By Gabriela Matic
The first week at Techstars was all about onboarding and getting to know the team and other businesses. We knew that after this, the real work would start, but we couldn’t even have dreamt of how intense it would really be. Everyone quickly understood why the Techstars mantra is: “Do more, faster.”
There is no “getting used to things” phase in week two; there is only Mentor Madness. As the name suggests, it’s not a couple of meetings and extensive reflection but rather a crazy amount of almost 40 mentoring sessions in one week and an overload of opinions and advice. In less than 20 minutes per meeting, you have to take away as much as you can, and we did. The Techstars team did a great job in handpicking relevant mentors that you usually would not get in front of.
Filtering all the mentors’ opinions, identifying patterns, and figuring out who you need to keep working with are what the real challenge is. No matter whom you chose to meet with for follow-up meetings, it’s still amazing that world-class entrepreneurs like Avi Muchnick, whose Aviary App was acquired by Adobe, or Dane Atkinson, who has founded, bought, and sold over a dozen companies, take the time to speak to young entrepreneurs.
It’s also inspiring to see how Christine Carrillo, the founder of Impact Health and Techstars alumni, is helping businesses like MindMate and opening up her network. It proves that the Techstars family stays connected even after the programme.
Working hard to make things happen
Working in the Techstars co-working space is also a unique experience in itself. Situated in Midtown Manhattan, it feels like you are in the New York’s heart of the action. Everyone is working hard to make things happen, and being part of it makes you work even harder.
The weeks after Mentor Madness consisted of more follow-up meetings, workshops, and amazing speakers and talks. It’s hard to put into words how insightful talks from people like Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley or Techstars’ very own David Cohen and Brad Feld are.
Then there are the other Techstars teams. It feels amazing to be among so many brilliant people with absolutely fantastic businesses.
Next step: fundraising
Besides starting a MindMate Trial in the Georgetown Living Alzheimer’s Residences in Austin, Texas, one of our highlights of the first month in New York was demoing at the New York Tech Meetup. It’s the largest meetup group in the world, representing professionals from all parts of the New York technology community and letting new and innovative businesses demo. Jessica Lawrence Quinn, the executive director, was one of our mentors in the Mentor Madness and suggested that we should do it. We did it a week later.
It felt like our debut in the New York tech scene, and the feedback we got from the audience was incredible. After many handshakes, introductions, and new connections, we were sure that we had proved that this Scottish start-up could not be overlooked.
We feel that, with the invaluable advice of our mentors and the ongoing support of the Techstars team, especially Alex Iskold, KJ Singh and the associates, we are ready to do even more, even faster. Fundraising is just around the corner, and we are ready.
Gabriela Matic is co-founder of MindMate, head of marketing and user acquisition, passionate blogger and dementia awareness advocate.