Techstars Austin Launches Tech Startups in First Texas Demo Day


Let’s be upfront about disclosure. I have been attending Techstars Demo Days since 2008, and have always been impressed with the accelerator’s ability to take talented teams and convert them into investment-worthy businesses. In 2011, the Mercury Fund, where I am a partner, joined with a few others to create a fund to provide $100,000 in convertible notes for every Techstars company. We’ve also directly invested into Techstars Austin. So, yes, I am biased, but it is still impressive what Techstars Austin has done in the six months since  it announced it would start an Austin program.

I’m not the only one. More than 650 people, including 200 investors, from all over the world—one startup, Testlio, is from Estonia—packed the Austin Music Hall recently to hear pitches from the inaugural 10 startups for the Austin Demo Day.

The power of Techstars comes from their emphasis on working with local mentors and angels to leverage the local startup ecosystem. Throughout the year Techstars Austin Managing Director, Jason Seats, hosted dinners for local angels, CEOs, and VCs to get together and form relationships with each other while also learning about the inaugural class. I served as a mentor to the startups and, by the time demo day came around, we were all old friends.

The formal demo day event began with a brief introduction by Techstars co-founder and CEO David Cohen about the accelerator’s entry into the Austin ecosystem. David had just been in London for the accelerator’s demo day there and he stressed how pumped he was … Next Page »

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Aziz Gilani is a partner at Mercury Fund in Houston. Follow @texasvc

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