View profile

Techstars LA News - Issue #5

So much has changed in the past year.  This time last year the FAANGs were riding high, President T h
Issue #5  •  November 28  •  view online
Techstars LA News
So much has changed in the past year.  This time last year the FAANGs were riding high, President T had not yet dropped the rump, and pretty much all of us thought we were going to retire in Mexico on our bitcoin holdings.
Well…we didn’t retire to Mexico, but we still have a lot to be thankful for. As we reflect on 2018, we’d like to give thanks to all the founders, mentors, investors, and partners who make Techstars LA possible.  It’s been an incredible year. Thank you!
-Ethan and Anna

Techstars LA News
We wrapped up our second program in October. If you weren’t able to make it to demo day or if you just can’t find anything good on Netflix this holiday season here are videos of all the presentations. #Techstarsandchill
Looking ahead to 2019, we have an opening for a current student (MBA or engineering preferred) to help us pick our next class of startups. If you know someone interested in startups, technology or investing, tell them to apply or have them email us directly. anna.barber@techstars.com | ethan.austin@techstars.com
Updates From The Portfolio
Avisare (TS LA ’17) is launching the first universal certification system with the City of LA on Dec 12th at a launch event where the Mayor is scheduled to speak.

Blackstock & Weber (TS LA ’18) is raising a seed round now and wants you to look good as you run the gauntlet of VC holiday parties. They’re offering 25% off through Christmas day with code HOLIDAY.

Catalog (TS LA ’18 ) Raised a $1.5M seed round with Moonshots Capital and Luma Launch participating in the round.

TheCut (TS LA ’18) is nearing 3M appointments booked on their platform and founders Obi and Kush were recently named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for consumer tech.

Fernish (TS LA ’18) has recorded an average of 75% MoM subscriber growth since June, launched a second market (Seattle) in October and is tracking for a record month in November.

Heartbeat (TS LA ’17) ramped up during Q3/Q4 with $1.3M in sales and $1.98M for the year, launched a proprietary survey system that has generated nearly 3 million responses in the last few months and signed clients in Q3/Q4 including TOMS, MedMen, and Girlboss.

InvolveSoft raised $2.5M for its workplace community platform. Select investors include Bonfire Ventures, Greycroft, Launch Capital, NoName Ventures.

NetCloak (TS LA ’18) hired Alexa McCulloch as their new CEO in October and will be soft launching their initial product in December.

Ordermark raised $9.5M this fall after raising $3.1M earlier this year. They are interested in introductions to franchisees of medium-large chain restaurants to help maximize online ordering potential.

Playfull (TS LA ’17) is now partnered with Grubhub nationally and is wrapping up a $2.5M seed round.

Shipsi (TS LA ’18) closed a nearly $2M round from Halogen Ventures, Precursor Ventures, and Stage Venture Partners and is now busy on-boarding new brands to expand holiday selling.

Slingshot Aerospace (TS LA ’17) is in the process of raising their next round of funds with their sales pipeline beginning to produce. BAE Systems recently was added as a new customer and proposals have recently been sent out to US Air Force, Northrop Grumman, NASA and others.

SPIDR Tech has grown from serving 60,000 Americans twelve months ago to now providing law enforcement customer service for over 2M Americans.
Startup Resources
The Techstars Toolkit is now available to the public and includes deep dives into 8 foundational entrepreneurial skills. Each topic contains video segments and an online workbook and worksheets for entrepreneurs to use while they practice the skills. The content is aimed at people in the explore and build phases of the entrepreneurial journey. Please feel free to share!
Trends In Startup Land
D&I Takes A Big Step Forward
D&I is a theme we’ve tracked closely in 2018, as we think it’s critical for the future of tech. It never feels as though things are moving as fast as we’d like but the progress we have seen has been unmistakable. This was the year we started seeing words turning into action. A few examples…
In our own program, 70% of Techstars LA companies from the 2018 class were led by CEOs from underrepresented communities, and 65% of all TS LA portfolio companies (’17 & ’18) have at least one underrepresented founder.
In Los Angeles, the LA venture community, the Annenberg Foundation and Mayor Garcetti’s office worked together to create a city-wide commitment called Pledge LA with a goal to transform the tech industry into one that is more inclusive and equitable. Nearly every venture firm and early stage investor in LA (including Techstars LA) has signed on and will be held accountable to tracking their D&I numbers.
At the global level, Techstars changed its code of conduct to adopt Kapor Capital’s Founders’ Commitment around D&I. This means that the 500+ companies graduating from Techstars in 2019 will all be required to start building D&I into their cultures from day one. Techstars is certainly not the first organization to adopt the Founders’ Commitment and won’t be the last. Our hope for 2019 is that all early stage investors begin adopting this same language to help create a new industry norm around D&I.
***
The big question that remains with all these pledges and commitments is, of course, accountability. We’ll be watching to see how it all plays out in 2019 but feel optimistic that we’re close to turning a corner.
Around Town
USC Marshall is hosting a free one-day founder bootcamp designed to help early stage startups anticipate and avoid pitfalls. The Bootcamp is led by award winning HBS and USC professor Noam Wasserman and author of the book, Founder’s Dilemma. Applications are open until 11:59pm on Wed, Nov 28th.

EMsprint is hosting The Official Design Sprint Bootcamp with John Zeratsky on Tuesday, Dec 4. You can see it in action here. John is a co-creator of the Design Sprint process, co-author of the New York Times bestseller Sprint and former design partner at Google Ventures, where he ran over 150 Design Sprints with companies like Slack, Blue Bottle Coffee, Uber and many more. Sign up here.

The Year In Pics
Day 1
Day 1
TS LA mentor wall of fame price of admission: one day of mentoring and mentor update emails for the rest of eternity.
TS LA mentor wall of fame price of admission: one day of mentoring and mentor update emails for the rest of eternity.
We Heart Retros.
We Heart Retros.
A random Tuesday
A random Tuesday
The look you make when your first Shipsi package arrives and everything worked according to plan!
The look you make when your first Shipsi package arrives and everything worked according to plan!
That time we all went glamping and no one got poison ivy.
That time we all went glamping and no one got poison ivy.
That time we decided to turn our storage room into a nightclub.
That time we decided to turn our storage room into a nightclub.
That time we thought feeding goats might improve our KPIs.
That time we thought feeding goats might improve our KPIs.
That time we ended up at Keith Ferrazzi's house getting vulnerable and singing camp songs till midnight
That time we ended up at Keith Ferrazzi's house getting vulnerable and singing camp songs till midnight
That time alums came back to drop knowledge on the next class of Techstarians.
That time alums came back to drop knowledge on the next class of Techstarians.
lulz
lulz
Our #Giveback day, mentoring students from NFTE.
Our #Giveback day, mentoring students from NFTE.
Demo Day Rehearsal
Demo Day Rehearsal
That time Ethan's head made a guest appearance at Demo Day as Netcloak's "human problem".
That time Ethan's head made a guest appearance at Demo Day as Netcloak's "human problem".
When the AV goes berserk at Demo Day and you act like it ain't no thing.
When the AV goes berserk at Demo Day and you act like it ain't no thing.
#nailedit
#nailedit
Adios and merry everything.  We'll see you in 2019!
Adios and merry everything. We'll see you in 2019!
The end.
The end.
Did you enjoy this issue?
Copyright © 2018 Techstars, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted-in on one of our websites.
Our mailing address is:
Techstars
1050 Walnut St #202
Boulder, CO 80302
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
If you don’t want these updates anymore, please unsubscribe here.
This newsletter is carefully curated with Revue