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Status Updates’ Category

Open House for TechStars-Chicago applicants

The final deadline for applications is midnight EST on March 15th and there are a lot of people with a ton of questions.  If you have already applied or are thinking about applying, come by on Thursday, March 7th for an open house.  Come see the space, talk to the directors, alums, mentors and get your questions answered.  This is a big year for the program, coming off 3 years as Excelerate Labs and now transitioning to TechStars-Chicago!

We will have finger food, drinks and some amazing entrepreneurs, but RSVP quickly as space is limited!  

For those who are curious, here are some highlights from Demo Day 2012 at the House of Blues (how about that foreshadowing by Brad Feld, who noticed it last August???)

Filed under: Events,Status Updates — March 2, 2013

Women Entrepreneurs – come learn about TechStars-Chicago!

Excelerate Labs (now TechStars Chicago) is  looking for the best digital startups out there, and to find the best we need to encourage a broad range of applicants across gender, age, ethnicity and nationality. In our first three years as Excelerate Labs, 30% of our CEOs were women. We are having an open house on Tuesday February 26th specifically for women who want to learn more about our program to come and meet some of the CEOs and Mentors that have been through the program.  Come see what we are all about and RSVP here if you are interested.


Women Entrepreneurs at Excelerate Labs from Excelerate Labs on Vimeo.

Filed under: Status Updates — February 15, 2013

Call for interns for TechStars-Chicago 2013!


Excelerate Labs has always been a busy place in the summer with 10 amazing companies in the throws of intense programming.  Now that we are part of TechStars and sitting on a national platform, it will be even more exciting and we need help!  

We are looking for MBA and undergraduate interns for the summer of 2013.  If you are excited about helping build the next amazing batch of internet startups, as they grow from early stage to venture-backed companies, this might just be the best decision you ever make.  It will be crazy, it will be intense, it will be exhausting and it will be the best decision you ever made.  You will participate in mentor meetings, the Chicago program’s famous “Entrepreneur’s MBA” and of course Demo Day.  Some days you will be ordering pizza and managing calendars, others you may be giving a tour to out of town VC’s – there is a little bit of everything.

Our program runs from the last week in May through the end of August, you must be available to be in Chicago full time.

Requirements for Undergrad Interns: Rising senior or recently graduated. Demonstrated interest in startups. Comfortable with uncertainty and self-directed.

Requirements for MBA Interns: Completed your first year or have recently graduated. Able to leverage your knowledge of startups, business models, strategy, finance, and more to help both our companies and the program. Ready to manage one or more interns.

The applications are open until February 22nd at midnight central time, so apply now!

Filed under: Status Updates — February 11, 2013

Blackline interviews Troy about TechStars-Chicago

Blackline did this interview of Troy the day the TechStars-Chicago deal was announced.  Great way to get some more perspective on the history and why it is an important step for the program.


The original post

Filed under: Status Updates — Tags: , , , — February 2, 2013

Excelerate Labs is Taking Steroids

Q. What do First Round Capital, Battery Ventures, SV Angel, Founder Collective, and countless other VC firms have in common?

A. They have all invested in alums of Excelerate Labs in its three short years of existence and none of these firms even has a presence in Chicago.

Excelerate Labs is the best accelerator most people (outside of Chicago) have never heard of.  Ranked #3 in the nation (after TechStars Boulder & YC) by both Kaufman and Forbes, Excelerate Labs has earned a place among the very best startup accelerators in the world, and has done so very quietly.

Today, that changes.

In the last three years, almost 1,000 entrepreneurs have applied to Excelerate, with the only the best 30 making it in to our classes.  Excelerate companies hail from Chicago and the Midwest, yes, but also from California, Massachusetts, Texas, Kentucky,  Florida, France, and India.  Those founding teams have described joining Excelerate as “life changing” and “the best decision I ever made.”

Today, founders across the world have a chance to challenge themselves like never before.

Excelerate is a three-year-old startup going through an incredible growth phase, bringing in better investors, better mentors, better companies, and most importantly, better entrepreneurs as it matures.  Like any other high-growth startup, there comes a time in in the life cycle when it makes sense to pour fuel on the fire.

Today is that day.

And that fuel is TechStars.  Excelerate Labs is now TechStars Chicago.

TechStars Chicago is everything Excelerate Labs was with the added benefits of everything TechStars is.  This is an unprecedented joining of forces, marrying two kindred spirits to better serve entrepreneurs.

TechStars Chicago companies will get all the same program leadership and awesome mentors that previous companies have gotten, plus the leverage of a larger national platform specifically designed to supercharge the growth of early stage companies.  Not only that, but TechStars Chicago will offer companies over $100,000 in funding – much more than Excelerate Labs offered previously.

The team that built Excelerate is now the team building TechStars Chicago.  Co-Founders Sam Yagan, Nick Rosa, and Adam Koopersmith will remain on TechStars Chicago Board and I will continue to run the program as I have for the last two years.

On that note, I should get back to work building our next chapter as TechStars Chicago.  And you should tell everyone you know to apply to TechStars Chicago – Applications open today!

- Troy

Filed under: Excelerate Programming,Status Updates — Tags: , — February 1, 2013