And the lucky new Techstars are…

…a talented group of 12 companies, along with equally impressive hackstars and associates.  Here’s Semyon’s announcement of the companies from the Techstars blog.

We are thrilled to announce the 2015 Techstars class in Boston.  Our session began June 4th, and will wrap up with a demo day on September 1st.

This year we have amplified our recruiting efforts by working more closely with mentors in our community to identify the most promising startups in the region.  We have also gone on a road show in Europe and the Middle East, and have been in touch with many of the most vibrant startup ecosystems globally.  The result is a record number of applications and a diverse class of 12 companies, some of which have come to Boston from as far away as Portugal, Spain, Ukraine, and Canada.

The companies in the class span across diverse spaces, including travel, mobile, edtech, enterprise software, SaaS, retail, 3-D printing, and food distribution tech. They are all trying to solve big problems, but many of them are also joining our program with substantial existing momentum.

And now, the Techstars Boston Summer 2015 class:

AdmitHub optimizes the admissions process for students, counselors and colleges. @admithub
doDOC automates regulatory documentation for the enterprise.
GVMachines is a white-label grocery delivery service. @gvmachines
 SmackHigh is the place for teens to express themselves and be heard. @smackhighteam
Hot offers last minute hotel bookings for global markets. @hot_app
Cuseum is the museum engagement platform. @cuseum
LovePop creates intricate paper art that pops. @lovepopcards
Netra makes machine vision and deep learning for multi-camera video intelligence. @netraSystems
Provender is a marketplace for growers and buyers of fresh food. @provender
 Shearwater keeps international students enrolled and engaged. @shearwaterintl
ThriveHive offers guided marketing for small businesses. @thrive_hive
Kwambio is a platform for creating unique, personalized products on 3D printers. @kwamb_io

Selecting the class was grueling—a record number of applications, undoubtedly lots of great companies which weren’t chosen which will go on to do fantastic things. But the twelve above are the ones that captured our hearts.

Collectively, they are far more advanced than is standard for an accelerator;

  • 5 are led by repeat entrepreneurs with previous successful exits, one north of $30 million
  • 3/4s already have had revenues; 2 have run rates of more than $10 million in gross revenue run rate
  • All have raised some money going into the session, with the median raise being $845k and the average being over $1.1 million
  • And all of them have impressed us in the strength of their teams. Whenever it was a choice between a good team with great metrics, and a great team with good metrics, we chose the latter.

We “sourced”, to use an industrial term, the companies via many ways: only a few came in “over the transom”, so to speak. All but one of the foreign teams were the result of recruiting trips overseas, where we were introduced to strong companies by local scouts. Many local teams were recommended to us by mentors, angels, or VCs. And 2 companies actually came in when we reached out to them after the deadline—proving that rules, especially for startups, are sometimes meant to be broken.

For those Bostonians keeping score, we have 3 companies with Harvard affiliations, 3 from MIT, but MIT breaks the tie by also contributing two of the “hackstars”, those talented associates who come in unaffiliated with entering companies but working on behalf of the entire program and the many companies. As far as I can see, no other school is represented more than once.

Showing that persistence pays off, at least 2 of the companies had been turned down before on a previous application to Techstars—and for one team, they only got in on the 4th try! They showed more grit than P40 sandpaper.

Indeed, it was a brutal winnowing process–only 12% of applications made it to an interview, 3% got a second look, and eventually less than 1% got offers. We passed on a lot of companies who will make it big, and we tried our best to reply personally to all who got close. But it is a numbing process. I have far more sympathy now for college admissions officers. (Who should be teaming up with AdmitHub.)

All in all, this was a VERY good day, with the mentors uniformly as awed by the quality of the class as those of us who spent the spring selecting them.

A full report on the Mentor Dinner to follow tomorrow.


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