In New Regulatory World, Techstars Seattle is Cautious on Demo Day

Like other startup accelerators, Techstars Seattle is treading carefully around new SEC regulations on general solicitation with its 2013 Demo Day.

Managing director Andy Sack notes that he usually implores the audience “to get your checkbooks out” at this annual culmination of the top-tier, three-month “entrepreneurship boot camp.”

“Due to some recent regulatory changes, if you decided to do that, that’s totally at your option,” Sack told the crowd, which he said would eventually include as many as 800 people and 250 investors—though the Showbox SoDo didn’t feel quite that full as the company presentations got going. “There’s not going to be any ask for your investment.”

As Xconomy reported earlier this month, accelerators around the country are reacting differently to the new SEC rules on general solicitation, driven by the JOBS Act.

Sack told the audience that in general, the 11 companies completing the accelerator program this year, have as a group achieved greater investment traction than any of the prior three Techstars Seattle classes.

“A number of rounds are either closed or about to be closed,” he says.

Indeed, the Techstars Demo Day in Seattle seems to be as much about celebrating the accomplishments of the entrepreneurs who have made great strides in developing their young companies as it is about throwing open the doors to investors.

As was the case last year, it appears that many of the deals have already been done before this semi-public event. One big difference with the presentations this year: Some companies noted that they had half-filled or oversubscribed rounds, but they weren’t mentioning the dollar amounts.

Sack shared some other details of the latest Techstars crop in Seattle, which was first announced in August:

  • Six of the eleven companies are from the Northwest.
  • Four companies were founded by people who left Microsoft or Amazon. “We’ve never had that before,” Sack says. (It’s a good anecdotal data point for the ongoing conversation about whether Seattle’s tech giants—Amazon in particular—slough off the kind of talent that fuels the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.)
  • During the first Techstars Seattle Demo Day, back in 2010, there were “maybe 200 people in the audience” and 60 investors.

The 2013 Techstars Seattle companies are:







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