Techstars debuts new model for rapidly validating entrepreneurs’ ideas

BOULDER — Techstars, the worldwide entrepreneur accelerator group, has launched a new offering for entrepreneurs, alumni and mentors in its network.

Techstars Studio is a new offering — starting in Boulder — that will help the founders associated with the Techstars network validate, prototype and launch new ideas.

While Techstars is known for its accelerator programs — where early-stage entrepreneurs go through a multiple-week cohort developing their team, idea, working with mentors, learning how to run their company and ultimately pitching their finalized startup to the public and investors — the Techstars Studio will operate a little differently.

The Studio is for people already in the Techstars Network — mentors, investors, alumni, corporate partners — who have ideas for new startups but would like to go through the process of validating and building on those ideas with the support and speed of Techstars rather than having to do it on their own.

“The Techstars mission is to help entrepreneurs succeed,” said Isaac Saldana, chief technology officer of Techstars Studio and the founder of SendGrid (NYSE: SEND), a Techstars company that went on to have an IPO. “That’s not just entrepreneurs that have never done a company, but alumni who have worked with Techstars before. These entrepreneurs told us they still want to do something with Techstars, while our corporate partners told us they wanted to co-create companies to solve some of the problems they’re experiencing. Techstar Studio is a way to help all of these entrepreneurs succeed.”

Network members can pitch their ideas to the Studio — Mike Rowan, one of the leaders of the Techstars Studio and a former VP of SendGrid Labs, said he expects hundreds of thousands of ideas from Techstars worldwide network. Rowan Saldana will narrow those ideas down to ones on which they can do market testing. Ideas will be funneled down as market research, testing, validation and prototyping create the best ideas into potential viable companies. Selected ideas will go through a Sprint Week of forming teams to do further deep market research, create prototypes and pitch the company internally. The best of the best will be selected to be backed by Techstars and launched as a startup. The studio plans to launch multiple startups a year using this methodology.

Unlike an accelerator, Techstars Studio won’t operate as a cohort. Ideas that are being developed will be in different stages based on the schedule they need. Teams will work within their own silos based on how far along they are. However, like an accelerator, Techstars Studio will also operate on an equity model to generate revenue, although how that is done with the developed startups will be on a case-by-case basis, Rowan said. He added that ideas that are pitched to Techstars Studio will be the intellectual property of the person that pitched the ideas, and that ideas that go through the development stages of the studio will be developed into LLCs and be the intellectual property of the individual company.

“We expect to help entrepreneurs through the validation process,” Rowan said. “Effectively, the entire process is about giving back. If Techstars is giving back, it’s fine with that and helping them get to the next step. That is OK with us.”

Both Rowan and Saldana said they wanted to get involved with this new model of rapidly validating and building companies because they wanted to get back involved with Techstars after their success with SendGrid.

“We’re trying to find a way to bring our experience and help entrepreneur teams learn more in the process,” Saldana said. “And we wanted to embrace the Give First values Techstars has. We thought this was a great opportunity, a perfect opportunity to do that.”

Rowan agreed.

“It’s full-circle, for Isaac to go through the accelerator program in 2009 and then come back to Techstars to bring his experience of taking a company through an IPO,” he said. “I have experience of doing Studio-like work and I’m excited to bring it back to Techstars, where it all started.”

BOULDER — Techstars, the worldwide entrepreneur accelerator group, has launched a new offering for entrepreneurs, alumni and mentors in its network.

Techstars Studio is a new offering — starting in Boulder — that will help the founders associated with the Techstars network validate, prototype and launch new ideas.

While Techstars is known for its accelerator programs — where early-stage entrepreneurs go through a multiple-week cohort developing their team, idea, working with mentors, learning how to run their company and ultimately pitching their finalized startup to the public and investors — the Techstars Studio will operate a little differently.

The Studio is for people already in the Techstars Network — mentors, investors, alumni, corporate partners — who have ideas for new startups but would like to go through the process of validating and building on those ideas with the support and speed of Techstars rather than having to do it on their own.

“The Techstars mission is to help entrepreneurs succeed,” said Isaac Saldana, chief technology officer of Techstars Studio and the founder of SendGrid (NYSE: SEND), a Techstars company that went on to have an IPO. “That’s not just entrepreneurs that have never done a company, but alumni who have worked with Techstars before. These entrepreneurs told us they still want to do something with Techstars, while our corporate partners told us they wanted to co-create companies to solve some of the problems they’re experiencing. Techstar Studio is a way to help all of these entrepreneurs succeed.”

Network members can pitch their ideas to the Studio — Mike Rowan, one of the leaders…