Entrepreneurs building connected hardware

Entrepreneurs!  If’ you’re working on hardware, internet of things, and connected devices – you should be aware of a date that’s fast approaching.

October 11th is the last day to apply for the R/GA Accelerator, powered by Techstars.  The 3 month program is focused on connected devices and is based in NYC.  As is standard with all Techstars programs, you’ll have access to the leading mentors from NYC, Techstars, Makers, Marketers, major brands, any people who are experts in all things connected devices.  The 10 best companies will get:

  • Up to $120,000 in funding
  • Co-location space provided by R/GA in New York
  • Design and development support from experienced R/GA designers and developers who’ve built connected devices and services.
  • Mentor sessions with industry leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, and influencers
  • Access to prototyping equipment, including Makerbot printers
  • Invite-only launch presentation event in Austin, TX at SxSWi 2014
  • Demo Day presentation to angel investors, select R/GA clients, and media in New York

It’s perfect for teams still ideating, have a working prototype, or up to about $2M in revenue or funding.

Get all the details at http://www.RGAAccelerator.com.

OR just follow along on TW with @RGAaccelerator

This week’s TechStars application tip: The Team

Happy 2013!

This week’s application tip comes near and dear to my heart.  The Team.

We put a heavy emphasis on team.  In fact, we like to say that we look for 5 things in an application:

  1. Team
  2. Team
  3. Team
  4. Market
  5. Idea

So, spend some time crafting an AMAZING team section.  I’m looking for telltale signs that you’re passionate about what you’re doing, you and your co-founders are capable of weathering storms together, and you have a demonstrable ability to execute.  (either on this idea, or on past projects).  I’m also looking for roles in the company, so I can see who does what and where the holes are.

Here is a checklist of stuff you can include to highlight how awesome your bad-ass self is:

  • Your full name, role in the company, and links to linked-in, twitter, and github.  If you’re a coder and you’re not on Github, WTF?
  • Highlight why you’re working on this company.  What was the inspiration?  Keep it short!
  • How you met your cofounders.  Keep it short!
  • Highlight any accomplishments in the past.  Successful exit?  Say so!  Won the chess championship in high school?  Awesome!  Tell me!  Big failure?  Awesome, tell me (huge learning here).  Started coding when you were 6?  Cool!  This can be in bulletpoint format (read, I prefer bulletpoints!).  I’m just trying to get a sense of who you are and what you’re capable of doing.  Totally cool if you have a lot of bulletpoints.  If you don’t have a lot of bulletpoints, then I can’t really get to know you and might even erroneously make the assumption that you haven’t done anything with your life yet.

“But Nicole!”, you might ask.  ”What if I’m a single founder?”  Single founders are a very rare breed in the TechStars eco-system.  We have funded single founders in the past, but it’s really tough on them in the program.  The program moves 1000MPH and its often too much for even 2 people to manage, much less 1.  BUT, we have funded single founders in the past that an execute like a madman (or madwoman).  So just talk to me about your history, show me you can build stuff, fast, and I’m interested.

Also – use the team video!  Keep it short, like to < 1 minute.  Just sit yourselves down in front of your webcam or smartphone, and shoot.  No need for production quality.  But please, show me some personality.  Sing, dance, beatbox, be creative… Just standing there and telling me what you’ve done in the past isn’t the most fun way to pass the time (especially when I’m on application #782).

For those astute readers, you’ll notice how many times I’ve alluded to brevity.  Efficiency of words and video goes a long way for me.  The shorter it is, the more likely I am to read the whole thing instead of just scanning it.

Early application deadline (to qualify for TechStars for a Day in NYC) is Jan 4th, that’s in just 2 days!  Don’t procrastinate and apply now.

 

Need a co-founder?

The 2nd most frequently asked question I get at TechStars is:  I have a great idea but I really need a co-founder.  Know where I can find one?

Finding a co-founder is like finding a spouse, and your relationship with your co-founder will likely be as complex as the one with your significant other.

Enter Founder Dating, a little event we’re holding in Boulder on Feb 9th.  It’s a place where you can meet other individuals looking to start a company with a co-founder.

You need to register in advance, so RSVP here.  

See you there!

Community Office Hours – get ‘em while they’re hot

I get tons of meeting requests for individuals looking to pitch their business idea, or introduce themselves, maybe they’re new to town, or looking for a job.  I love meeting with people, and to make sure I can continue to accommodate the growing number of requests, I’ve set up community office hours.

If you want to meet with me for whatever reason, sign yourself up here. Looking forward to meeting you!

How to get into TechStars…

techstarsbadgeSo I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve accepted the role of GM for TechStars Boulder this summer! I’ve been at it for 3 weeks now and I’m having a blast. The one question I keep getting is ‘How do we beat all the competition and get into TechStars?’. While I’m truly new to the program, I think I can share a little insight about what gets everyone excited.

1. The Team: If there are 2-4 of you, and you’re all rockstars, we get excited. Rockstars know how to execute. They’re bright, driven, creative, and have accomplish tons in a short period of time on this and/or past projects.

2. Hunger: Your team has to really want this – and communicate that with us. Walk the line of annoying. Just saying you want it doesn’t count, you have to show us by working your ass off to hit your milestones.

3. Idea: You’ve come up with something innovative, new, & exciting. While a good team will always trump a good idea, the combo is thrilling.

4. You listen: TechStars is a mentor-driven program. We try to surround you by the best and brightest to help accelerate your company. You have to know how to listen to input (sometimes negative), sort through the noise, and execute quickly on the best advice.

5. You Execute: I’ve said this in almost all of the above points too, but thought it imperative to call it out on its own. Millions of people have hundreds of good ideas. It’s not the good idea – it’s the ability to execute on a good idea that makes all the difference. Hell you can execute on a bad idea and that’s better than not executing at all. Learn how to get stuff done quickly, cheaply, and effectively and you’ll not only go far at TechStars, but whatever you do in life.

If you haven’t applied yet, you better hurry! Deadline is March 21st!