The Real TechStars of New York

David Tisch Made At Least 15 Investments This Summer Before Stepping Back from TechStars

My, how quickly they grow. It seems like just yesterday Betabeat was following TechStars managing director David Tisch around Union Square for a profile of the new crown prince of the tech scene. But in an unexpected August surprise, Mr. Tisch just announced on his blog that he would be stepping back from his day-to-day duties at the startup accelerator.

“The program was at a point of stability. I was incredibly proud of what we built over two years: three programs, 36 companies,” Mr. Tisch, who also invests personally through Box Group, told Betabeat by phone. “We were in between a big lull in the program, so it felt like the right time.”

Mr. Tisch’s new title will be cofounder of TechStars New York. “I’m still going to be involved and help with all the other stuff. It’s just not day-to-day anymore. I’m going to mentor, I’m an investor in the program. I’ll help with the selection committee and stuff like that and we’ll figure out where it goes.”

TechStars New York’s next class won’t be named until 2013, “so there’s no delay or anything like that,” he explained.

As for his replacement, “I literally have no idea,” Mr. Tisch said. He won’t be directly involved in naming his successor, “But I have a good relationship with David Cohen and we’ll continue to chat about it,” he added.

“I tried to brainstorm [candidates], but I don’t know,” he said. “I think over time somebody will emerge. I was that person last time. I think somebody will just show up and do it who is great, I guess.”

There may have been a lull between classes, but Mr. Tisch–known for his tough love and 3 a.m. emails–has kept himself busy. “I’ve never been more excited about the companies I’m working with,” he said. “It’s been a busy summer. I made probably about 15 investments over the past three months.”

We tried to prod for details about which startups in particular he was enthused about working with, and the dutiful leader naturally pointed towards the most recent TechStars flock. “I think there’s some really interesting companies that have emerged from that group. They’re young, they’re early, but there are some good teams in there. Lua has announced their funding, they’re super interesting, what Kelsey is doing at Poptip and Jeremy at Wander and Moveline and Pickie as they launch, as they emerge that will be really interesting.”

Mr. Tisch also name-checked a couple of investments. “I did CasaHop. I was an investor in Behance earlier this summer. OpenAir publishing is doing some cool stuff on the iPhone with creating books and before that 9GAG, which has a lot of pageviews since people have written about it.” He also said there were about 10 or 15 other deals he couldn’t yet disclose.

Whatever his next move, expect him to stick to early-stage startups. “I love doing what I’m doing. There are not really many changes besides taking a step back at TechStars. I see no change in my day-to-day, my deal flow, etc. Hopefully I can continue to work with awesome people and awesome companies.”

More time to plan his upcoming wedding? “I’ve outsourced that,” he said, laughing. “I luckily have a partner who cares to do that for me. She has a lot more opinions that I do.”

Follow Nitasha Tiku on Twitter or via RSS. ntiku@observer.com