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The Real TechStars of New York
Good things come to those areas blessed with Google Fiber, and so it is with Kansas City. Last summer, GOOG the Beneficent gifted the metropolitan area with its own brand of ultra high-speed Internet. Local startups have already been taking advantage of Google Fiber’s 100x speed, but there is more.
So very much more.
At any startup accelerator, Demo Days are a relentlessly upbeat affair–a parade of promotional pitch decks and stats about market size that somehow always reach up into the billions. But in New York City, Techstars’ biannual showcase takes the cake.
Founded in Boulder, the program launched in New York in 2011 (just as the startup scene cried out for tent poles to rally around) and easily fills auditoriums. Companies often announce “soft-circled” funding or even that the round has already closed. Mayor Bloomberg even called the number of investors who fly to New York to check out presentations, “proof positive that the TechStars is going to change this world and certainly change America and this city.”
Or as TechStars mentor Joel Spolsky put it before introducing one of the startups at Webster Hall: ”Time to get my company oversubscribed.”
Protip: don’t namedrop on the internet. Back in October, Betabeat interviewed Oren Bennett, an inexperienced but ambitious college dropout who was putting together a $100 million fund. In November, he told UNYStartups, ““I’ve talked to Brad Feld, Luke Nosek, Jim O’Neill, John Frankel, Eliot Durbin, Kirill Sheynkman and Murat Aktihanoglu. The list goes on of people who I’ve told about what I’m doing and have considered potential LPs.”
Oops! Don’t namedrop on the internet, because the people you name will probably see it. Mr. Feld clarified in Betabeat comments that he had spoken to Mr. Bennett for five minutes at an event (good memory!) and did not consider himself a “prospective LP.”
“As we say many times in the book, this is not a substitute for hiring a good lawyer,” Jason Mendelson said, sitting in a 46th floor conference room at Cooley LLP. “But most venture lawyers suck anyway.”
Mr. Mendelson was in town with Brad Feld, his partner at the Foundry Group in Boulder, Colorado, to promote their new book, Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer or Venture Capitalist.
“The thing is, many lawyers who don’t specialize in VC will get bogged down in details that don’t matter, and that ends up souring a good deal,” Mr. Feld added.
In addition to its reality TV show on the Bloomberg network, TechStars is starring in a web TV show/podcast on the Jason Calacanis-founded network This Week In. It’s out of Boulder, not NYC. “In our very first episode of This Week in TechStars, we welcome Brad Feld of Foundry Group and Jeff Clavier of SofTech VC and finally Ari Newman, founder of Filtrbox. Each of these people has been involved in TechStars since it started in 2007. It is just under an hour long and covers the origins of TechStars, entrepreneurial ecosystems, and explores pricing dynamics.”
Tech Bubble Watch
OnSwipe, the breakout start-up from TechStarsNY that converts websites into iPad-ready HTML5, launched to much fanfare last week. But now that people have had some time to play around with it, not everyone likes what they see.
Entrepreneur/NYU j-school scholar Dave Winer began a post last night on ScriptingNews with, “I’m really getting annoyed with OnSwipe.” This morning, Mr. Winer tweeted a link to a thread on Hacker News with Bay Area coder Danilo Campos declaring, front-and-center, “Fucking crimony do I hate OnSwipe.”
Techstars NY, which is more selective than the Ivy League, has chosen its first class of eleven startups.
For those who are keeping track, that means one more company slipped in than was originally planned.
It’s an interesting range of companies. Two companies have yet to write a single line of code, four have raised Read More