The six-month selection process gave Payne the opportunity to meet 1,200+ founders in person, over the phone and during virtual meetings. Those chosen will go through Techstars Atlanta’s 13-week program, which puts founders through 90 days of rapid acceleration, and has been instrumental in the success of numerous startups below the Mason-Dixon line.
“When I took over Techstars Atlanta as Managing Director in 2019, I decided to focus my recruiting efforts on the South. It’s a very underserved region of the U.S. from a startup perspective, and it’s a region that I understand well, being born and having experienced my own startup success here. So, like last year, I visited about 10 of the largest startup cities in the Southeast and met with more than 1,000 founders.”
But Payne says focusing on the Southeast didn’t stop Techstars Atlanta from bringing on four startups headquartered outside of the region.
“The Techstars network is very strong, and we are constantly being introduced to founders all over the country and world. I might begin each year with a focus on one region, but ultimately, I select the best founders I meet, regardless of where they are located.”
Payne says realizing that great founders can come from anywhere was just one new approach he took to selecting the 2020 class. He also reconsidered the balance of B2B and B2C companies, looking at Techstars Atlanta’s mentor pool and support community.
“Atlanta is more of a B2B than a B2C town, so I do my best to balance the class,” he says. “In last year’s class, for example, there were only three startups that sold directly to consumers. This year’s class is the exact opposite of last year’s class — seven of the startups sell directly to consumers. As with geography, I might begin each year with one direction, but ultimately it comes down to the founders.”
And perhaps most important, Payne wanted this year’s class to be high-quality. With COVID-19 and the economic challenges faced by businesses small and large, durability and viability are more important than ever.
Payne acknowledges that things have changed quite a bit since the early April application deadline, and says he wanted to make sure Techstars Atlanta’s resources were being applied to the most qualified startups possible. “The Techstars network is a powerful ally to have for your startup,” he says, “and this seemed to resonate with founders as the world became unsteady earlier this year.”
The 10 startups will present to investors on Demo Day, held October 19. Stay tuned for updates as we follow their progress.
Here are the 10 startups that earned a 2020 class slot:
This “new model for home ownership and real estate investment” lets users purchase shares of rental homes and earn passive income in multiple cities.
Empowering the DIY and DIFM (that’s “Do-It-For-Me”) community of automobile enthusiasts, AutoDo-It is billed as a market-network platform offering how-to videos, tips, guides, blogs and other resources for anyone wanting to fix or upgrade their own cars.
Built “by developers for developers,” this software framework lets you build an application in the cloud with DevOps and built-in functionality — in under five minutes.
This freelancer marketplace intends to help companies find, screen and hire “the world’s best freelance marketers” (with experience from companies ranging from Airbnb to Coca-Cola, Google and others), in under a week.
Please Assist Me
This home management app handles house cleaning, shopping for groceries, dry cleaning, and plenty of other errands and tasks on your to-do list while you handle everything else.
Every great wedding and other events require flowers. Poppy promises to help you buy them in a more transparent way through a network of floral designers working from their homes.
Offering to help you simplifying and automate on-boarding, product recommendations, and customer support, Swivl’s AI training presents itself as “a smart alternative to email, phone, live chat, and other chatbots.”
This App Saves Lives
Using the acronym “TASL,” this free mobile app rewards drivers who choose to remain undistracted by their telephones and mobile devices while driving.
There is, and should always be, money in helping kids gain financial literacy and manage their own debit cards. Treasure is an app specifically for that.
Congratulations to the chosen startups and founders! Good luck!