STANLEY + Techstars Accelerator

Deadline
November 23, 2021

Opportunity begins:

Feb 14, 2022

Opportunity ends:

May 12, 2022


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Location (s):

  • United States of America
Baltimore, Maryland

Overview

Global industry leader, Stanley Black & Decker is partnering with Techstars to run an accelerator focused on Electrification. In 2022, this program will run in person.

Details

What are the key elements we look for when sourcing startups for the STANLEY + Techstars Accelerator?

The accelerator theme is Electrification with a focus on how that transition will transform and disrupt Stanley Black & Deckers businesses. Thus, we are looking for passionate entrepreneurs and teams who want to drive electrification into industrial and consumer DIY applications, have a passion for sustainability, and want to build cool products and great businesses. If in doubt - apply!

What does our partner Stanley Black & Decker bring to the accelerator?

Stanley is a 177 year old company that has lived through three industrial revolutions and thrived. Innovation is in Stanley’s DNA and its leadership is committed to industrial innovation and digitizing manufacturing. At Stanley, the discipline of a well-run company is coupled with an openness to new ideas and experimentation. That culture permeates throughout Stanley, making it the ideal partner and collaborator for any startup.

Inside a Techstars Accelerator

Techstars accelerators have one goal: to help entrepreneurs succeed. During each three-month program, we surround companies with the best mentors and an unrivaled network of corporate partners, investors, and alumni. We provide funding and fundraising opportunities, workshops and curated resources, not to mention countless moments where you can learn from your peers. It’s a proven model that’s helped build thousands of successful companies, all over the world. 

But how does that play out in real time? Here’s a breakdown of what happens in each of the three months, what a typical week looks like, and the kinds of activities you can expect in program. 

Month by Month: The 3 Months Of a Techstars Accelerator

Month One: Grow Your Network

During month one, the 10 companies in each program typically meet around 100 mentors from the Techstars network, each of whom are super connected and experienced in their respective fields. After these initial meetings, fondly known as “Mentor Madness,” some programs match founders with three to five who will act as their lead mentors, and a pseudo Board of Advisors, throughout the program. When there’s a particularly good fit, mentors will often continue to work with the companies after the program ends.

Mentors help with many areas of the business that may need support, including — but not limited to:

  • Product development
  • Market-fit
  • Marketing
  • Technology
  • Hiring and firing
  • Fundraising
  • Company culture
  • Unit economics
  • Business development
  • Customer discovery
  • Go to market strategy
  • Legal

Month Two: Execute

Month two is time to take all those learnings from month one and put them into practice. Working with the managing director and program manager, founders go deeper with their lead mentors, gain traction, and hit milestones — whether that’s a prototype, building out the next phase of a product, getting a first customer, etc.

During this month, founders focus on identifying their most important KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and achieving them. If there’s a corporate partner for the program, this month may even be the time to prepare for a proof of concept.

Month Three: Fundraising Strategy & Demo Day

In month three, founders go deep on telling their story. This is crucial to fundraising and Demo Day preparation. 

Founders work with their mentors, managing directors, and program managers to refine their pitch, develop and design their pitch deck for Demo Day, and prepare investor collateral. 

Storytelling isn’t just about fundraising: it’s also about communicating your vision to customers and future team members.

A Typical Week in a Techstars Accelerator

Actually, there’s no such thing as a typical week in a Techstars accelerator. 

Other than weekly one-on-ones with your managing director, all-hands KPI meetings, no two weeks are the same during the program. Instead, you’ll constantly be moving your startup forward at a pace you never thought was possible.

You’ll go from testing key assumptions about your business one week to professional stage training the next. You’ll constantly be challenged in what you do and how you do it.

Can you remember the last time you spent one full day investing in your own professional development? What if you had the opportunity to do this — with the full support of professionals — for three months?

During the program, you’ll be presented with ideas, opinions, and opportunities that you might never otherwise consider — and certainly couldn’t get all at once anywhere else. These opinions and ideas can help you become a better founder, and navigate tricky situations and tough decisions with more ease. We want to give you the tools to be able to turn these challenging opportunities into positive experiences.

While this may sound like a lot, it’s important to point out that more than half of your time could still be spent on working on your own company. We get it, you may already have customers, team stand ups and other recurring meetings — so that doesn’t just pause for three months.

