Techstars Reality Show: Tech Startups Simplified

Day 4 of 30 of Writing Challenge

I finished watching the Techstars reality show by Bloomberg television. I have mixed feelings with the show. On the one hand I think it’s awesome that tech startups have their own medium to showcase what it’s like to build and launch a company. However, how the show turned out leaves much to be desired. Granted if the show was made how I would’ve liked it to be it probably wouldn’t appeal to the target Bloomberg audience.

My first issue with the show is that they only follow the CEO’s of the startups around. While the CEO is the person who has the vision it would have been nice to see who else was on the team and their dynamics together. Personally I’m interested in who else is on the team, what their roles are, how they ended up together, etc… One of the teams, I think it was Team Veri, in the second to last episode had this Asian chick wearing one of their team shirts and I was look who’s this random person?

The second issue I had with the show was the randomness of companies that were showcased. For the first 4 episodes they followed 6 different teams. You get to know them and see their progress. Then in episode 5, which is the second to last episode (though technically you could say it’s the last episode since the 6th episode is a follow up reunion type show), they throw in two other teams CrowdTwist and Red Rover. I was left scratching my head wondering why they introduced these 2 CEO’s (notice I didn’t say teams) so late in the series. I didn’t know anything about them except that their pitch was the shit. It made it even less sense that these two teams were invited back for the last episode when they were only featured in the show for like 5 minutes out of the entire series. Random.

Finally my biggest issue with the entire show is I felt like the process of starting up a company was way oversimplified. What they said about starting a company didn’t match what they showed. For example most people tell you how hard it is to find a co-founder. Melanie from ToVieFor found one what seemed the next day. They talk about how hard and how long they work, but you never see them staying late or looking like they’re dead tired. Most of the scenes are them all chatting to mentors or drinking beers. You hear how hard fund-raising is, but all these teams made it look easy. What’s the deal??

If I took Techstars the show as gospel this is how I would start a tech company:

  1. Come up with an idea for a tech company (doesn’t matter what I choose since I will be joining Techstars and they invest in me not my idea…plus I’ll be pivoting later)
  2. Apply to Techstars and be really passionate and confident about my idea (passion and confidence mean you have “awesome leadership skills” which is a must to get into Techstars)
  3. Once in the program hang out with mentors who will give me feedback to which I’ll pivot my idea
  4. Magically my idea will come into existence
  5. Work on my “kick ass” pitch a lot (important words to include: sucks, stupid, bullshit, disrupt, game changing)
  6. Pitch to investors, investors beg to invest in you, and raise tons of money
  7. Retire to my island

OK so I might sound a little bitter, but I’m actually glad there are shows out there. While it doesn’t give an accurate picture at least we we’re looking in the right direction (ie it’s better than nothing).



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