Techstars Patriot Boot Camp Coming to Madison

techstars-patriot-bootcamp-logoPatriot Boot Camp is a national program designed to engage, inspire, and mentor military veterans and their spouses to start, innovate, and scale the next generation of high-growth companies. Techstars is expanding the previous annual events in Washington, DC and New York City and will be holding a 3-day Wisconsin Patriot Boot Camp in Madison on September 26-28, 2014.

Attendance to the Wisconsin Patriot Bootcamp is open to active military, Veterans, and/or their spouses at no cost. Those interested in attending can apply here. More information on the program is available here.

Bus to Techstars in Milwaukee Event – Last Call to Sign Up

techstars-logo-small-300x215Join Capital Entrepreneurs on a (coach) bus trip to Milwaukee on Wednesday, February 12th to spend an evening learning about Techstars’ Chicago program, presented by Startup Milwaukee and Golden Angels Investors.

This free event will feature prominent entrepreneurs Sam Yagan (CEO of match.com and co-founder of OkCupid) and Troy Henikoff (co-founder of Techstars Chicago and SurePayroll). Also sharing their experiences, will be the co-founders of a startup that recently participated in a Techstars accelerator program.

This is the last call to sign up for the free bus trip to Milwaukee; don’t miss out on this exciting event.

For more information and to reserve your seat, go here.

Bus to Techstars in Milwaukee Event

techstars-logo-smallJoin Capital Entrepreneurs on a (coach) bus trip to Milwaukee on Wednesday, February 12th to spend an evening learning about Techstars’ Chicago program, presented by Startup Milwaukee and Golden Angels Investors.

This free event will feature prominent entrepreneurs Sam Yagan (CEO of match.com and co-founder of OkCupid) and Troy Henikoff (co-founder of Techstars Chicago and SurePayroll). Also sharing their experiences, will be the co-founders of a startup that recently participated in a Techstars accelerator program.

For more information and to reserve your seat, go here.

SnowShoe Joins TechStars

snowshoeSnowShoe (makers of the SnowShoe Stamp) was selected for the TechStars summer program in Boulder, CO. SnowShoe is the fifth Madison startup to take part in TechStars, and they are the first to join the program’s Boulder location. The program starts today and runs through August 9th.

“We are extremely excited to be taking part in TechStars this summer.” – SnowShoe CEO Claus Moberg

TechStars provides participating companies with a small amount of funding, direct mentorship from successful entrepreneurs, and access to a world-wide network of alumni and supporters. The incubator was started in Boulder in 2006, and also runs programs in New York City, Boston, San Antonio, Chicago, and London. Read more here.

Tonight: Wisconsin Startup Night with TechStars

techstars-logo-smallWisconsin Startup Night: TechStars in Madison is happening tonight (March 4) at the Monona Terrace starting at 5pm. The event is co-organized by Accelerate Madison, Capital Entrepreneurs, and Foley & Lardner.

Presenters include Monty Schmidt, founder of Madison’s Sonic Foundry; Sam Yagan, co-founder of OkCupid, CEO of match.com and co-founder of Excelerate Labs (now TechStars Chicago); and Matt Younkle & Preston Austin, co-founders of Murfie, serial entrepreneurs and TechStars alumni. The evening will include networking, a full explanation of TechStars Chicago, and a call for new businesses to apply to the TechStars Midwest accelerator.

To register, go here.

Wisconsin Startup Night: TechStars in Madison

techstars-logo-smallNew tech businesses are thriving in Wisconsin – and your odds just got even better! Could your idea become the next Sonic Foundry or match.com? On Monday evening, March 4 at Monona Terrace, join Accelerate Madison, Foley & Lardner, LLP and Capital Entrepreneurs in welcoming TechStars Chicago to Madison.

TechStars Chicago’s co-founders are prominent entrepreneurs Troy Henikoff and Sam Yagan, co-founder of OkCupid and now CEO of match.com. TechStars, billed as “the world’s #1 business accelerator,” is a 12-week bootcamp program designed to provide promising startups with seed capital, intensive mentoring, infrastructure, and a chance to pitch angels and VCs. TechStars has a history of successful programs in Boston, New York, Boulder, Seattle and San Antonio, and now they have expanded to the Midwest through a combination with Chicago’s Excelerate Labs. This is an exciting opportunity to learn from and with some of the smartest and best-connected people in the high-tech industry.

Presenters include Monty Schmidt, founder of Madison’s Sonic Foundry; Sam Yagan, co-founder of OkCupid, CEO of match.com and co-founder of Excelerate Labs (now TechStars Chicago); and Matt Younkle & Preston Austin, co-founders of Murfie, serial entrepreneurs and TechStars alumni. The evening will include networking, a full explanation of TechStars Chicago, and a call for new businesses to apply to this excellent Midwest accelerator.

Register by February 25 and attendance is free!

