It’s The People

Since I joined TechStars a few months ago, the question I’ve been asked the most by my colleagues in the venture community is probably “who’s the next Managing Director of TechStars New York?” Despite the fact that we have equally fantastic programs in Seattle, Boulder, Boston, Chicago, San Antonio (Cloud) and also power accelerators for both Microsoft (Windows Azure & Kinect) and Nike, the spotlight always seems to shine the brightest on New York. Having grown up in New York, I get that. It’s the city that never sleeps and if you can make it there, you’ll make it – anywhere.

techstars logo

Yesterday, we were really excited to announce Eugene Chung as the new Managing Director of TechStars New York. I got to spend some time with Eugene during our interview process and was immediately struck by his thoughfulness. We interviewed over 30 candidates for the position, many with more “brand name” than Eugene. However, no one left their mark on me more than Eugene did. Unlike so many folks that function in a “ready, fire, aim” mentality, Eugene never rushed to answer a question and didn’t throw something against the wall if he didn’t have a good answer.

Personally, I was more impressed with Eugene’s work as a filmmaker than his work at NEA. There’s hundreds of super bright young men and women who graduate from top business schools and go work at big venture capital funds, there’s few people like Eugene who hone their artistic sides as well and take a stab at creating a film dedicated to something as personally important to him as Divided Families.

When we look at startups that apply to our programs, we put a heavy emphasis on team. In fact, we like to say that we look for five things in an application:

  1. Team
  2. Team
  3. Team
  4. Market
  5. Idea

I joined TechStars because like me, David Cohen believes that more than anything, it’s about the people – and he’s built an organization that is founded upon that deeply held belief.   Yesterday, we proved that again. Welcome to TechStars Eugene, you’re a perfect fit. 

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About Mark Solon

To Write Is To Think...
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6 Responses to It’s The People

  1. JonnyBird says:

    Mark,

    After our first meeting during TS Boulder and learning your back story, it became clear finding and attracting authentic, thoughtful people is a huge gift of yours. It was comforting knowing — even after 20 minutes of meeting you — that the people you surround yourself with and the teams you invest in are, first-and-foremost, quality human beings.

    Great post.

    Best,
    Jon

  2. Josh McIver says:

    Mark,

    Your devotion to the start-up community and willingness to work with entrepreneurs is really inspiring to me. I follow very few blogs, but your posts always seem to give me a positive perspective on fostering the development of ideas and people.

    Best regards,

    Josh McIver

  3. Eugene’s film experience and in particular how he articulated it in his blog post as an “early, intense lesson on how a small group of passionate individuals can work to create something valuable out of nothing” really resonated with me as well. Serving as co-producer of my first independent film (http://changingfaceofharlem.com) was one of the most informative experiences of my life. The saying “necessity is the mother of invention” is especially true in the cash strapped, limited resource, labor of love world of independent film making. One of the lessons that I took away and practice everyday, particularly in my current endeavor (http://thedropapp.com/), is that some journeys are both a sprint and a marathon, it’s best to condition yourself for both. I really appreciated your insight Mark and share in your admiration of Eugene’s duality.

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