Techstars Atlanta Visits the Depot

Over the past year, many great things have been happening within the

Photo by Wade Cline

entrepreneurial district of Birmingham.

Mainly, the Innovation Depot continues to introduce new programs, companies, initiatives, and bring in major names connected to the tech startup scene.

This past Tuesday, Techstars Atlanta visited the Depot and extended an offer to its accelerator program.

What prompted Techstars Atlanta to visit?

This past summer, the Velocity Accelerator opened up for operation inside the Depot.

The Accelerator is not only a work space for entrepreneurs, but once a year the program takes in 10 startups and focuses on “accelerating” their businesses.

This not only was a huge step in the right direction for our growing startup scene, but it has been catching the eye of investors, and others around the country.

Photo By: Alabama NewsCenter

Read more about the first Accelerator class here…


Noticing the potential Birmingham has for wonderful startups, TechStars Atlanta sent Michael Cohn (Managing Director of TechStars Atlanta) to the Depot to invite local startups to their accelerator program.

Photo by Wade Cline
What is Techstars?

“TechStars is a global eco-system that helps entrepreneurs build great businesses and take them to the next level.”

– Michael

3 Part Operation:

  • Startup Programs
  • Accelerator Programs

90 days of hard work are put into the accelerator program which will house 10 companies at a time. The teams are exposed to intense amounts of connections, investment opportunities, and of course sustainability.

Read more here

  • Techstars Ventures

There are really no boundaries to this massive eco-system which has companies involved from all over the world.

As mentioned above, one of the main parts of Techstars is the Accelerator program – much like the one we have here in Birmingham within Velocity.

Techstars has a massive “Venture Fund” of about $150M which is used exclusively for funding startups that go through the accelerator each year.

Photo by Wade Cline

The Accelerator Program

Here is a timeline of the program and what each of the months offer.

  • Month 1 – Meet the Mentors

Each startup is paired up with 6-7 mentors that will help guide them through the process. These are business professionals in a range of different industries.

These mentors work for free. Michael likes to say the atmosphere encompasses a “give first mentality…”.

Image result for techstars meet the mentors
Photo by Techstars Boston
  • Month 2 – MVP & Growth

This month is crucial.  A process of synthesizing the companies and gathering feed back from the mentors.

  • Month 3 – Story & Demo Day

“focused on financing…”

At the end of the month, the companies have their pitch rounds, given in front of an audience, including investors and non-investors.

Image result for techstars demo day
Photo by Techstars

The big question – How can you (a startup founder) get involved?

The Atlanta Techstars are here to invite any startups to apply for a spot in their next accelerator program.

Here is what they are looking for:

Michael, an entrepreneur himself, exclaimed that the most important aspect is “Progress”.

“We are looking for folks that can integrate quickly, that make progress, and we look for this because 90 days in an accelerator is a really short amount of time…

It’s all about exectuion and how fast you can move.”

– Michael


The Deal:

When taking in the companies into the Accelerator program, there are four things Techstars asks for and gives to the startups:

  • $20,000 for 6% Common Stock

The twenty thousand will help with bringing in the companies to Atlanta, pay for air fairs, and living expenses in general.

6% is for Techstars because, well, this is their full time job.

  • $100,000 Convertible Note

This is optional. 50% of which is covered by Techstars, and the other 50% is covered by their partners Cox Enterprises.

Photo by Techstars
  • Equity back Guarantee

Within 72 hours of the program, if a startup does’t feel like they belong, to put it nicely, they will receive their 6% back.

  • $1 Million in Perks

This includes things from mentors, access to programs, and many other things you can think of that would help a small startup.


After the Program:

A point of pride for the organization is what happens for the startups after the accelerator program.

Techstars Connect is somewhat compared to a linkedin for founders…


Important dates they want you to know about!
  • Applications are open NOW – will close on April 9th
  • Offers will be out by May 20th
  • The program starts on July 10th
  • Demo Day is Oct. 10th

The most exciting part about Techstars Atlanta visiting Bham is the recognition and opportunities presented to our local startups.

Like the Innovation Depot, Velocity, and many other programs inside our entrepreneurial bubble, Techstars is trying to put Atlanta startups on the map.

When major forces join together for a certainly cause, great things tend to happen.


Are you interested in the Techstars Atlanta accelerator program? Read more here…

Author: Wade Cline

Marketing Producer at Bham Now, Tech Junkie, Foodie, Bham Lover, Movie Snob, Wannabe Quantum Physicist. You can likely find me either at Trim Tab Brewing or O'henry's Coffee in Homewood.