By Gabriela Matic
If you have been living in Glasgow for a while, you are used to a particular type of weather. When we arrived in New York, it was 30 degrees, and whatever outfit any of us had considered appropriate for both Manchester Airport and New York was too warm. For the MindMate team – Rogelio, Arellano, Susanne Mitschke, Patrick-Renner and myself – our Techstars adventure began on 9 July.
‘Mentoring from leading tech entrepreneurs’
Techstars is the global ecosystem that helps entrepreneurs build great businesses. Out of 1,500 applicants MindMate are one of only 15 early-stage companies selected for this prestigious summer programme and we will receive mentoring from leading tech entrepreneurs over a period of three months.
Susanne, Patrick and I have known each other since our undergraduate studies in Vienna, Austria. We met Rogelio in Glasgow, where we spent the last two years, and his story inspired us to build something with purpose. Rogelio’s grandfather had Alzheimer’s, and he and his family had to care for him at home. Support was almost not existent, and we quickly realised that dementia was a problem everywhere. Dementia affects everyone in one way or another. We wanted to create something that would make a difference.
From students to start-up
We started the business over one year ago while all four of us were still students. We suddenly had a vision that went way beyond the dissertation deadline and that inspired us more than any “regular” job ever could. We spent every minute building MindMate, and although it was hard, the initial effort made the difference. MindMate quickly became more important than our degree, and what started as “Uni work first” turned into “Dissertation work awaits after all the work on MindMate is done.“
Susanne is our CEO. She has the necessary drive to move our vision forward and always gets everything done. Together with Patrick, who is our CFO/COO, the two are the perfect team to manage our first employees and lead us through the chaos of being a start-up. Roger, with the help of our developers, is our CTO and builds the app while also being the creative mind behind the design. I am the CMO and take care of Social Media, B2C customer acquisition, the blog, PR and just creating the buzz.
Funds and connections ‘a giant step forward’ for MindMate
Techstars is a mentorship-driven startup accelerator with offices in Boulder, New York City, Boston, Seattle, San Antonio, Austin, Chicago, LA, Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, London, Tel Aviv, Cape Town, and Berlin.
If you know anything about the startup world, being accepted into Techstars is a giant step forward for a company. It’s not just about the money ($120K) but also about the connections (a vast network of investors & mentors) and having access to the biggest dementia market, the U.S.
‘Ready for long hours in the office’
Historically, Techstars companies have a 90% success rate and go on to on average more than $2M raised in outside capital after the program. This is probably why it is considered one of the best startup accelerators in the world. To be selected as one of 15 businesses out of 1,700 applicants is probably the biggest thing that has happened to MindMate so far.
Since we arrived in New York three weeks ago, we have not had a lot of time to do sightseeing, but we did walk through Times Square and Central Park and did a bit of shopping on 5th Avenue. The programme has arranged a boat cruise where we could enjoy the fantastic skyline of Manhattan and say hi to Lady Liberty.
Still, the central theme of Techstars is hard work. We are ready for the long hours in the office and can’t wait to see what comes next!
Gabriela Matic is Co-Founder of MindMate, Head of Marketing and User Acquisition, passionate blogger and dementia awareness advocate.