The Techstars Foundation

Increasing Diversity in Entrepreneurship
What is the Techstars Foundation?
The Techstars Foundation was founded in 2015 and is committed to increasing diversity in entrepreneurship. We do this by investing in organizations with grant money and leveraging the Techstars network to empower these organizations to accelerate their mission forward.
Grant Application Process
The Techstars Foundation requires a letter of inquiry to initiate the grantmaking process. Please review our grantmaking criteria to determine if your organization fits our funding priorities.
Letters of inquiry are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year. Applicants will be notified via email if their letter of inquiry is declined or if they have been invited to submit a full proposal for funding consideration.
Letters of inquiry should be submitted as a single PDF (not to exceed two pages) to and must include the following:
Name and mission of the organization.
Organization's tax identification number or fiscal sponsor information, if applicable.
Amount of money requested and total cost of project. Note: Please indicate if your request is for general operating support. Grants currently range from $10,000 - $50,000.
Brief history of your organization and how you are increasing diversity in entrepreneurship.
What you hope to accomplish with support from Techstars.
Contact name, email and telephone number.
Grantmaking Criteria
Where We Fund
Organizations worldwide are encouraged to apply.
What We Look For
Your grant request will be evaluated against the following criteria:

  • Impact on underrepresented groups in entrepreneurship
  • Scalability
  • Team
  • Ability for Techstars to amplify throughout the network
What We Fund
  • Organizations that are increasing diversity in entrepreneurship
  • General operating or project support
  • Grant range is $10,000 - $50,000
What We Don't Fund
  • Start up funding for individuals or companies
  • Organizations that do not have 501c3 status or lack a fiscal sponsor
  • Capital campaigns / building construction
  • Faith-based or religious organizations
  • Grants to individuals
Are you interested in helping improve diversity among entrepreneurs? The Techstars Foundation provides a way for Techstars alumni, partners, mentors, and others to Give First by supporting the foundation and helping create stronger entrepreneur communities worldwide.

All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. For more information on how to give and types of gifts accepted (cash, check, stock, planned gifts, among others) please visit the Techstars Foundation giving page. Thank you for your consideration.

Donate Today.

Advisory Board
These distinguished leaders and experts help us move the needle.
David Cohen
Founder & co-CEO, Techstars
David Cohen is the Founder and co-CEO of Techstars. David has been an entrepreneur....more.
Brad Feld
Managing Director, Foundry Group
Brad Feld has been an early stage investor and entrepreneur for over 20 years.
Brad has been an early stage....more.
Nicole Glaros
Chief Innovation Officer, Techstars
Nicole is Chief Innovation Officer at Techstars, a global ecosystem for entrepreneurs. She's been...more.
Mary Grove
Director, Google for Entrepreneurs
Mary Grove is the Director of Google for Entrepreneurs, leading Google's efforts to support startups and....more.
Jenny Lawton
COO, Techstars
Jenny Lawton joined Techsters as COO in September 2016. She is
responsible for the day-to-day management of....more.
Rod Robinson
Founder & CEO, ConnXus
Rod Robinson is the founder and CEO of ConnXus, Inc., a supplier diversity software platform that enables....more.
Lucy Sanders
Lucy Sanders is CEO and Co-founder of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and also serves as...more.
Jeremy Shure
Managing Director, Silicon Valley Bank
Jeremy Shure is a Managing Director at Silicon Valley Bank in their Early Stage practice....more
Know someone that would be a great fit for our Advisory Board?
Managing Director at Silicon Valley Bank, Early Stage
Jeremy Shure
Jeremy Shure is a Managing Director at Silicon Valley Bank in their Early Stage practice, and is based in New York City.

Jeremy has been an active mentor to a significant number of the Techstars programs across the United States, and believes deeply in the mantra of #givefirst.

Jeremy has a diverse background in startups, venture capital, and law, and has written on such topics for various publications, including Inc. and The Huffington Post. Prior to joining SVB, Jeremy's experience includes co-founding the Emerging Companies practice group of a national law firm, and directing the innovation practice of the world's largest privately held media agency.

Jeremy sits on the Advisory Board of the Techstars Foundation, is a member of the National Board of Directors of Active Minds, is President of the Class of 2000 at the University of Pennsylvania, is an active volunteer with Defy Ventures, and is past President of The Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, Young Leadership division.

