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Techstars Kansas City investing in 10 companies through summer accelerator

Techstars doesn’t just build businesses, they build startup ecosystems around the world. As one of Techstars’ 26 worldwide cohort programs, Techstars Kansas City is looking for 10 companies to accept into their accelerator program this summer.

The Kansas City program is different from the other 25 Techstar programs taking place in 2017. Since it’s a city program rather than a corporate program, it’s not tied to a specific vertical and is open to any tech-based startup.

“The structure of the program that we’re doing in Kansas City is new for Kansas City,” said Lesa Mitchell, Managing Director Techstars. “We have never had a free-standing Techstars program anywhere in the Midwest.”

The deadline to apply to the Techstars Kansas City program is April 9. The selected companies will be announced by early June and will relocate to Kansas City for the launch of their program on July 17.

Techstars Kansas City is hosting an accelerator in a day program on March 23 where they will offer abbreviated workshops from the Techstars program and a two hour mentor matching program.

How Techstars works

Techstars was born out of Boulder in 2007 when founders Brad and David Cohen wanted to build the startup ecosystem in the area. They thought there was a need for an accelerator to help promote early stage companies. The Cohens tapped their friends as investors and helped an initial 10 companies get off the ground.

“Since that time, Techstars has grown to graduate over 1,000 companies across the globe that we invest in,” said Mitchell.

Globally, Mitchell says each program looks for different things based on the individual experience and expertise of the program managers. Mitchell and the Kansas City cohort specifically have a particular interest in AgTech companies, companies in the design build arena, and social impact companies.

Techstars invests $20,000 upfront and a $100,000 convertible note in exchange for 6% equity of the companies accepted into their accelerators. Companies in the program are required to relocate to the city of their accelerator for 90 days where they will receive assistance from the Techstars program.

Engineering an accelerator

Techstars works so well because of the way the program is structured. It isn’t just another accelerator program.

“We are an engineering and mentor based program, meaning we collect the data on every single company that we’ve ever invested [in],” said Michell.

Mitchell says they’ve also collected a massive amount of data about the kinds of information and tools that early stage companies and founders need, and at what time they need it.

“We’ve built all of that into an engine of sorts at Techstars, that all of our companies that get into the program have access to,” said Mitchell.

Global talent in Kansas City

Techstars has a global interest in finding technology enabled companies and brings in people from across the country to help them make their selections from the applicants.

Mitchell has been recruiting at Midwest universities and has been traveling around the country looking at companies coming out of communities and universities. Next month Mitchell will be in Johannesburg, South Africa talking to their entrepreneurial community and recruiting there.

“We are in the process of traveling across the globe and interviewing and recruiting companies right now,” said Mitchell. “We will take companies from anywhere.”

For more information on Techstars Kansas City, visit their program website.

Christine McGuigan is the Associate Editor of Silicon Prairie News.

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