The Techstars Foundation

Increasing Diversity in Entrepreneurship
Welcome to the Techstars Foundation
Our mission is to foster inclusion and diversity throughout our entrepreneurial ecosystem. We break down barriers to entrepreneurship worldwide by collaborating with nonprofit organizations, corporations, and individuals in a variety of ways
Let's Engage
Are you an organization seeking a grant or other help? A corporation looking to partner and collaborate? Here are some of the ways we can engage:

  • Request a grant: We make grants to selected nonprofit organizations that can scale globally with high-impact programs and projects that further inclusion. Our next round of funding applications opens on May 1, 2018, and ends June 30, 2018.

  • Participate in Global Initiatives: We collaborate on specific global initiatives that impact vast numbers of organizations and individual entrepreneurs. Join one of our global initiatives which are bringing help in technology and mentorship to many nonprofit organizations.
    • Global Mentor Network: If your organization can benefit from mentorship, for you or those you serve, please take a look at our Global Mentor Network initiative.
    • Microlending Technology Platform: If you are a micro-lender, microfinance organization or CDFI, we are working on a technology to help you serve your entrepreneurs.
    • Neighborhood Innovation Center: If you are a community leader looking to form a neighborhood innovation center, we are working on a best-practices document that can lead to grants of funding and services.

  • Explore Regional Programs: We explore regional programs to enhance access to entrepreneurship. Let us know if you would like to be involved to impact specific regions. Current regional explorations are:
    • Latin America: We are looking at ways we can encourage entrepreneurship in teens and young adults.
    • Arab Countries: We are exploring how to include more women in entrepreneurship in the Middle East and northern Africa regions.

  • Gain visibility: As a nonprofit, you can tell your story on our Resources page, with links to your website so that others can find you.


  • Techstars Connect: We find ways to connect those in the entrepreneurial ecosystem to the vast Techstars network of founders, mentors, community events, accelerators and other Techstars programs. Techstars is in over 150 countries, with over 400 new companies going through their accelerators each year all over the world. They host thousands of community events, such as Startup Week and Startup Weekend. The vast Techstars network of founders, mentors, community events, accelerators and other Techstars programs include over 300,000 alumni. We encourage you to go to Techstars.com and see how you can be a part of the Techstars family of entrepreneurship. www.Techstars.com
Give First: Donate Today
Do you have a passion for breaking down barriers? Help make the world of entrepreneurship as colorful as the transformative ideas that they bring. The Techstars Foundation provides a way to Give First for Techstars alumni, partners, mentors, and everyone who believes that innovative ideas come from ALL walks of life. Please talk to us about how you can create stronger entrepreneur communities worldwide through diversity and inclusion across gender, ethnicity, socio-economic, cultural, geographic, and a host of other barriers and the myriad of obstacles that prevent some of the brightest ideas from shining.

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 or to volunteer time or products and services, email us at Giving@TechstarsFoundation.org. Thank you for giving! Techstars Foundation giving page.

Donate Today.

Techstars Foundation breaks down barriers to entrepreneurship by focusing on collaborative initiatives and grants, worldwide in scope, with the dual mandate of effectiveness and efficiency in the use of funds to help many members of a class of organization. The "WE2 Mandate" is about helping many organizations simultaneously to globally achieve our shared mission of diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship.

The Foundation has a two-part WE2 funding strategy. We fund global initiatives (left side of chart) and we also make individual grants to selected nonprofit organizations (right side of chart) that meet our "WE2" criteria.

Criteria: Take a look to see if you meet the base eligibility for a grant:

Mission aligned: Your organization's activities must further the mission of the Techstars Foundation: To bring diversity and inclusion into the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Significant impact: Can you show how your project can impact large numbers of under-represented entrepreneurs?

Unique: Is your project unique in some significant way, or does some other organization offer essentially the same thing (we tend not to fund community events or educational programs in colleges and universities)?

Scalable globally: Is your project either global in scope or at least able to be scaled in a meaningful way for maximum impact?

· Measurable goals: Can you measure the goals you have set for this project and specific metrics of impact?

Stakeholder support: Have you demonstrated that you have support from other organizations and individuals you can help you achieve success?

Nonprofit: We cannot help individuals and for-profit companies. If you are a person with a great idea to help entrepreneurs, please align yourself with a nonprofit (see our Storyboard) and come back to visit us.
Where We Fund: Organizations worldwide are encouraged to apply.

