Application Tips: Top 20 / Final Interview

Let’s start with the hard bit: Unfortunately, due to the large volume of applications, not all companies will get an interview. If you progressed to the Top-40 stage, you will likely have between one and seven interviews with people within the Techstars network, depending on the scale of the problem/market you’re tackling, the scope of your product/idea, and the size of your company. 

In normal times (pre-Covid), we would have put together a screening committee with 10 people, invited them all in to our office, and then hosted 20-minute interviews with the Top 20 startups coming out of our Top 40. This year, we’re doing things a little differently. I’m capturing feedback from all the mentors and evaluators at the Top 40 stage of interviews, and then I’ll invite my top 15 startups to a call with me, where we’ll run through a a few issues. I’ll email you in advance and give you notice on what exactly I’d like to talk about. As always, any meeting with me is also a space for you to ask me questions.

Our Techstars team knows that you’ve put a lot of effort into your application and interviews (or if we thought you hadn’t, you’ll have received an email from us requesting additional information) to stand out. So, thank you for your hard work. 

We’ve pledged to be as open and transparent around the selection process and where you stand, and we’re looking forward to working closely with you. 

It’s worth bearing in mind, as David Cohen often says, “Some of you are here despite your idea.” I’m looking for strong entrepreneurs that can overcome the obstacles necessary to build a great business. In the interviews, we’ll want to get to know you and understand why you think your team has the unfair advantage over all the other companies out there. The Techstars Berlin Accelerator wants to see what you’ve accomplished in the past, how long the team has been together, and how well you work together. 

We’d also rather you highlight your strengths, whilst also being upfront about your weaknesses. We don’t expect you to know everything — we’re pretty good at detecting BS. Marcio Souza has written a fantastic article that details his top three lessons from the Techstars application process. 

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