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US accelerator TechStars expands to Europe Written by Nina Fowler on 20. February 2013

TechStars London

TechStars London

Leading startup accelerator TechStars is taking its first step outside the US – to London, thanks to a merger with established local programme Springboard.

TechStars London will run in a similar way to its US parent. It will support up to 20 startups per year – from the UK and beyond – through at least one three-month acceleration programme, including mentorship and funding of up to €85,000 (€15,000 of seed funding and an optional €70,000 convertible debt note). The first application round (for one of ten spots in the first programme) will open in March.

Springboard co-founder Jon Bradford will manage the new programme. Springboard itself, founded in 2009, three years after TechStars, will cease operations once its current programmes finish.

In a blog post today, TechStars founder David Cohen explained the path from meeting Bradford three years ago to today’s expansion:
“In September of last year when I visited Jon in London again, it was very clear to me that something had changed there,” he wrote. “It just felt different. Better. Google Campus was teeming with startups that were thinking big. The Tech City branding had attracted more talented and provided visibility to what was happening in London. Big companies were starting to help the little companies…”
European companies who’ve already taken part in the TechStars programme in the US include Memrise (London), GrabCAD (Estonia) and DocTrackr (Paris).

Strong boost for London – and Europe

Today’s news is a clear boost for London’s position as a leading startup hub in Europe. Cohen told TechCrunch that TechStars considered a few other spots before settling on the city – and it sounds like strong (though not financial) support from UK government-funded organisation Tech City played a part in the decision.
Meanwhile, European micro-seed and mentorship programme Seedcamp is planning a boosted programme in both London and Berlin this year.
Image credit: TechStars’ David Cohen and Mark Solon, via TechStars


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