A Rousing Welcome for Katie Rae - New Managing Director of TechStars Boston

I'm so happy to welcome Katie Rae as the new Managing Director of TechStars Boston. This will be our third session for TechStars Boston, and now we'll be bringing it to a new level. I'm particularly excited to be working with Katie, since we've already worked together so well on the recent Open Angel Forum in Boston. And check out today's traffic on Twitter ... Boston agrees. Katie Rae is a great choice to lead TechStars Boston. There have also been great articles in Boston.ComXconomy and Mass High Tech.

Here's the official announcement from David Cohen, founder of TechStars. David's note also points to the great work that Shawn Broderick has done for the first two years of TechStars Boston. We all owe a lot to Shawn who worked tirelessly these past two sessions, helping 19 companies and running two "filled to the rafters" demo days. Thanks Shawn, we wouldn't be he without you. Literally!

And here are some of Katie's thoughts from her blog post today. I particularly love this passage that shows the importance of mentors: 

Every successful founder or CEO I’ve met has an interesting story to tell about their mentors and the advice they have gotten along the way. Universally the founders are grateful for the early advice they received or connections that were made for them by someone who believed in them. This is an important, powerful force and an unspoken bond and obligation that fellow entrepreneurs have with each other.

TechStars itself is expanding and learning what patterns work best in each city. For example, we've found that the best folks to lead TechStars in a city are those who are doing active angel investing. Often, these people have their own investing fund. This is exactly the case with Katie Rae, and her partner Reed Sturtevant, with their fund called Project 11 Ventures. In fact, I committed to invest in their fund long before this search even began. I believe that its good to have an active investor lead TechStars because that's what they do all year round. TechStars becomes one part of an overall mix of activities, all focused on entrepreneurs and building great companies.

TechStars is especially important to me, and I believe, to our region because it combines a national approach with a fiercely local focus. So we in Boston can be part of TechStars national recognition, while at the same time focusing our energies in the industries we're good at, getting the best of our local talent, and creating opportunities for entrepreneurs to take advantage of talent we have here that's not available anywhere else. 

When we brought TechStars to Boston, we were the first "expansion city".  Since then, TechStars Seattle has started and completed it's first program, and New York is about to pick its entrepreneurs for the Winter session. With over 600 applications in NY for just ten slots, you can see how much TechStars has become a magnet for entrepreneurs.

I look forward to working with Katie Rae continue to grow this magnet for entrepreneurs into an overall engine for growth. Not just by helping companies and their founders grow, but by bringing our community together to deliver the energy that drives TechStars Boston.

Congratulations to David Cohen and Brad Feld on "Do More Faster"

David Cohen and Brad Feld collaborated to create TechStars, and now they have expanded that collaboration in a new book called "Do More Faster." Like TechStars itself, this book too much of its input and energy from the mentors who help the entrepreneurs in each TechStars city. (Now Boulder, Boston, New York and Seattle.) I wrote two of the chapters in the book, and I look forward it its release in a few weeks. You can pre-order the book here.

I'm excited that David Cohen will be one of our volunteer experts at MassTLC Innovation 2010 at Boston Seaport World Trade Center on October 14, 2010. In addition, five companies on our roster of Sponsored Entrepreneurs are TechStars graduates.

Brad and David will be in Boston on October 21 for the Do More Faster book tour. They are also going to these cities:

12OCT   Palo Alto
14OCT   Los Angeles
15OCT   Seattle
18OCT   Denver
19OCT   Boulder
21OCT   Boston
25OCT   New York
28OCT   Chicago
08NOV  Raleigh/Durham

Here are some selected photos from my first exposure to TechStars, when I visited there in December 2008.
David Cohen takes a break in his office in the "Bunker" in Boulder. TechStar's offices are in the basement in a modern office building right in the middle of downtown Boulder. The place used to be a health club, and the Jacuzzi is still there, but dry. David's office is windowless, but the space is painted very brightly and natural light does pour down the main stairway.
Brad Feld at one of our meetings in Boulder. He took me to so many companies, I can't remember where this photo was taken. But I think that climbing man sculpture will answer the question.
David Cohen with Andrew Hyde. Andrew Hyde has spent four years working on TechStars and is also the founder of Startup Weekend. Andrew is embarking on year off, which he describes here
TechStars provides working space for the companies in each session. When I visited in December, the summer session had long ended, so this room was lightly used.
How many startup accelerators come with their own locker room?
Fast forward to Boston, June, 2010. This is TechStars Boston Demo Night, our second one.. The room was packed, and investment committments were made right then.
Shawn Broderick, our Executive Director for Boston, stands in our space used for the first two years of TechStars. We should call it the "unBunker" While it lacks the colorful paint or the locker room, it does have amazing amounts of natural light, and really high ceilings. It's on the top floor of the old Cambridge Electric Light Company building in Central Square, so it got the name "The Penthouse."
Our TechStars Boston space occupied the top floor of this building for TechStars Boston 2008 and 2009.
Here's a photo (well, two photos) of the company sheet from Demo Day 2010. It's really been great working with David, Brad and Shawn, and all 19 of the companies and their founders and co-founders. I look forward to TechStars Boston 2011, starting in March 2011.

Grab a Beer. Watch This. Seth Priebatsch is Going to Change the World

Seth Priebatsch and his company, SCVNGR, are hot. Seth's company has raised venture capital, grown to 60 people, and moved into a new company headquarters. If you've never met Seth, you really should watch this video. Seth has amazing energy, insight and enthusiasm. Seth is one of our experts at the upcoming MassTLC Innovation 2010. Normally our experts will do three one-on-ones in an hour. But after editing and watching this video, I have an idea. Seth, how about you do six one-on-ones in your hour? Not kidding!

Want to meet Seth, and people like him? (Okay, scratch that...there are no people like him.) Anyway, you should register here.