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.


8 thoughts on “This week’s TechStars application tip: The Team

    • Hi Cyrus,

      It’s not a cause for derision. It’s just another data point. All data points together tell a story. But any single poing (or lack thereof) isn’t enough to base an decision on. So if you aren’t a github jockey, don’t worry about it.


      • “derision” was probably not the right word. “teasing” maybe? 🙂

        I just meant that there are lots of version control systems, all with their pros and cons… and if you’re solo-coding collaborative software isn’t all that important.

        That said, I’ve recently grown to love github:


  1. We applied via for this class and thought we will take a different route with the video and include our product promo clip (we dont want to be like everyone else, we wanted to be ahead of everyone else) and our video we believe showcases how committed we are as founders.

    We want to be the first Aussie startup/business that gets selected to be in Techstars NYC.

    Enterprise SaaS is super sexy at the moment and we are building a solution which solves a huge problem we faced during our ex-Corporate gigs and we are lovin doing it at the same time.

    Techstars + = “Juicy Success”


  2. Hi Nicole,
    I applied as single founder to TechStars for NYC and I just realized that single founders are rare in TechStars. I felt that I needed to add more information about myself so I added them as a note to my application. But I’m not sure if my notes will be reviewed in time before decision is made ( I hope that you could look at it because I really missed a lot of information about myself in the original application ). Thanks!


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