Applications for TechStars Seattle are open and I’ve been sporting my TechStars megaphone at meetups, open coffees, and across the twittersphere to remind folks that deadlines are fast-approaching. I wanted to share 5 reasons why it’s worth applying, even if you don’t get selected…
1. $500 in Las Vegas
We invite our out of state finalists to Las Vegas for interviews. Why Vegas? Because it’s relatively central, has cheap flights, and frankly it’s fun, which we think is important. We give each team $500 to help cover travel costs. If you decide to try your luck at the black jack tables with it, well that’s entirely up to you.
2. Clarity and Materials
The application is about 20 questions long. You need to describe your business in 140 characters or less, explain how you’ll make money, identify competitors, include a couple videos, etc. This sounds simple, but putting your answers down in writing is a really good exercise. Use your answers as your elevator pitch or an outline for your investor deck. Send the videos to mentors, potential customers, and investors. Now you’re prepared with materials to help communicate your vision.
Fill the application out as a team. You’ll be surprised when some of your cofounder’s answers aren’t the same as yours. Sync up and get really clear about what you’re building, for who, and why. Your team needs to be rowing in the same direction, regardless of your relationship with TechStars.
3. Free Feedback
If you do not get selected and you want to know why, all you have to do is shoot me an email. (Dear Inbox, I’m sorry.) It’s really that simple. Want to know our biggest concern? What we see as your key challenge? I will give our honest feedback to anyone who asks. Constructive criticism is not always free or easy to come by. Use it to improve and grow.
4. Mentors and potential investors
There are lots of opportunities to meet mentors and investors: Open Coffee, email intros, TechStars for a Day, events in The Easy. Today I had a call with an applicant who has already spoken with three mentors and one alumni from last year. Just by applying she’s met four smart people who are willing to receive her email updates, play with her product and help her.
5. Entrepreneurial Friends
As a TechStars applicant, you are joining a group of thousands of entrepreneurs. Jump on that opportunity to network, share notes, and give and get feedback with like-minded people. Last year the attendees from TechStars for a Day organized a meetup to talk shop and get drinks with fellow applicants. The more proactive you are, the more value you will get out of the process!
Written by Kayla Roark, Manager of TechStars Seattle. Feel free to reach out to her via Twitter @KaylaKristine or e-mail directly at Kayla@TechStars.com.