Posts Tagged ‘

The Program’

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

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

Overview of Excelerate Labs – Summer 2012

We just posted a new video on the home page and wanted to share it here as well.  Julian from Indirap Productions did an amazing job on filming and editing and deserves a ton of credit.  Take a look and see if you agree!


Excelerate Labs overview from Excelerate Labs on Vimeo.

Filed under: Status Updates — Tags: , , — November 11, 2012

Some more good ink for Excelerate in Elite Daily

“Incubators are to Startups as Steroids are to Baseball. They are not necessary to succeed, but they sure as hell help. In this third installation to Elite Daily’s Incubator Series, we lay out the best startup accelerators for entrepreneurs in the North and Midwest regions of the United States: from Pittsburg to Chicago. ”



Excelerate Labs – ranked 3rd best incubator worldwide – is an intensive summer accelerator for startups driven by proven entrepreneurs and investors. Led by world-class entrepreneurs Sam Yagan (OKCupid, Sparknotes) and Troy Henikoff (SurePayroll), the program is unique in attracting scores of mentors from around the country to work with the teams in direct 1-on-1 meetings. The catch: they only accept ten applicants each session. But if you are accepted, Excelerate Labs may provide the best trade out of any startup: $25,000, resources, connections and press for only a 6% stake in the company.

Read the entire story on Elite Daily…

Filed under: Status Updates — Tags: , , — October 27, 2012