Techstars is a mentorship-driven startup accelerator founded by David Cohen, Brad Feld, David Brown, and Jared Polis that holds 13 week programs for startups in Boulder, New York City, Boston, Seattle, San Antonio, Austin, Chicago, LA, Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, London, Tel Aviv, Cape Town, and Berlin .[2][3] It is considered one of the best startup accelerators in the world.[4][5][6][7][8] Fewer than 1% of the companies that apply to Techstars are accepted.[9]

As of mid-2016, Techstars has accepted over 800 companies into its program. Collectively, these companies have raised over $2,300,000,000 USD.[10] Program mentors include Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley, tumblr CEO David Karp, HubSpot co-founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah, and Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures.[11][12][13]

A notable competing accelerator is Y Combinator, to which it is often compared.[14][15][16]


In 2006, Techstars was founded in Boulder, Colorado by David Cohen, Brad Feld, David Brown, and Jared Polis. Techstars held its first program in 2007 with ten companies.[17] Of the ten, two were acquired that same year, three achieved positive exits by 2012, and two currently generate millions in annual revenue.[18]

In subsequent years, Techstars expanded to four additional cities: Boston in 2009; Seattle in 2010; New York City in 2011; a "cloud" program in San Antonio in 2012; and Austin in 2013.[19][20][21][22] Techstars has since expanded into many other locations worldwide .

In January 2011, the firm launched the Global Accelerator Network, which links 22 similar programs internationally.[23][24] The network was launched in conjunction with President Barack Obama’s Startup America Partnership.[25]

In September 2013, Techstars made its first acquisition with NameLayer, a repository of “high-quality,” tech-focused domain names. It now offers these domain names to its program participants.[26]


Startups can apply for Techstars’ program and their viability is judged by the program’s directors.[27] In exchange for 6% common stock, each company accepted into Techstars receives $20,000, plus a $100,000 convertible note, access to the Techstars network, and a three-month support program,[28] which is conducted in three phases.[29] Mentorship is one of the highest values of joining Techstars according to the Handshakin Video Series[30]

Notable Alumni