 raised so far, can you help?

Consider a gift to one or more of the above campaigns, or donate to our general matching fund and support all of them and future organizations as well! All donations are tax deductible where allowed by law.

And, if you know of any amazing non-profit and you want to make a lead donation and benefit from the Accelerate Equity program, you can learn more here.

Finally, share this post with anyone who may be interested in having an impact!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Potential to change the world through entrepreneurship is everywhere, but opportunity is not (yet). We can do this!

The post Techstars Foundation Accelerates Equity appeared first on Hi, I'm David G. Cohen.

Techstars Foundation Accelerates Equity


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

In 2015, I helped get the Techstars Foundation going. The Techstars Foundation focuses on gifts of both cash and network support for organizations that improve access to entrepreneurship for underrepresented entrepreneurs. So far, we’ve given around $1.1M in grants, and we hope that the active help from the Techstars network has been an even more powerful gift.

Based on feedback from the dozens of organizations we’ve supported to date, we’ve recently launched Accelerate Equity which is a new way to call on the power of the Techstars network to fuel a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem. The way this works is that anyone who wants to make a significant lead grant to a non-profit that is focused on access to entrepreneurship can get three benefits by making their grant via Techstars foundation:

  • First, we promote their lead donation to our network and ask our mentors, alumni, partners, and community leaders to add to the lead donation.
  • Once all of the matching donations have come in from the network, we add an additional 5% to the total commitment.
  • Finally, if the total raised is greater than $50,000, Techstars accelerates that non-profit in a similar way that it has accelerated 2,000+ for profit organizations which have created tens of billions of dollars of enterperise value to date.

Here’s a specific example:

  • Anchor Point Foundation (Brad Feld and Amy Batchelor) has provided a lead donation for Grid110 of $50,000. Grid110 is an economic and community development non-profit dedicated to creating clearer pathways to success for early-stage entrepreneurs in Los Angeles.
  • Via this blog post and other promotion, we’re asking you to consider matching this gift, in any amount.
  • Imagine that the initial $50,000 lead donation generates another $25,000 in matches from the network. That’s $75,000 in total. The Techstars Foundation then adds 5%, or another $3,750. Ultimately, Grid110 would receive $78,750 instead of just the original $50,000 lead gift. And, because the amount is more than $50,000, Techstars will work with the non-profit for a year to help accelerate them!

In short, if you’re considering donating to a non-profit that impacts diversity and inclusion in tech in positive ways, you’d be better off pledging it via the Techstars Foundation than giving it directly. Your lead gift can be amplified for further fundraising in the Techstars network, and automatically qualifies for additional matching. This is the definition of a no-brainer!

So here’s a call to action – Give to one of the four organizations below to amplify the gift of the lead donor, or simply donate to these and other future non-profits by making a gift to our matching fund.

The first four non-profits currently being amplified through Accelerate Equity are:

  • HBCUvc – HBCUvc actively reimagines the innovation economy by developing the next generation of venture capital leaders in communities where entrepreneurs face barriers accessing capital. Their work begins at one of the most overlooked avenues for Black innovation (HBCUs) and extends to cities where stark inequalities and implicit biases continue to widen the racial wealth gap. This one is currently over the $50,000 mark! Can you help?
  • Grid110 – Their mission is to foster the most thriving, inviting & inclusive community for entrepreneurs in Los Angeles. Grid110 believes that anyone with the goal of becoming an entrepreneur should have the chance to pursue it and receive support along the way. Their work impacts individuals who are often overlooked by traditional startup ecosystems — that’s what drives Grid110 to make the entrepreneurial path more equitable, inclusive and accessible. This one is currently over the $50,000 mark! Let’s do this LA!
  • Knox St. Studios – Knox St. Studios connects and equips current or aspiring entrepreneurs across the Triangle area of North Carolina and beyond with the skills needed to create businesses, jobs, intellectual property, and community wealth for generations to come. This one is at $40,000+, help us get it over the $50,000 mark! Share it in the RTP/North Carolina area!
  • Sistah.biz – Sistahbiz is working to build a tech solution to expand their reach to Black women entrepreneurs globally and close the gap for Black women in business worldwide. The portal will provide a one-stop-shop space online for Black women entrepreneurs to access back office services, coaching, training, and a variety of opportunities to collaborate and network. Currently over $50,000 raised so far, can you help?

Consider a gift to one or more of the above campaigns, or donate to our general matching fund and support all of them and future organizations as well! All donations are tax deductible where allowed by law.

And, if you know of any amazing non-profit and you want to make a lead donation and benefit from the Accelerate Equity program, you can learn more here.

Finally, share this post with anyone who may be interested in having an impact!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Potential to change the world through entrepreneurship is everywhere, but opportunity is not (yet). We can do this!

The post Techstars Foundation Accelerates Equity appeared first on Hi, I'm David G. Cohen.