Who should attend

  • Founders of startup tech businesses
  • Entrepreneurs with new tech concepts
  • Managers & professionals working in the digital sector
  • Anyone involved with business growth in southern Wisconsin

Event details
Location: Monona Terrace, Madison
Time: Monday, March 4, 5-8 p.m.
        5:00-6:30: networking, hors d’oeuvres, cash bar
        6:30-8:00: program & Q&A
Cost: FREE through 2/25, $10 after 2/25 or at the door

TechStars Cloud: Month 1 – The Mentors

Max Lynch is a Madison entrepreneur and co-founder of Codiqa. Codiqa provides rapid HTML5 mobile prototyping in the cloud. Max shares his journey through the TechStars Cloud program.

codiqa_page_logoOne month ago Drifty Co. (creators of HTML5 dev tools Codiqa and Jetstrap) started our three months of TechStars Cloud in San Antonio, TX.

TechStars is a national, mentor-driven accelerator program for early stage startups. The “Cloud” version, sponsored by Rackspace, focuses on companies building out the future plumbing of the cloud. Of all the TechStars programs, Cloud is probably the nerdiest, with many startups stacked with technical founders focusing on developer tools, APIs, and services.

TechStars programs follow a consistent format: the first month is all about meeting with mentors and finding a core set to meet with for the duration of the program. Month two is all about working with that core set of mentors and making progress, and month three is focusing on demo day and raising money for those who choose to (hint: it really is your choice).

We are in the first month, which is supposedly the most intense part of the program, and I have to agree: I have never been more mentally and physically exhausted or worked so hard in my entire life. We have met with so many mentors, and each has had something unique to add or challenge us to conquer. We work hard each week to try out their suggestions, gather data, and figure out where the truth lies.

You learn quickly that to get the most out of your mentor meetings you must effectively explain your company, vision, current progress, and challenges within the first few minutes, lest you dwell on the same questions from mentors and waste the precious 30 minutes.

The mentor meetings have been hugely important for us. We have gained perspective and clarity about where our company is at, and where we are going. I feel much more confident about our future and how we are going to tackle this huge opportunity in front of us. That includes working on our marketing, big vision, hiring strategy, capitalization, and product development, among many other things.

Now that we are reaching the end of the first month, I am happy to say that the group of 12 startups (50+ founders and employees) are becoming much closer. Through drunken nights of ping-pong to playing Werewolf, to critiquing each other’s pitch, we have formed relationships that feel more like real friendships than simple business acquaintances.

I’m starting to fully appreciate the importance of forming real friendships with others in the startup space. When you can’t bullshit each other and can trust telling each other your deepest darkest fears, you form truly strong bonds that help you conquer amazing challenges and grow in profound ways.

It’s one of the biggest lessons I want to take back to Madison with me. Our startup scene and city will grow best when we form more informal relationships with each other outside of work. When we feel more comfortable sharing the realities of running a startup, we can receive and give the best advice. But it’s a two-way street.

Now that month one is ending and month two is beginning, we are extremely anxious to hit the track and make more progress on the product and business. We are preparing for demo day, but we are leaning towards not raising money: we’d rather close some big deals we are working on and use that to fund our company.

More than anything, TechStars is like a 3rd co-founder, complete with all the closed-door discourse and honesty you’d expect from a founder. But at the end of the day “it’s your company” (commonly heard here) and you truly are in control.

We all feel like we are in college again, and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s a blast!

Until next month,
Max Lynch
Founder of Drifty Co.
max@drifty.co

Codiqa Featured in Wisconsin State Journal

codiqa_logoCodiqa was recently featured in the Wisconsin State Journal. Codiqa is in the middle of their 3 month TechStars Cloud accelerator experience, and they join Capital Entrepreneurs members Murfie, Vidmaker, and Spill as being a TechStars company. Codiqa is a prototyping and interface-building tool for jQuery Mobile that makes it easy to create mobile websites or native apps. The article touches on their roots and products – check out the full article here.

TechStars for a Day

Guest post by WomStreet Co-Founder Matt Ford. WomStreet is a competitive social media hub that hosts large scale video and photo contests for companies in order to create genuine brand engagement. They were one of 25 companies recently invited to “TechStars for a Day” in Boston.

The WomStreet founding team, Ryan Schmukler, Alex Kreindler & Matt Ford – all University of Wisconsin alumni – packed their bags around midnight and departed for the Chicago Midway airport around 2am, embarking on an interesting entrepreneurial journey to Boston, Massachusetts.

The event commenced around 1pm with a talk by Bill Warner — the founder of a video editing software company, Avid Technologies, and prominent angel investor in the Massachusetts area. Bill’s speech was highly insightful, his main message being that tech startups too frequently structure themselves around a revenue model, rather than pursuing the founders’ genuine motive to create joy among consumers.

Bill’s speech was followed by a panel of TechStars graduates, all of whom could not speak highly enough about the TechStars experience. After a few insightful words from Katie Rae, the managing director of the program, a 4 hour networking session with various prominent tech entrepreneurs and TechStars mentors ensued. It was truly a pleasure for the WomStreet founders to represent the Madison area among so many successful people in the Boston startup space.

WomStreet has been graining traction as of recently, signing several small businesses in the Madison area to host contests on their platform as soon as it launches in the next couple of weeks.