Behind the scenes at Techstars – Week 3


Following on from last week, we had 3 more days  of mentor meetings and 2 great founder stories this week. Exhaustion is beginning to set in and people are all beginning to share their favourite meditation tips and apps.

Monday – Mentors and CEO Meeting

  • 100 Mentor Meetings today from 9 to 12.30
  • CEO Meeting
  • 1 Deep Dive

Tuesday – Mentors and 2 Founder Stories

  • 100 Mentor Meetings from 9 to 12.30
  • And when it rains it pours… we had 2 Founder Stories today as both Moritz Zimmerman and Steven Collins were in town. We would not normally schedule 2 Founder stories in one day but since Steve had flown in from London and Moritz from Munich, we could not risk missing out on hearing from these incredible entrepreneurs. The companies were hugely motivated and excited after hearing each of these incredible Founders speak. Both shared their personal journey and their behind the scenes choices, mistakes, struggles and lessons encountered. Both Steve and Moritz were so candid and forthcoming with everyone and we really appreciate their time as both Mentors and Founders.
  • Moritz is the CTO and co-founder of Hybris which reportedly sold to SAP for >$1B. Hybris is at the core of SAP’s omnichannel e-commerce, marketing, services and sales cloud C4
  • Steve was the CTO and co-founder of Havok, Kore and Swrve and is now a venture partner at Frontline Ventures. His companies have raised over $70M in VC and Havok is the physics engine behind games like Half Life 2, movies like Matrix Reloaded and Microsofts Holo Lens.
  • 1 Deep Dive

Wednesday – Partner visit

  • 5 Deep Dives. Each meeting is one hour long and very intense. I love these meetings but 5 in one day is pretty exhausting as you really try to give each company your maximum attention.
  • Amazon AWS is a global partner of Techstars and gave a great workshop to our CTO’s on how Startups can best engage with them. They offer each Techstars company up to $100K in credits which is a huge cost saving for our companies. They also scheduled office hours with each company to help them better optimise their infrastructure and architecture. One of the companies told me that they figured out a way to significantly reduce their costs after their office hours. Thanks AWS

Thursday – Mentor and Class All-hands and Dinner

  • 100 Mentor Meetings from 9 to 12.30
  • 3 Deep dives
  • All hands meeting from 5.30 where every company publicly critiqued their big rock from last week and self-scored their results from 0 to 1. Most companies scored themselves between .5 and .7 with no-one hitting all their goals for the week. We had some term sheet and customer win announcements and it was really great to see all the companies set even more ambitious goals for next week. These meetings are both motivational and a way to hold each other to account. I was really impressed by the levels of intellectual honesty and ambition displayed by every company.
  • All Hands dinner. A huge thanks to Softcube for bringing everyone for Pizza at BrewDog. It was great to get out of the office and catch up with the companies and their teams after what was a pretty exhausting week.

Friday – SAP Architecture Day with CIOs & Chief Architects of leading German customers

  • SAP invited some of our companies to their Architecture Day at their Global HQ in Waldorf. This was a chance for some of our companies to spend time with CIOs & Chief Architects of leading German customers. This was a full day event and included a networking session the previous evening where our Founders got to mingle and network with some of the most senior technology buyers in Germany. Thank you SAP for giving our companies unprecedented access to some of your biggest customers.
  • Some of our other companies attended a Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) event in Potsdam. Hasso was the Founding CEO of SAP and the HPI is one of Germany’s leading research institiutes on “IT-Systems Engineering”.
  • The rest of us who stayed in Berlin had a chance to catch up on all our inboxes and work :)

This week exhaustion really started to kick in. I personally found it very helpful to use the ‘Headspace’ App for 10 minutes of quiet meditation during the week. I just grabbed a phone booth and let the app guide me for 10 minutes of calm meditation. It really works and I felt like I had just woken from a nap – others mentioned they use the Calm app. Eamonn Carey, MD in London, also shared a ‘how to fall asleep in 120 seconds’ guide from the US military. With so many deep dives, mentor meetings and brain storming sessions, my mind is racing and I therefore find it difficult to get restful sleep.

That’s it for this week. Next week we will wrap up our final two days of mentor meetings and head out for our retreat. You can follow me on Twitter or read more about Week 2 here

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