Grant range: Typical grants range from $1,000 - $50,000 USD, but if your project is sufficiently world-changing, we may be able to help you build syndicate funding for you!

What We Don't Fund:

· Startup funding for individuals or companies

· Organizations that do not have nonprofit status or lack a fiscal sponsor

· Capital campaigns/building construction

· Faith-based or religious organizations

· Political causes or any organization with a political agenda

· Grants to individuals

· We tend not to fund community events that are more appropriately funded by local corporations unless they are exceptionally unique and scalable.

· We tend not to fund educational programs in colleges and universities unless they are somehow unique and scalable beyond the university setting.


Click here to apply for grant funding.
Global Initiatives
We collaborate on specific global initiatives that impact vast numbers of entrepreneurs. These initiatives will bring help in technology and mentorship to many nonprofit organizations. To join in our efforts, email us at Initiatives@TechstarsFoundation.org.

Global Mentor Network: If your organization can benefit from mentorship, for you or those you serve, please take a look at our Global Mentor Network initiative. The GMN Initiative is about harnessing the Internet of People. It is building a worldwide Mentor-Mentee digital/human portal where Mentors control who they want to help and who they elect to "curate" the Mentees to fit their requirements. "Curators" control the Mentee access to Mentors in a transparent way, showing Mentors how Curators can be a trusted source to send Mentors only those Mentees that are appropriate. Current mentor networks are siloed, inefficient and often used as competitive magnets or closed systems to draw mentees into programs. This Initiative creates a broad-based system where worthy and under-served Mentees can be matched (and tracked) by trusted "Curators" to a wide range of experienced, "give first" Mentors. We want to broaden the visibility of entrepreneurial Mentors and Mentees to each other to foster the growth of entrepreneurism in needy segments of the economy with successful and gratifying relationships between the participants.


Microlending Technology Platform: If you are a micro-lender, microfinance organization or CDFI, we are working on a technology to help you better and more cost-effectively serve your entrepreneurs. The Foundation is working collaboratively with many organizations to find the best technology and interface to build, test, implement and maintain this "technology infrastructure" to serve the universe of those nonprofits who provide capital to the most under-served entrepreneurs in the farthest reaches of the planet.


Neighborhood Innovation Center: If you are a community leader looking to form a neighborhood innovation center, we are working on a best-practices document that can lead to grants of funding and services through completing a "Playbook" (blueprint) and garnering stakeholder support in your community. Many individuals and organizations have come to the Foundation looking for funding to start a neighborhood innovation center (impact hub) in their town, but they lack the knowledge on how to do that successfully and lack the buy-in from the local community, corporations, service providers and government that is needed to make them successful. The NIC Playbook shows how to start and run a Neighborhood Innovation Center that welcomes diversity and embodies inclusion.

Regional Programs
The foundation is in the very beginning stages of exploring regional programs to enhance access to entrepreneurship. To join in our efforts, email us at Programs@TechstarsFoundation. org.

Current regional explorations are:

Latin America: We are looking at ways we can encourage entrepreneurship in teens and young adults. We believe this is the "long game" in overcoming some of the political and social/security barriers that plague startup entrepreneurs.


Arab Countries: We are exploring how to include more women in entrepreneurship in the Middle East and northern Africa regions through coding and business learning online and through women-only business incubators. Many women face barriers to entrepreneurship due to religious and cultural norms. By introducing opportunities for women to respect and adhere to their cultures and yet still learn coding skills and business skills to become freelancers and developers, it brings them opportunities and allows them access to our entrepreneurial ecosystem.

TEAM
Lu Cordova
President, Techstars Foundation
Lu M. Córdova, is the President of the Techstars Foundation, a global nonprofit fostering diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship. Since 2005, Córdova has also been the CEO of Corlund Industries, L.L.C., a diversified holding company which specializes in operations management, strategic planning, business development and capital finance... more.
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.
David Brown
Founder & co-CEO, 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....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
CEO, NCWIT
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.
President, Techstars Foundation
Lu Córdova,
Lu M. Córdova, is the President of the Techstars Foundation, a global nonprofit fostering diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship. Since 2005, Córdova has also been the CEO of Corlund Industries, L.L.C., a diversified holding company which specializes in operations management, strategic planning, business development and capital finance. Corlund Industries also manages the Almacen Storage Group, which provides self-storage and small business warehousing in resort areas in Mexico. Córdova holds both US and Mexican citizenship, and as a five-time CEO/President, she brings thirty years of experience in navigating companies through start-up phase to maturity and international scope.

