Techstars’s new CEO on the state of the famed accelerator and what’s next for 2020

Like another famous accelerator program founded around the same time, Techstars has grown considerably since its 2006 launch in Boulder, Colorado.

In fact, the brand seems to be in so many places that it’s hard to keep track of its reach, along with its impact. Where is Techstars, exactly? Who funds it? And how many startups have passed through its program?

We caught up yesterday with co-founder and CEO David Brown, who shared CEO duties with co-founder David Cohen until recently, and he got us up to speed while getting his family out of town for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

First, some stats: Techstars accelerators are now in 49 cities around the world, including across the U.S., as well as in Europe, Australia, Singapore and South Korea, among other countries. Each accepts 10 companies each year that pass through a three-month-long program that ends in a so-called demo day. This is typically at a physical hub, though, like YC, Techstars began to experiment with virtual batches a couple of years ago. Two weeks ago, for example, it launched a program in partnership with the U.S. Air Force, the Netherlands Ministry of Defence, the Norwegian Ministry of Defence and the Norwegian Space Agency called the Techstars Allied Space Accelerator.  Beyond its focus on startups that operate, the programming is almost entirely remote.

Altogether, 2,000 companies have now gone through the Techstars program. Some of its better-known alums include email service provider Sendgrid, which went public before being acquired last year by Twilio; and the pharmacy company Pillpack, which sold last year to Amazon. Other high-fliers that have yet to exit include drone delivery company Zipline, cloud infrastructure startup DigitalOcean, and password manager LastPass.