TechStars takes advantage of their existing digital real estate to host live experiences
At Techstars, the mission has always been to help grow entrepreneurs’ ideas into world-changing businesses. Techstars partnered with sequel to power a number of live, virtual experiences – Investor Showcase and several Demo Days, among others.
Use Case: Investor Showcase & Demo Day
Modules Used: Virtual & Hybrid Stage, Networking Hub
Techstars, the leading platform for entrepreneurial mentorship and innovation, hosts 50+ accelerator programs every year – with a portfolio of over 2,500 companies worth upwards of $207B. Accelerator programs typically run over the course of three months, packed with mentor-driven programming designed to drive businesses forward. Traditionally, the final weeks of the accelerator program focuses on preparing the startups for fundraising — culminating in Demo Day, where founders will present the progress they’ve made in the program and pitch their company to potential investors.
As COVID forced accelerators to evolve into a fully-virtual experience, so have Demo Days and other end-of-program celebrations. sequel is proud to partner with Techstars and their corporate partners, such as Comcast NBCUniversal and Barclays, to help bring these events to life and reinvent the magic of an in-person celebration and networking in a virtual environment.
It all started back in the summer of 2020 when KJ Singh, Managing Director of the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFTLabs accelerator, began to build out the plan of action for producing a meaningful virtual experience for their Philadelphia-based accelerator. The discussion centered around creating an opportunity for the founders to get exposure to potential investors.
Singh partnered with four other Techstars accelerators to put together the first ever Investor Showcase, an opportunity for 70+ companies to give a 90-second pitch to the industry’s leading investors. He and the team brought in 500 Designs, a San-Francisco-based design firm, to create a virtual experience on-brand with Techstars’ existing online presence.
With over 300 attendees, the event was a true success! The organizers opted for a fully pre-recorded main program in order to best coordinate 70+ founders – all supported by the sequel's Virtual Stage.
"We hosted a major event with hundreds of attendees to showcase over 70 of our startups to investors. The Virtual Stages and Networking Hub modules worked flawlessly, and I’m still getting emails from investors raving about how engaging the experience was!"
—KJ Singh, Managing Director, Comcast NBCUniversal LIFTLabs Accelerator, powered by Techstars
With Investor Showcase a clear success, the team shifted focus to reimagining Demo Day in a fully virtual environment.
The Techstars program team worked closely with their peers at Comcast LIFTLabs to create a virtual presentation that would go on to create the same hype from Demo Days of years past. Sequel's technology stepped in to enable all of it to happen on Comcast’s branded event page and demoday.techstars.com – all without the need to send the audience to external platforms like Zoom.
“Sequel allowed us to engage investors, mentors, alumni, stakeholders and founders in an organic, live engagement session. It has allowed our 2,500+ audience to engage in conversations in real time and navigate social interactions with their own autonomy."
—Mariah Schmidt, Program Manager, Comcast NBCUniversal LIFTLabs Accelerator, powered by Techstars
Much of the appeal to in-person Demo Day gatherings is the opportunity to network with investors, mentors, fellow founders, and other tech enthusiasts – an experience clearly compromised by the pandemic. The organizers, however, took full advantage of sequel's Networking Hub to keep the conversations going in virtual networking rooms after the main session.
Over 2,500 mentors, supporters, investors and the like attended the fully virtual gathering, with the large majority sticking around to network after the main stage presentation. Founders met the investors that would go on to lead their rounds, seasoned mentors shared their learnings, and even enthusiasts learned about emerging tech – something for everyone!
Starting with Demo Day in December 0f 2020, Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs has been using sequel's technology to power its virtual events.