TechStars Application Tips

With the deadline looming for TechStars Boston 2010, I've been asked for tips from a few people. It's time to share them in a blog post. Hopefully this helps.

Disclaimer: this is just my perspective from Localytics, a TechStars Boston 2009 company. My tips are anecdotal at best. As always, exercise your own judgement.

  1. There are a lot of applications, so short and sweet works well. Eliminate fluff. Most of our answers were less than a few concise paragraphs. The only answer that was long was for "Tell us about each founder." That's because...
  2. ... it's more about the founders than it is about the idea. A non-trivial percentage of TechStars companies change there idea, and it's not a big deal. Your application should help people like David and Shawn get to know you. Highlight cool things you've worked on in the past. Show that you're motivated and smart.
  3. Be mentor-able. TechStars is all about mentoring. You need to be open to advice while still being able to think critically and make decisions. To the extent that you can, convey those personality traits in your application.
  4. Be dedicated to the startup. TechStars strongly favors founding teams that are 100% committed and ready to go.
  5. Get your application in early - TechStars is already looking at them. Getting in early means your application has more time to float in front of different eyes. You are at less risk of being lost in the last minute flood.
  6. Get feedback. If you're connected to any alums or mentors, see if they'll review your application. We resubmitted our application several times based on feedback (though be warned, I'm not sure if resubmitting is possible on the application form, we sent updates over email).
  7. If your company/product is already chugging along, then demonstrate progress. Show how your company has met goals or achieved milestones like X number of users or high profile client Y.
  8. Try to get into TechStars for a Day. It gives you a chance for face time. If you do go, bring a laptop and be ready to informally demo your product.
  9. Apply! It isn't that much work, so just do it.
You should also check out: Best of luck to all of the applicants! TechStars is a truly amazing program.