Posts Tagged ‘


TechStars Chicago’s class of 2013

Entering the fourth year of the program, and the first as TechStars, we are excited to announce this year’s class.  Selection was difficult as we had to narrow the 904 applications down to 10 companies to admit.  We conducted over 225 interviews, had hours of debating, and cannot wait to get to work with the new class.

Getting more twice as many applications as we had last year is a clear signal that this program is continuing to earn respect of entrepreneurs everywhere and that Chicago is becoming a leading destination for developing technology companies.

Here is a quick run down on the 2013 TechStars Chicago class:

CaptureProof – Is a platform for patients to securely and easily share photos and videos with their doctors.


HIPOM – Gives parents total control of Internet access in the home on a device-by-device basis. The cloud-based solution makes it as simple as a light switch to turn individual devices on and off and even set timers to control them automatically.


Nexercise – Mobile app that makes fitness fun through the use of friendly competition, smart alerts and real rewards.

Pathful – Web analytics platform that captures every visitor interaction with every element on a website automatically. Makes it easier for marketers and designers to understand what users are really doing on their site.


Peoplematics – The easiest way to search for emails and documents stored in the cloud using your smartphone.


Project Fixup – Digital matchmaker that fixes people up on fun one-on-one dates.

SimpleRelevance – Analytics-driven email marketing platform that provides customized digital communication for every customer and every message.

SocialCrunch – The new way to unlock the most provocative human insights for brands and their agencies.


Sqord, Inc. – Makes healthy, active play more fun for kids by allowing them to compete and earn points for everyday activities.

TradingView – An online community for investors and traders to share and discuss their ideas.





Filed under: Status Updates — Tags: , , — April 25, 2013

TechStars Chicago applications are closed, but YOU can still get into the program…

Have you dreamed of becoming the next success story to come out of TechStars but don’t have a team or an idea? Are you a full stack developer who can execute like all hell? Great news! TechStars Chicago is recruiting for our HackStars program for the summer of 2013!

Hackstars are highly-skilled software developers and designers that love to work with the companies and go through the TechStars program.  Plus, they get paid for the program (just like the founders) and most HackStars ultimately land a job or co-founder status with one of the startups. What a great way to hack into TechStars!

What we’re looking for:

·       You’re a a code-slinging mac-daddy superstar guru at PHP, Java, .NET, Python, Objective-C, Ruby, JQuery, or design/UI/UX.

·       You can design, cut and code efficiently and brilliantly

·       You want to have a TechStars experience so you can learn all about startups and funding from our mentors.

·       You want to work side-by-side with some of the country’s most promising new founders and young companies. (wait until you see the great companies we accepted for this summer!)

·       You live in Chicago, or are willing to relocate for the program and are willing to dedicate 100% of your time during the program to TechStars Chicago.

In addition to being compensated ($6,000), your network will explode beyond all comprehension and you’ll have the chance to work along side some of best and brightest new companies.

Applications close May 30th,so what are you waiting for? Are you ready to join the TechStars network? Apply now!



Filed under: Status Updates — Tags: — April 12, 2013

Another Open House for Applicants!

We had so much fun talking to the applicants at tonights open house that we have decided to do another one!  It will be on Wednesday, March 7th at 5:30pm here at Excelerate – please register now if you want to come hang out, hear more about the program and chat with folks from Excelerate (both the staff and alums from previous years) -   Space is limited so REGISTER NOW!


Filed under: Status Updates — Tags: , — February 29, 2012

How to get accepted into Excelerate…

Be bold! Apply! It’s the only way we can let you in!

Animate, Excelerate! We want to see the passion, knowledge and intuition you have for your idea. How are you communicating this in your application? And can we see that you are truly committed to doing this?

Remember, keep it simple. Can you articulate what your company does in a single sentence?  Does your pitch communicate your killer idea in a clear and relatable way? Have others read your application to make sure that someone who’s not immersed in your business understands it.

Champion the team. Why are you the best team to deliver on this vision? Where is your technical co-founder? Show us what is it about you – your background and experiences – that demonstrates your ability to execute and collectively go the distance.

Demonstrate product value. Tell us how your business works. Don’t just show us a bunch of features. It’s great that your site’s free, accessible on iPhones, iPads and in all browsers, but those are just bells and whistles. We need to hear the how. If you’re offering a website that helps squirrels learn to fly, do your flying experts post videos for others to watch? Is it based on pictures? Text? Show us, even if it’s just a mock up on a whiteboard.

Define your business model. Where is the value created? How do you capture it and when? What is the size of the potential market for this product or service? Are there similar products out there, if so, how is yours special or proprietary? What can you do better/faster/cheaper than the competition?  Two great books to help you think about the process: “The Lean Startup” and “Do More Faster

Know your customer! Who is your target customer? How do you reach those customers and get into their pocketbooks? Can you demonstrate intimate knowledge of this segment, even if you haven’t yet logged orders or shipped the device?

Know how to attract your customer…   So many plans fail to have a real customer acquisition plan.  You have to have a hypothesis on how you are going to attract all these folks and what it is going to cost – BOTTOM UP – none of the “If we just get 5% of this really huge market, we will all be rich…” talk!!!

Weave a MAT!  To quote Guy Kawasaki, what are the MILESTONES you must meet, what are the ASSUMPTIONS you are making about your business, what are the TASKS that you must perform to get your product or service into customers hands.

What is the competitive landscape?  What are the barriers to entry and exit? How do you stack up against the competition in terms of market share, price, and substitutes? Most importantly, how do you expect to beat them all?

And lastly….know your audience. Do your homework about Excelerate – the program, mentors and past portfolio companies. Think about how you fit might into the Excelerate ecosystem and the value you would derive from the experience.

Bonus Tips:

We definitely prefer teams of more than one person, there is just WAY too much to get done over the summer for a single founder.

Having a developer as part of the team (as opposed to outsourcing) will increase your chances of getting in at least 10x


Don’t forget – Applications close on March 16th (and to get special consideration, submit before the early deadline of March 1st!)




Filed under: Status Updates — Tags: , — February 24, 2012

Open House(s) for Applicants – Come meet Excelerate!

Thinking about applying to Excelerate for the summer of 2012?  Have questions?  What to learn more and meet the people?  Here is your chance – we are having a couple of open houses – one in San Francisco on February 21st and one in Chicago on February 29th.

Register now as there are a limited number of tickets:

February 21st – San Francisco

February 29th – Chicago




Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — February 16, 2012