Startups  May 30, 2024

Techstars CEO: HQ won’t return to Boulder, will remain in NYC

BOULDER — David Cohen, the Boulder resident and co-founder of Techstars who this month resumed his longtime role as CEO of the Boulder-born startup accelerator, said he does not plan to move Techstars’ headquarters from New York back to Boulder. 

In a lengthy LinkedIn post this week, Cohen acknowledged that “there is a lot of fresh pain” in startup markets such as Boulder and Seattle, from where Techstars pulled back during the regime of Maëlle Gavet, who recently stepped down as CEO to focus on her health.

“Our official HQ remains NYC, however we have 3 major offices globally: New York, Denver, and London,” Cohen, who will remain based in Boulder, wrote. “But we also have employees all around the world, since we operate in so many startup communities. When we designed our existing NYC office as the HQ a few months ago, it did not mean that we were relocating any employees. Because most of our executive team is based in NYC, including the CEO at the time, it just made sense.”

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Cohen, an entrepreneur and investor who has recently served on the board of directors for local organizations such as the Silicon Flatirons Center at the University of Colorado Boulder, founded Techstars in 2006 in Boulder alongside Brad Feld, David Brown and Jared Polis (now Colorado’s governor). Cohen was Techstars’ CEO from 2006 to 2019.

Techstars told the startup world in February that its leadership had decided to shift its headquarters to New York and to wind down its Boulder-based accelerator program after this spring’s cohort graduates. 

“Boulder has been our home for more than 17 years and that community has made us the global company we are today,” Gavet, who lives in New York, said in an early 2024 blog post. “We remain proud of our Colorado roots; however, New York is the second largest — and growing — startup ecosystem globally, and we want our headquarters to be in one of the epicenters of the startup world with more funding, connectedness, talent, knowledge and market reach.”

Cohen wrote this week that he has “lots of friends” in Boulder, some of whom “are sad and disappointed. A few are even angry. Ultimately we are running a business and business decisions get made.”

His post continued: “Of course, we want to invest in the best founders we can find, with the most interesting ideas. There are a ton of interesting founders and interesting ideas in those startup communities. We were a pretty important part of their community and now they understandably feel like we aren’t. What we have to fix, at a minimum, is that feeling.”

Lucas High
A Maryland native, Lucas has worked at news agencies from Wyoming to South Carolina before putting roots down in Colorado.
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