I just got back to Boulder from an amazing week in Boston and I wanted to reflect on it while it is fresh in my mind. Of all of the things I’ve helped build in my career as an entrepreneur and investor, I think the thing I’m most proud of is the network of amazing entrepreneurs, investors, and mentors around TechStars.
Every year, all the TechStars alumni and staff come together for FounderCon. This year we had 220 alumni founders in Boston for the annual gathering, which culminated in a demo day with entrepreneurs from the Boston TechStars program.
FounderCon 2012 was an incredible three days packed with networking, amazing keynote speakers, breakout sessions, and bonding over group meals and a rousing game of Werewolf. Special guests included opening keynote speaker FakeGrimlock, along with Dharmesh Shah, Nabeel Hyatt, and Seth Godin.
Shah, founder and CTO of Hubspot, spoke on Monday afternoon about inbound marketing for startups. Hyatt, founder of Conduit Labs, gave a talk on Tuesday entitled “Off The Record,” about the predictive approach to product development. Then on Wednesday, entrepreneur and best selling author Godin presented the final keynote, “Startup Storytelling.”
There were a number of breakout sessions to choose from each day, including offerings such as “What Metrics Matter: How do you know if you are winning if you don’t know what to measure,” “Recruiting amazing software engineers,” “Technical Debt – avoiding the eventual consequences of technical shortcuts,” “What can TechStars do for you as Alumni,” and “Getting Acquired – how to achieve and manage an exit.”
Speaking of being acquired, we also awarded gold shirts to the TechStars alumni that had successful exits in the last year: ThinkNear; GoMiles; Frame; Thinkfuse; TimZon (SnapEngage); Foodzie; and Everlater (who announced their acquisition by MapQuest/AOL at FounderCon that day).
On Wednesday, many of our startups had the chance to participate in BizDev event, which was a great opportunity for these companies to get new distribution, business development, and build connections. Top executives were present from Amazon Web Services; American Airlines; American Express; Bose; Credit Suisse; Dell; Experian; Groupon; Intel Capital; LinkedIn; Meredith Corporation; Rackspace; Salesforce; SK USA; SoftLayer and Verizon Wireless.
This was followed by our biggest demo day ever, with an audience of more than a thousand investors, entrepreneurs and supporters on hand to watch presentations by 13 companies at the Royale Theater in Boston: BetterFit Technologies, Careport Health, CoachUp, Dashbell, Fashion Project, Fetchnotes, ImpulseSave, NBD Nano, Ovuline, Saverr, Urban Hero, Wymsee, and Zeppelin.
It was great to reconnect with so many TechStars alumni and hear all of the cool ideas and stories. I want to personally thank Dharmesh Shah, Nabeel Hyatt, Seth Godin and Fake Grimlock for taking the time to share their insights with us.
Every participant at FounderCon is a contributor, which is what makes it fun and engaging for everybody. Thanks to all of you who came out and helped make FounderCon 2012 a huge success.
We shared the infographic below at FounderCon, and I wanted to post it here too. It’s always amazing to look back on all the people who have been involved and what we’ve built together so far. I know there is so much more to come.