New Techstars CEO embraces improving access to capital for those historically left behind

BOULDER — New Techstars CEO Maëlle Gavet takes the reins at the Boulder-born startup accelerator and investment platform during a period when business leaders are taking a hard look at fostering equity and inclusion for people too often sidelined in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and has committed to helping make a change.

“Entrepreneurs change the world by bringing to market new solutions to big challenges and scaling them. The world needs more entrepreneurs to continue to create positive change, and at this moment in time, we need them more than ever,” Gavet said in an email to BizWest. “Unfortunately, a lack of access to capital and effective networks are blocking so much potential, with venture-backed deals only going to 9% of female founders and 1% of black founders. I’ve experienced this first-hand, as an entrepreneur and an investor. “

Techstars’ embrace of mentorship “helps entrepreneurs from all backgrounds and walks of life become successful founders,” she said. And while the accelerator has found success building firms run by women and people of color, “we acknowledge there is far more work to be done and have some big initiatives in the works to continue to support underrepresented and marginalized entrepreneurs and continue our efforts to diversity inequities across the startup and venture capital ecosystems.”

Techstars is partnering with “Harlem Capital Partners and Samsung Next, [which are] helping us to create stronger deal flow connections, especially for founders who’ve traditionally faced barriers to access due to the lack of diversity in the industry,” Gavet said. “Additionally, the geographically-distributed nature of our network enables us to extend opportunity beyond exclusive, hard-to-break-into hubs like Silicon Valley, allowing us to help more entrepreneurs around the world and create impact down to the local community and ecosystem levels.”

The French-born Gavet has held a slew of leadership positions including as CEO of OZON.ru, an e-commerce platform referred to in media reports as “the Amazon of Russia” and executive vice president of operations at travel booking site operator Priceline Group.

She takes over leadership of Techstars from the accelerator’s co-founder David Brown, who will continue to serve on the board.

“Under David’s leadership, Techstars grew more than 10x since 2014, and the combined market cap valuation of all the companies we’ve invested in is more than $185 billion,” she said. “I share David’s passion for helping entrepreneurs  and look forward to building on his successes to further scale our business and impact. His approach to democratizing access to capital and networks is something I admire and will continue.”

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BOULDER — New Techstars CEO Maëlle Gavet takes the reins at the Boulder-born startup accelerator and investment platform during a period when business leaders are taking a hard look at fostering equity and inclusion for people too often sidelined in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and has committed to helping make a change.

“Entrepreneurs change the world by bringing to market new solutions to big challenges and scaling them. The world needs more entrepreneurs to continue to create positive change, and at this moment in time, we need them more than ever,” Gavet said in an email to BizWest. “Unfortunately, a lack of access to capital and effective networks are blocking so much potential, with venture-backed deals only going to 9% of female founders and 1% of black founders. I’ve experienced this first-hand, as an entrepreneur and an investor. “

Techstars’ embrace of mentorship “helps entrepreneurs from all backgrounds and walks of life become successful founders,” she said. And while the accelerator has found success building firms run by women and people of color, “we acknowledge there is far more work to be done and have some big initiatives in the works to continue to support underrepresented and marginalized entrepreneurs and continue our efforts to diversity inequities across the startup and venture capital ecosystems.”

Techstars is partnering with “Harlem Capital Partners and Samsung Next, [which are] helping us to create stronger deal flow connections, especially for founders who’ve traditionally faced barriers to access due to the lack of diversity in the industry,”…