Córdova is also an advisor to the State of Wyoming, serving on their investment committee selection panel. Currently she is on the Board of Directors for the Kansas City Southern Railroad (KCS), which is the largest cross-border US-Mexican railroad, along with the Panama Canal Railroad. She is a member of Audit and Nominating/Governance committees and chairs the Finance Committee. She served with Euronet Worldwide (EEFT), an international payments company, on audit, governance, and compensation committees. Ms. Córdova recently retired from the 10th District Federal Reserve Bank where she was Chairman of the Board of Directors. She began on the bank's Economic Advisory Council in 2002 before joining the Board in 2004. Her board strengths are in technology, cybersecurity, finance, international operations and succession planning.

Córdova retired in 2005 as president of CTEK Venture Centers, which won international recognition and awards as one of the most distinguished business catalysts in the country. Sister organization CTEK Angels, which Córdova founded and chaired, became the largest group of individual investors in the Rocky Mountain States. She recently was brought back to the CTEK Board of Directors to oversee its transition grant to the Techstars Foundation.

Córdova's prior work was developing several companies, including Acteva (TixToGo), @Home Network, MMS International, The Center for Economic & Monetary Affairs (CEMA), and Accent Design. Córdova consulted with TixToGo as their Chief Development Officer before becoming CEO, renaming the company Acteva, and growing the e-commerce service for event planners at over 100% per quarter, from concept to revenue production and second-round financing before the company's sale. As part of the @Home Network original team (later Excite@Home), Córdova co-founded their @Work Division which accounted for 45% of total sales their first year. Cordova then went on to create @Home's Online Services before becoming the principle architect of their business portal, Work.com, with strategic funding she raised from Excite, Dow Jones and AT&T.

Córdova spent ten years in the financial markets where she primarily worked in joint ventures, using emerging data networking technologies to discover and develop new products and new distribution methods. She was SVP at MMS International, a start-up she helped to grow in the real-time fixed income analysis area, which was sold to McGraw-Hill. She then became Vice President of Corporate Development with McGraw-Hill's Standard & Poor's Corporation. She spearheaded Standard & Poor's drive to deliver financial market analysis on the Internet and authored one of McGraw-Hill's first studies on Worldwide Internet Security.

Previously, Ms. Córdova held the positions of Chief Executive Officer for the Institute for Economic & Monetary Affairs and Executive Editor of the Journal of Economic & Monetary Affairs, now called Geonomics. She has also worked at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors office while attending the University of California, Berkeley, conducting empirical research on foreign exchange rate expectations, and for the California State Attorney General.

Córdova was appointed and served for three terms on the Business Research Advisory Council of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. She has been a judge for Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year, the Boulder County Business Report's IQ Awards, and for the Colorado Software and Internet Association's Apex Awards. Córdova has served on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Business Economists (NABE) where she chaired their Roundtable Committee, co-founded both Corporate Planning and Technology Roundtables, and was a member of their Economics Education Committee. Córdova also served on the Board of the Silicon Valley Roundtable where she was awarded "Silicon Valley Guru" status. She founded GenXangels in California and CTEK Angels in Colorado.

Córdova attended the University of California at Berkeley and received BS degrees in Political Science and Economics. While at Berkeley, she was advanced to doctoral candidacy in the Ph.D. program in economics (all but dissertation), was awarded Rockefeller and AEA scholarships, became President of Students for the Arts, was elected as a lifetime Fellow of the Order of the Golden Bear, and served as Chairman of the Graduate Economics Association, which she re-engineered into a profit center.

Córdova has led several workshops and is a frequent speaker on business management, marketing communications, emerging technology, private equity investing, and entrepreneurial ventures. She has been an expert witness on matters of business development, entrepreneurship and capital finance.
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.
CEO, NCWIT
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 DavidGCohen.com.

Founder & co-CEO, Techstars
David Brown
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, overseeing global operations.

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.

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 www.nearlynicole.com.
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.

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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.

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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
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.

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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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