Not All Entrepreneurs Are Cut Out to be 'TechStars'
Entrepreneur's New Year’s Guide
Every business owner responds to pressure differently, don't they? Some crumble, while others seem to rise to the occasion.
On tonight's season finale of Bloomberg TV's reality show Techstars, the show reveals the outcome for the show's entrepreneurs, who've spent three months honing their business models under the tutelage of the show's celebrity venture capitalist-mentors.
In last week's episode, drama set in for some of the six startups the show has been following most closely. A few entrepreneurs imploded under the weight of all the advice and pressure to get their company into fundable shape in such a short time. Watching Homefields wander far from its original sports-home-video business model -- which seemed to have limited market potential but at least played to the team's strengths and personal passions -- VC Mark Suster remarked, "They came into TechStars and moved backward."
Meanwhile, one of the more promising teams, Immersive Labs, was rocked by scandal when one of the founders admitted he borrowed a couple thousand dollars from the company's funding to pay personal bills during a family cash crunch. The team had gotten a rep for arrogance even before this went down, and now the team members needed to try to rebuild the trust and keep the company moving forward.
Each TechStars session ends with a marathon Pitch Day before an audience of hundreds of well-heeled possible funders. It's sort of like an entrepreneurial Olympics -- all that sweat and coding boiled down into a presentation of just a few minutes that could determine the whole team's future. Tonight, we'll find out who scored with the VCs.
There's no word yet on whether Bloomberg will do another season of TechStars. But the bar has been raised for all future TechStars participants -- in September, the incubator raised $24 million in new funding. That will give every future TechStars program participant a $100,000 check upon acceptance into the program. Bet application rates will skyrocket from that alone, much less from the TV exposure.
Corrections & Amplifications: An earlier version of this post misidentified the company on TechStars whose co-founder borrowed company funds for personal use. It was Immersive, not OnSwipe.