The latest crop of TechStars companies are just now filtering into New York, and the full list of companies won’t be public for a week. Normally, during this moving-in period, TechStars startups are as quiet as mice. We’re not quite sure why; perhaps they’re cowed by the big city, worried about stepping on the toes of their new mentors, or self-conscious about the fact that they may barely have a product. For whatever reason, they don’t usually take our calls.
But not Craig Danuloff, a dot-com veteran who sold one of the first e-commerce platforms, iCat, to Intel in ’98 (and wow, here’s the CNET post), who was more than happy to get the press. No, it’s not because his startup Rewind is raising money, although they’re “having discussions” about that, he said. It’s just that the product is pretty far along and he thought it was time to start talking about it, he told Betabeat.
“What we’re trying to do is put the first version of the app out early as close to the start of [TechStars] as possible,” he said, in order to have a live product to play with as the session progresses. The formerly Philly-based entrepreneur spoke to Betabeat by iPhone (AT&T, drop count: 1) as he headed home from signing a lease in Manhattan.
With Demo Day coming up tomorrow, ten out of 11 companies is the number to beat. That’s ratio of startups from TechStars inaugural class that got funded. But keep in mind not everyone had a killer Demo Day. For some, funding didn’t come till a few months down the line. “It’s like the SATs,” one mentor told Betabeat of Demo Day. “Some people are good at testing, some aren’t.”
There’s a lot riding on tomorrow’s event–the funding environment isn’t quite as frothy as it was for TechStarsNY 1.0, and the companies are well aware of that, mentors told Betabeat. “It’s a more fragile period of time than last Demo Day,” said the mentor. “They realize that they gotta be on their game.” As such, companies have been pounding out the decks, practicing demos for each other almost every week.
Perhaps it’s because the cameras aren’t around, or perhaps because TechStars New York is more established, but there’s less ego in this class and fewer type-A personalities. Investors promise that this Demo Day will still have plenty of showmanship and say this season’s TechStars class is fundamentally very solid. Many companies have partnerships; some have revenue. Almost all have raised money or gotten commitments–several New York VCs told us they had invested in at least one of the startups. Two companies won’t even really be raising money, one mentor said, because they don’t need it.”
Curious to know who pivoted and who’s already closed their round? Check out our cheat sheet, get your game face on for tomorrow and pick your ponies in the comments.
Update: SideTour announced their funding today on TechCrunch, a $1.5 million round led by RRE and Foundry Group. We noted in the slideshow they already had their lead investors locked down, but it seems unlikely now they will try to grow their round tomorrow.
It’s been a soggy three months for David Cohen, who moved here from Boulder Colorado with his wife and one year old child to help launch TechStars NY.
But the payoff today was better than expected. “What really surprised me was the speed with which New York investors are moving these days. We got four Read More