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February 26, 2024 | Tom Ballard

Techstars taking some public relations heat for changes it is making

At least three accelerators in prominent start-up communities - Austin, Boulder and Seattle - are being shuttered.

Techstars, which welcomes the third cohort of the “Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator” to Knoxville in mid-March, has been in the news after shutting down several of its longtime accelerators around the country.

As reported by TechCrunch, “What was planned internally to be an exciting new chapter for the organization ended up being somewhat of a PR nightmare. Techstars found itself facing criticism for some of its decisions and execution after announcing it would shut down its Boulder and Seattle accelerators after recently shuttering its Austin-based program.

The article includes an explanation from Techstars Chief Executive Officer Maëlle Gavet. The organization also announced last week what it described as Techstars 2.0

GeekWire also reported on the closings and the PR issue, noting that Techstars Seattle, which it described as “one of the pillars of Seattle’s tech community,” had graduated more than 200 start-ups through its accelerator programs since launching in 2010. That article also reported that Techstars is:

  • Focusing on markets with high concentrations of venture capital activity; and
  • Relocating its headquarters from Boulder, one of the cities where it used to operate an accelerator, to New York City.

Techstars laid off 20 people, or seven percent of its staff, last month, according to The Information.

Meanwhile, Brandon Bruce, Managing Director of the “Techstars Industries of the Future Accelerator,” says that “here in Knoxville, we’re staying focused on our accelerator starting in two weeks.”

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