You are part of a truly elite group. Not only does the program brand you, but Katie and Reed are some of the most thoughtful and connected people in the whole ecosystem. Such high integrity. You’re in great hands.
Members of our firm have been Mentors since the program’s inaugural class, and we look forward to working with you. We may not yet know all of you, but we already care about you.
I hope you will use the program to do the following:
- Go “all out”. The program is intense. You will feel at times tired and will want to give up. Don’t do that. Many of you have moved and disrupted your personal lives. Given those real and painful costs, charge ahead and get value from the program. Have no regrets
- Be honest. Raising VC money may not be the right thing for your company at this time. Avoid the false impression that if you have not locked up VC funding by Demo Day, you suck
- Seek authenticity. Chemistry with Mentors is critical. You must find someone with whom you can be totally honest and have really meaningful conversations. They can’t be mentoring sessions disguised as fundraising pitches
- Build a total life. Find a community. Exercise. If you are spiritual, find a house of worship. Read just for the fun of it. Take in a game at Fenway. Hike in the mountains when the forest explodes with colors during autumn. Continue being a total person to keep the batteries charged
- Find an alumnus to guide you. Critical. Find someone from a prior TechStars Cambridge class. Ask for lessons learned. Find best practices
- Make Mentors work. Have a specific “ask”. You want an intro to X. You need help with Y. Do not be shy
- Understand the varying VC strategies. Multiple approaches work in VC. But, they differ. And, you have to find the one that best fits your needs at that time. More at “A VC’s Strategy and ‘Kill Rate'”. To better understand VCs, you might also find helpful: “How Are VCs Paid?”. For one person’s view on raising VC money, here is a blog series here.
Eric and I look forward to meeting you all. There is so much genuine love for TechStars in the community. And, that’s what makes the program special.