TechStars

August 22, 2007 at 10:50 am (General)

The non-techie, non-mentor, non-investor, fiancé perspective

 

 

When David began talking about the TechStars idea, I thought it sounded pretty cool. At that point in our relationship, I guess I wasn’t fully aware of the fact that when David has a cool idea, he doesn’t just talk about it, he gets off his ass and does it. And he doesn’t do anything half-assed, he goes big. It seemed like one day he was talking about the idea of TechStars and the next day he already had big-name mentors and partners committed to the program, and the buzz was all around Boulder.
All of the sudden it was REAL and life got very busy very fast.

Before the TechStars themselves were set to arrive in Boulder, there was a ton to do. A lot of people may not fully understand what went into this. There were trips out to LA, NYC, St. Louis, Seattle, etc for interviews, there were networking events, meeting after meeting to recruit sponsors and mentors, late nights spent blogging and researching, working to develop the website/logo/brochures, finding office space and getting it ready for the 26 founders, planning welcome events and over 40 sessions. This was not just a summer gig, this was David’s heart and soul and passion. And, this was all on top of his normal work that he does with startups and investing, and some of his own projects.

When the TechStars showed up, I thought I might not ever see David again until August 17th! Thankfully I was wrong! I was lucky enough to be close to program and be involved in a lot of the fun things they did. Drinks at Catacombs, Boulder Outdoor Cinema, lunches out here and there, hike and picnic at Brad’s, I even attended a session or two! Although, there were countless nights that I went to bed alone and woke up alone…wondering if David had ever come to bed or if he worked all night long.

Throughout the summer, I got to know a lot of the TechStars personally and I got the inside scoop on a lot of their companies and technology. So, I’ll talk a little bit about the two most exciting companies that I would use in my life – keep in mind I’m not a techie, I’m just an ‘average Jil’.

My favorite is Search-to-Phone. I LOVE this! My mom would use this (and she can barely even use her cell phone – sorry mom!). S-t-P makes it easy to find a service based on what you need instead of who you need it from. Well DUH, it seems so obvious now, right? Isn’t that a more natural way to search for a lot of things?

I wish this was around when we bought our hot tub. I didn’t realize that to get a hot tub, you need a cement block poured in your yard, the right amount of electric running to the tub, and then some fencing so all the neighbors don’t spy on you in it! Instead of googling and craigslisting those services for hours, I could have used S-t-P and left a recording that said something like this, “I need an 8ftx8ft cement block poured into my yard for a hot tub to sit on. I need it done within a week and will pay up to $750. I’m located in downtown Boulder” and then I would have received a call from a service that knew what I needed and could provide exactly that. So, I wouldn’t use S-t-P to order pizza, but you get the idea. I also have to add that I really like Carmin, one of the founders, you couldn’t meet a nicer guy.  

My next favorite is EventVue. Now, I’m a meeting planner, so this one appeals to me professionally. Most of the web-based event technology out there centers around registering for events and having all of the event information in one place (lodging, agenda, etc.). But that is really just the logistics. There isn’t much about registering for an event, picking your agenda, and booking your hotel that can really affect the experience that you are going to have at the event. That is where EventVue comes in. EventVue builds a community around the attendees and makes it easy for them to connect before, during, and after the event. Now, the event doesn’t just take place at the event, it is running long before attendees pick up their badges! I haven’t yet seen this in action, but I dig the concept and I think that it can add true value for attendees and change the standard event experience. I’ve had the chance to get to know the founders, Rob and ScoJo (Scottish Josh), I think they will do great things…and they’ll have fun along the way.

So, this is not to say that other TechStars companies aren’t amazing too. I just wanted to touch on the ones that make the most sense in my life. But I do also plan to start using madKast and Intense Debate on my blog soon and am looking forward to seeing big things from J-Squared in the Facebook world (I guess I need to open a Facebook account!). But what is more exciting to me than the companies, is the people! Getting to know the people involved has been so exciting. There are so many fun, brilliant, interesting people here, and I’m lucky to be among them. I’ve learned a lot too. You can even ask me what a widget is.

When Investor Day came along, I was thinking “We just need to get through this day and I’ll finally get my fiancé back!”. Well, I have to say that once I saw everything come together and the first presentation of the morning was almost over, I kinda started to cry a little. I teared up because Rob and ScoJo did such a great job with their presentation and I was proud of them, but it was more than that. I was so proud of what David had created and I was so proud to be a part of it (even if just a teeny part), and I looked around the room and saw that this whole thing was so much bigger and better than I imagined it could be. Lives were changed this summer, companies were built, friendships were made, and the memories will stay dear to me, even though I had to go to bed alone few too many nights.

6 Comments

  1. Carmin Turco, Founder, Search-To-Phone said,

    Jil… thanks for the wonderful write-up. As a self-described non-techie, *you* are our target market. If your VCR (or DVD) is currently flashing 12:00, Search-To-Phone wants YOU!

    It’s been a great summer – thanks for everything.

  2. Ginger said,

    Very interesting. I’ll have to tryS-T-P

  3. deb said,

    Jil,
    Stories like that have always been told to me in 6 words or less by your fiance’. (love ya bro) Thanks for all the scoop that makes sense.
    hugs,
    (average) Deb

  4. Rob said,

    Thanks Jil — It has been a great summer and a lot of it is directly due to you and David’s sacrifice. Thanks for the compliments and we couldn’t be more excited to stay here in Boulder and continue to build our company with friends like y’all.

  5. Josh Fraser said,

    Welcome to the blogging world! I can’t wait to see what else you have to say.

    I’m glad you like EventVue. It’s been fun getting to know you this summer. Thanks for sharing David with us!

    – Josh (I have no clue who that “ScoJo” guy is)

  6. Dave Nesbit (aka Jil's dad) said,

    You are definitely not an “average Jil”, though you do express the point of view of the non-techie user quite well. Your blog writing is excellent!

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