Saluting Techstars Boston 2009

This summer I had the privilege of being a mentor at the Techstars Boston inaugural program.

Techstars is a bootcamp for first time entrepreneurs and their startups. Participants apply and are chosen from the pool during the winter or spring. The program operated this year from May to September and participants worked in shared space in Central Square, Cambridge for the duration. As well as the benefits of learning together on the run, and the able full time leadership of Shawn Broderick, the startups had access to a large number of mentors with diverse backgrounds (entrepreneurs, investors, technology experts, marketing experts etc). Many of the mentors presented material on a huge range of subjects relevant to the group, and provided one-on-one coaching and advice to a subset of the startups.

Techstars originated in Boulder a few years ago under the visionary leadership of David Cohen and Brad Feld. Through Bill Warner's equally visionary leadership here in the Boston area, David and Brad were convinced that this was the right place for the first geographic expansion of the program.

As a mentor I got to spend time with a few of the companies and enjoyed it immensely. Although I work with startups all the time, this experience was the pure essence of young-entrepreneur and young-startup. Through the summer the teams developed their plans, their technologies and their pitches, and at the end they presented to a room full of investors at the Microsoft New England Research and Development Center (yes, NERD Center) right after Labor Day.

Here is a brief paragraph and a link for each of the 2009 Boston companies. A couple already have some early funding, and I know of a few more also now deep in discussions with angel or VC investors. Congratulations to them all!
  • AccelGolf offers mobile and online apps that empower 30,000 golfers today to improve their game via personalized content.
  • AmpIdea is helping new parents by creating valuable services through a web-enabled baby monitor.
  • Baydin is is a zero-effort collaboration catalyst that uses email context to take the burden of searching for information off of employees.
  • HaveMyShift is an online marketplace for hourly workers to trade their shifts, allowing them to create the best work schedule for themselves and their employer.
  • LangoLab is the most entertaining way to learn a foreign language.
  • Localytics provides a real-time analytics platform for mobile applications. Provides iPhone, BlackBerry and Android developers with the deepest user insights available to help them make smarter business decisions.
  • oneforty is the Twitter outfitter. It's the Twitter apps and services marketplace that helps you get the most value from Twitter.
  • Sensobi is Personal Relationship Management for today's mobile professional. Sensobi turns your contacts into relationships.
  • TempMine is an online temporary staffing marketplace that finds better jobs for temps, higher quality temps for employers, and new business for agencies.

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