Tugulab Blog.

How to get the most out of TechStars For a Day

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I’m just at the beginning of the flight back to Chile, from Boulder, where we were invited to participate in “TechStars for a day”. It was a great experience and we got a lot out of this event.
I’m not going to explain how to get into the program, because I don’t know if I’ll be selected and it will just be BS.

How TechStars for a day 2013 Boulder worked?

It was a one day event where the management team, some mentors and alumni shared their experiences and advice with the candidates. It wasn’t an event explicitly designed to increase your chances to get selected, so I believe you should do more than just showing up that day. And for that reason you should see this day as an opportunity to get mentorship and learn something useful for your company.

And that’s completely ok, because you should always do something useful for your company. Investments and accelerators are not mandatory milestones, but they are tools that could help your company to have more chances to succeed.
So, understand that and face the event accordingly.

The preparation

You should try to get as many face to face meetings with people who could really really really help your company. Don’t try to get the appointments with people who could recommend you, because they will understand that there isn’t a connection between what you do and their experience, and probably they will not be interested in meeting you, nor recommend you.

So, the first thing to do, is open Linkedin and search for the term “Techstars”, then filter the result around Boulder. Finally look at the description of each person and contact the ones that can reply to a question that is important to you.

In our case we tried to get in touch with people that may help us to understand how to implement our customer acquisition strategy.

The week in Boulder

At the end, we met 9 different mentors and alumni. To each of them we’ve asked these questions:
-Could the PR help us to get new customers also if X, Y, Z? Is it best doing it in-house or outsourcing it?
-What do we have to do to make content marketing effective?
-Is Boulder the right place for us? Advantages and disadvantages against SV and NYC?

Asking the most important questions to different people is critical to see patterns in the answers and to take a correct decision afterwards.

The TS4AD event

On this day you have two goals: show that you’re passionate, talented and with market expertise; and don’t show that you’re an idiot… So, try to get noticed, talk to as many people as possible and impress them.

This is what we’ve done to get attention and to be remembered:
-we’ve made the t-shirts with our logo in the front and a funny sentence on the back (“We’re italians and we cannot keep calm”)
-we’ve made funny business cards, adding moustaches to our logo (it’s a face)
-do the public elevator pitch in the scheduled moment
-offering your help, based on your expertise, to other applicants

One last point

Everyone in Boulder was really nice and helpful, so if you’re going there, try to do the same: “give help, before asking for it” (that’s also a mantra of TechStars). For that reason I would love to thank all the people who helped us to understand how to grow our company and on what we have to focus our efforts in the next 6 months.

A sincere thanks goes to the TechStars family and in particular to Char, Sarah Jane, Michael, Yoav, Dave, Brady, Carly, Bart and Doyle.
Now, let’s get back to the Chilean summer!