Techstars’ secret is the deep engagement of the world-class mentors. But also the great workshops and lectures we could attend. Our calendar filled fast, tons of invitations came in after the Mentor Madness. Busy days were coming.
Techstars says they focus on quality, not quantity. With a max of about 10 companies per class, they can ensure each team gets the attention they need. Well, we need to admit: this is true. The Techstars team did not waste the time trying to pass on the knowledge gained during the 10 years and 170 acceleration programs of Techstars in the shortest possible time. We access the knowledge that helped for launching Uber, the popular Sphero robot game by BB-8, or ClassPass, known for sports fans. At least one successful Techstars company founder appeared at the office every week, but several equity investors and Techstars executives travelled to Singapore just to get to know us. This feeling is beyond expression. One day Payal Kadaki, the founder and board member of ClassPass, walked into our office on the week when they announced that the Singaporean Temasek holding closed an $ 85 million D round. We were in the middle of everything.
During the lectures, the informal mood got more and more friendly and the faces got familiar. Strategic management, lean methodology, facing challenges, inventions, killer business model and so on… the range of the topics was wide. Beyond the eye-opening classes, we could ask from our mentors at any time: How did the idea come from? When was the most difficult time? Can you help me deal with investors? Can I show my idea? How do I know my idea is something that the market actually wants? It was fantastic to see these successful people one by one and know they attended the exact same program a few years ago somewhere in a big city, so we do now. We felt so lucky.
Hari Krishnan, head of the real estate portal PropertyGuru, the market leader in Southeast Asia, has put the biggest emphasis on how to balance free time and work as a founder. Your life is happening now, not later. You miss 100% of the opportunities you don’t take. Not just in business, but in personal life too. Well, we seized the opportunity and tried to prepare a bit each day for the Demo Day which typically has 500+ investors in attendance. Also, Techstars as an entity has 75+ VCs/angels as investors. This means there are a lot of amazing people who are vested in your company’s success. By the end of September Ákos created a persuasive Demo Day presentation and elevator pitch.
Techstars, with Rakuten, have a great deal of network all over the world. No matter the distance: with an excellent idea they are willing to support you. It can be a flight to the United States, a presentation in Japan, or a visit to India. They can solve and organize anything if they feel the determination and perseverance in the team, and Talk-a-Bot team has a plenty of that. Stay with us and wait for our next blog cause it will be about a short break in San Francisco, and a pitching for Hiroshi Mikitani “Mickey” – founder and CEO of Rakuten.