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TechStars Grades Itself

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UpdatedTechStars, a seed-stage investment program which has outposts in Boulder, Colo., as well as Boston and Seattle, recently decided to grade itself. So far, the group is not doing too badly. Out of the 39 companies to come out of TechStars, 29 are still active, five were acquired and four failed. Twenty-seven have managed to raised outside funding or bootstrap their way to profitability. So far, TechStar startups have raised about $16.5 million in seed-stage funding from outside investors.


Late December, Imran Ghory offered a similar analysis for Y Combinator, a start-up school and investment program co-founded by Paul Graham. According to Ghory’s data, over the years, Y Combinator had seen 14 acquisitions, 33 had failed and 82 were still active, of which 24 had raised more outside capital. Reddit (acquired by Conde Nast) was one of the early stars of the Y Combinator program. My two favorite Y Combinator alumni are Dropbox and Xobni.

Update: On his Hacker News site, Paul Graham says that Ghory’s data is incorrect.

According to our (YCombintor) data, 98/145 or 67.6% of companies we funded in s2009 or before are funded and/or profitable and/or acquired. We don’t focus on that number, though (I had to write code to calculate it) because the big returns in startup investing often come from outliers that look very risky at first.

Related: Notes from a conversation with Paul GrahamFound/Read Interview with Paul Graham.

4 Responses to “TechStars Grades Itself”

  1. Wow! Terrific numbers.

    BTW – illustrates what can be done with a little assistance. A lot more impressive than, say, giving tax breaks to healthcare conglomerates, tobacco growers or the Oil Patch Boys.

  2. Great to see such a high percentage of start ups still active. Innovation is still alive and we need more of this today and in the future. Is there a breakdown available from the list of active companies in terms of the sector or the specific field/space they are involved in?
    Didn’t know that Dropbox was a Y Combinator company.

    • Dropbox is a stellar company and frankly I missed writing about them when I first met them. I dismissed them as yet-another-online-storage company and boy did they prove me wrong. Look at their numbers and growth rate — we wrote about it earlier — they are simply stealing the market from everyone and even getting people to convert.