Jeremy can be found on Twitter at @jeremyshure and on LinkedIn here.
Director, Google for Entrepreneurs
Mary Grove
Mary Grove is the Director of Google for Entrepreneurs, leading Google's efforts to support startups and entrepreneurs in more than 100 countries around the world. Mary is passionate about building community and has worked with groups of entrepreneurs in Pakistan, Iraq, Gaza, and Afghanistan, and previously led numerous international partnerships for Google. Mary earned her BA and MA from Stanford University. She is the co-founder of Silicon North Stars, a nonprofit that connects youth from the Midwest to Silicon Valley. She has served on the Board of UP Global, the Techstars Foundation and the Stanford Alumni Association.
Founder & CEO, ConnXus
Rod Robinson
Rod Robinson is the founder and CEO of ConnXus, Inc., a supplier diversity software platform that enables Fortune 2000 companies to manage supplier diversity compliance tracking and reporting requirements. Since starting the company in 2010, Rod has led the company through successfully raising $10 million in venture capital, 102% compound annual revenue growth, a database of 1.7 million diverse suppliers and a growing list of global customers including American Express, McDonald's, Caesars Entertainment, Coca-Cola and Cummins. Rod holds a bachelor's degree in accounting from the West Virginia University Institute of Technology and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a Dun & Bradstreet fellowship recipient. Rod was recognized by Ernst & Young as an Entrepreneur of the Year finalist in 2012.
COO, Techstars
Jenny Lawton
Jenny Lawton joined Techsters as COO in September 2016. Jenny is responsible for the day-to-day management of the company including sales, marketing, business development, engineering and operations.

Prior to Techstars, Lawton served as the COO of littleBits and was responsible for the overall strategy and growth of the company, working with the CEO, Ayah Bdeir, to scale the company. While at MakerBot from 2011 until 2015, she held several positions prior to being appointed interim CEO, including president, chief strategy officer and head of people. At MakerBot, Lawton was instrumental in driving the company's meteoric growth of more than 600 percent in two years and she was one of the main architects in the merger between MakerBot and Stratasys in 2013.

As a long-time tech leader, Lawton co-founded Net Daemons Associates (NDA) in 1991, an information technology-consulting firm. With Lawton as CEO, NDA was recognized on the 1998 Inc. 500 list of the fastest growing privately held U.S. companies, and on the Deloitte and Touche Fast 50 and Fast 500 lists for 1997 and 1998. In 1999, Net Daemons was acquired by Interliant Inc. (formerly Sage Networks), where Lawton served as a senior vice president. She later worked as an entrepreneur-in-residence with Softbank and Mobius Venture Capital.

The events of September 11, 2001, were the impetus that inspired Lawton to leave the corporate world for a hiatus to become the owner of the independent bookstores Just Books and Just Books, Too, as well as Arcadia Coffee in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. After ten years running successful retail ventures, Lawton re-entered the business and technology scene, serving as COO for Rockin' Water and RAM Scientific, and senior vice president of operations for Mercury Solar Systems. In 2014, Jenny was appointed to the Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame.
Lucy Sanders
Lucy Sanders is CEO and Co-founder of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and also serves as Executive-in-Residence for the ATLAS Institute at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU).

Lucy has an extensive industry background, having worked in R&D and executive (VP) positions at AT&T Bell Labs, Lucent Bell Labs, and Avaya Labs for over 20 years, where she specialized in systems-level software and solutions (multi-media communication, and customer relationship management).

Lucy is a recipient, along with NCWIT Co-founders Robert Schnabel and Telle Whitney, of the Computing Research Association's 2012 A. Nico Habermann Award. She has been inducted into the Women in Technology International (WITI) Hall of Fame and is a recipient of the 2013 U.S. News STEM Leadership Hall of Fame Award. Lucy received her BS and MS in computer science from Louisiana State University and the University of Colorado Boulder, respectively.
Founder & co-CEO, Techstars
David Brown
David Brown is a co-founder and co-CEO of Techstars.

David is a serial entrepreneur who has founded three startups and been involved with two others. He is one of the original founders of Pinpoint Technologies, Inc. which is now part of ZOLL Medical Corporation and provides solutions to the emergency medical services market. He was President of the company from founding through over $50M per year in revenue and over 250 people.

David later co-founded Techstars along with David Cohen, Brad Feld, and Jared Polis. He has been an investor and advisor to Techstars since inception. In 2013, he joined Techstars in a more active role as Managing Partner and now co-CEO.

David has a B.Sc. degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. As a ski instructor in the past, David still enjoys hitting the slopes on a good powder day.

Follow @dbrown
Managing Partner, Techstars
David Cohen
David Cohen is the Founder and co-CEO of Techstars.