In-Program Activities

What kind of activities can you expect? While each program is different, here are a few that pretty much everyone gets:

  • Office hours with guest mentors and investors
  • Workshops and masterclasses delivered by industry experts on specific topics like hiring, marketing, tech, product, etc.
  • Founder stories: serial entrepreneurs come in and share how they built their company. The best part is that it’s more than what you read online – in this context, founders speak honestly about what really went down.
  • Intensive pitch practice, in preparation for Demo Day and fundraising
  • Plus anything else the program team thinks would benefit your experience and help you #DoMoreFaster — many activities are curated to the needs of the founders and companies in each program, meaning that no program is exactly the same twice. 

Opportunity is About:


Eligibility

Candidates should be from:

Description of Ideal Candidate:

You may be wondering: what kind of companies does Techstars invest in? And what stage are they typically at?

Short answer: It doesn’t matter what kind of stage you’re at — as long as you’re ready to accelerate your company, and you have good answers for these key questions:

  1. Why are you and your founders the best people in the world to solve this problem?
  2. Is there a market for the problem you’re solving, and how well do you understand it?
  3. Why is this the right time for this solution to solve this problem?

We’ve accelerated teams that came into our programs with zero revenue, and we’ve also accelerated teams that came in with millions of dollars in revenue. The common thread between all those companies is the stellar founders, who could prove that they were the best people for the job, and that there was a real market that they could capture.

Later in the process, we’ll want to get to know you and understand why you think your team has the unfair advantage over all the other companies out there. Techstars wants to see what you’ve accomplished in the past, how long the team has been together, and how well you work together.

We base our decision-making on the following criteria (ranked in order of importance), when we’re going through the selection process to pick the 10 companies we’ll work with in each program:

  1. Team
  2. Team (because it’s that important)
  3. Team (yes, we’re re-emphasising this because it’s incredibly important)
  4. Market
  5. Traction
  6. Idea

The big takeaway here is that the ‘team’ component is the most important. Out of the thousands of the applications we receive every year, the ones that stand out showcase a team that has what it takes to get the job done. So whether it’s their first time as founders straight out of college or much later on in their life — or anywhere in between — it’s really about the individuals themselves, and how they demonstrate their persistence, their ability to learn, and why they’re the best people to make this particular company succeed. 

"Market" means: is there a sizable market right now? It’s not just about how big the market appears to be but is now the right time to enter it? What signals have you identified that it’s growing or will be in the future?

Traction can be many different things. You don’t necessarily need to have revenue, paying customers, or even signups — but you must have some form of validation that you’re building something people want. Perhaps that’s a prototype, survey responses that validate your core assumption, or interest from corporations who want your solution to their problem.

And then there’s the idea. It may be the least important of the six, but it’s still important. More important, however, is the fact that ideas can change over time based on data and feedback. We’ve seen companies pivot during the program — especially during the COVID-19 pandemic or other moments of sudden change.


Dates:

Deadline: November 23, 2021

Program Starts: February 14, 2022

Program Ends: May 12, 2022


Cost/funding for participants:

What investments does Techstars make in its accelerator portfolio companies?

Techstars provides accelerator portfolio companies with access to financial, human, and intellectual capital to fuel the success of their business. 

Techstars contributes $20,000, which is commonly used as a stipend to support living expenses during the program, and in return receives 6% equity of the company (on a fully diluted basis, issued as common stock) until the company raises a priced equity financing of US $250,000 or more (a “Qualified Financing”). However, if a company conducts a Network Launch using distributed ledger technology (i.e. a blockchain initial coin offering, token event, etc.), then Techstars will also receive 6% of the Token Reserve (i.e. the tokens “held back” for the founders and the company at Network Launch).

Additionally, upon acceptance to a Techstars mentorship-driven accelerator, every company is offered an optional $100,000 convertible note.

What other benefits do I receive from a Techstars mentorship-driven accelerator?

  • Access to Techstars resources for life;
  • Acceleration in a 90-day Techstars mentorship-driven accelerator program with personal mentorship and office space;
  • Lifetime access to the Techstars worldwide network of entrepreneurs, including more than 10,000 mentors, 10,000 investors, 1,600 alumni companies, and over 200 staff members;
  • Access to over $400k of cash equivalent hosting, accounting, and legal support—plus other credits and perks worth more than $1M;
  • Demo Day exposure and other investor connections.

Historically, on average, Techstars companies go on to raise more than $2M of outside capital after the program. We believe our stats speak for themselves.

What else does Techstars provide? Office space, internet, legal, hosting, etc.?

We provide working and meeting spaces, as well as a nice lounge, all with super fast and reliable wireless Internet access. We just want you to focus on creating a great product while you’re here, and not have to worry about all this other stuff.

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