We're excited to publicly announce that Plated.com will be joining the TechStars New York class of 2013!
First, some background: Accelerators and incubators have become an increasingly important and popular part of the startup scene, especially here in NYC. While by some accounts there is a new accelerator or incubator launching every day, TechStars remains one of the best in the world. More than 1,700 companies applied for the eleven TechStars spots - that's more selective than Harvard Business School. We feel super privileged and stoked!
Since 2007, TechStars has provided entrepreneurs with mentorship, funding, and training to take businesses from idea onto the path towards IPO. For millenials in search of their own path to job satisfaction and entrepreneurship, it is an awesome platform for exploring, solidifying and expanding both personally and professionally. It's basically a three-month crash course in rapid prototyping and failing fast, kind of like a Harvard MBA, but with skin in the game.
We had our first day yesterday, and it was as intense as promised.
We are one of eleven companies in the class, and Managing Director Eugene Chung welcomed us by saying, "You guys are my art. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, if by the end of these twelve weeks, if my art sucks, you have the right to shoot me."
What are the three keys to not sucking over the next three months?
One, Intellectual honesty. We need to be brutally open about where we're good, and where we suck. You can't sugar coat a business to massive growth (unless you're Groupon).
Two, Doing the right stuff. Fast. 90 days left - now 89. How do we learn as fast as humanly possible? By testing, failing, iterating, and learning. Messing up is OK. Avoiding risks (and making the same mistake twice) is not.
And three, Deep engagement with the right mentors. Probably the most appealing part of TechStars is the totally bad@$$ set of mentors we have access to. I spent the night drinking beer with Dennis Crowley (founder of Foursquare), Alexandra Wilkis Wilson (founder of Gilt), Wiley Cerilli (exited his business for $100 million on $1 million in revenue), and a roomful of other people who have crushed it.
It has been a fourteen hour day. I have 87 messages in my inbox, and follow-up emails to send. As one of the mentors said this evening, get ready, because the next three months we'll be gorging ourselves on an all you can eat lobster buffet.
We are totally stoked. Let the failing (and learning) begin.