David has been an entrepreneur and investor for his entire life. He has only had one job interview in his career, successfully got that job but then quit shortly thereafter to start his first company. Since then, he has founded several companies and has invested in hundreds of startups such as Uber, Twilio, SendGrid, FullContact, and Sphero. In total, these investments have gone on to create more than $80B in value.

Prior to Techstars, David was a co-founder of Pinpoint Technologies which was acquired by ZOLL Medical Corporation (NASDAQ: ZOLL) in 1999. You can read about it in No Vision, All Drive. Later, David was the founder and CEO of earFeeder, a music service that was sold to SonicSwap. He also had what he likes to think of as a "graceful failure" in between.

David is the co-author (with Brad Feld) of Do More Faster; Techstars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup. David also enjoys reading non-fiction books and playing tennis. He is married to the coolest girl he's ever met and has three amazing kids who always seem to be teaching him something new.

You can find David tweeting at @davidcohen and blogging on the web at

Managing Director, Foundry Group
Brad Feld
Brad Feld has been an early stage investor and entrepreneur for over 20 years.

He lives in Boulder, Colorado and Homer, Alaska with his wife and is on a quest to run a marathon in every state in the US.

Brad has been an early stage investor and entrepreneur since 1987. Prior to co-founding Foundry Group, he co-founded Mobius Venture Capital and, prior to that, founded Intensity Ventures. Brad is also a co-founder of Techstars.

In addition to his investing efforts, Brad has been active with several non-profit organizations and currently is chair of the National Center for Women & Information Technology, co-chair of Startup Colorado, and on the board of Path Forward. Brad is a nationally recognized speaker on the topics of venture capital investing and entrepreneurship and writes the widely read blogs Feld Thoughts, Startup Revolution, and Ask the VC.

Brad holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Management Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Chief Product Officer, Techstars
Nicole Glaros
Nicole has entrepreneurship in her blood. As a second generation American, with both her father and grandfather starting companies, she learned at a young age that being an entrepreneur means being in charge of your own destiny. She got her entrepreneurial start in the 4th grade, orchestrating cousins into theatrical plays and charging neighbors admission. Since 2002, she's been mentoring and funding early-stage web software companies. Most recently, Nicole is Chief Product Officer at Techstars, a global ecosystem for entrepreneurs based out of Boulder, Colorado. She's been with Techstars since its early days in 2009, has run 8 programs and has close to 90 companies in her portfolio. She's on the Board of Directors for SimpleEnergy, Owlet, and the Entrepreneur's Foundation of Colorado. She was named one of the "Coolest People in New York Tech" and an Extraordinary Woman in New York Tech by Business Insider, Marie Claire named her one of the "NewGuard", and Entrepreneur Magazine named her One of the Most 7 Powerful Women to Watch. You can see her at various speaking engagements like SXSW.

Nicole graduated with her Master's Degree in Sport Psychology from the University of Florida and has learned that the same principles of sport apply to startups. She is married to the love of her life and has 2 young children under 5 who keep her honest, humble, and acutely aware of how short and precious life is.

Follow Nicole at
Current Grant Recipients
Learn more about what our grant recipients are doing
Coalition for Queens
Coalition for Queens increases economic opportunity through technology and transforms the world's most diverse community into a leading hub for innovation and entrepreneurship.

Learn More
Student Dream
Student Dream trains collegiate students of color to start companies. Driven by a vision to create wealth in communities of color, Student Dream runs semester-long programs and a membership platform that connects aspiring Black, Hispanic, and Native American student entrepreneurs to training, mentorship, and industry opportunities needed to succeed.

Learn More
Global EIR
Global EIR Coalition expands economic opportunities through partnering international entrepreneurs, universities, and cities to promote job creation, grow local economies, and build their businesses throughout the United States.

Learn More
Change Catalyst
Change Catalyst is an organization committed to inclusive innovation through two main initiatives, Tech Inclusion and Startup Showcases.

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Astia transforms the way businesses are funded by providing capital, connections and expertise that fuel the growth of women-led ventures.

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Defy Ventures
Defy "transforms the hustle" by providing entrepreneurship training, intense character and personal development for people with criminal histories.

Learn More
Gaza Sky Geeks
A co-working hub, entrepreneurship outreach organization and startup incubator and accelerator in Gaza, run by the global organization Mercy Corps.

Learn More
Patriot Boot Camp
An intensive 3-day educational event designed to mentor military members, Veterans and their spouses to start technology-focused businesses.

Learn More
Support Diversity
If you are interested in supporting these and other important diversity initiatives, please consider donating cash or stock to the Techstars Foundation, or to name the foundation as a beneficiary. Your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
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