Which is more important: a big vision or a specific focus?

Eight years ago, I wrote what continues to be one of my best-read blog posts, entitled “Reconciling Vision and Focus.” The question it sought to answer is one that still resonates with founders today: Which is more important for your startup–a big vision or a specific focus? It’s a question that consistently comes up in …

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file under: Startups

The Power of Mentorship

Techstars recently graduated its 3,000th company. We’ve helped our portfolio to raise $23.5 billion in total funding—and this year we’ll fund 700+ new companies through 54 accelerators around the world. As many in the startup world already know, mentors are a key element of the success of Techstars-funded companies. When I reflect on how we …

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file under: Blog, Startups

The Essential Guide to Startup Boards

The first time many founders see the inside of a board room is when they step in to lead their board. But how do boards work? How should they be structured, managed, and leveraged so that startups can grow, avoid pitfalls, and get the best out of their boards? If you’re looking for answers to …

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file under: Startups

The worst email

Today I received an email from a founder who was looking for investment from software/internet investors. That happens every day. This particular email was addressed “TO” me and approximately 25 other investors, many of whom I know personally. Unfortunately, this also happens several times a week. What does this say about the person sending the …

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file under: Startups

Practicing—and Perfecting—Your 60-Second Pitch

I recently joined my colleague Saba Karim, Director of Startup Pipeline at Techstars, for a one-hour event where founders did elevator pitches on Twitter Spaces hosted by Adam Soccolich (aka Twitter’s @TheBestOfAdam) and… wow! We heard a variety of pitches from a diverse group of founders from around the world. Some came with experience from …

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file under: Startups

Give First… Build First… or Both?

“How is an early-stage founder expected to interpret the Give First philosophy?” That’s the polite way of rewording a question Keith Coleman, Founder of Fraudmarc (Techstars Atlanta 2017), posed to Brad Feld and me in an email a little while back. Keith got our attention with his subject line, “give first, finish last.” His email …

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file under: Startups