Frequently Asked Questions
Techstars Startup Weekend Vision
What do you mean when you say that the new model for Techstars Startup Weekend will be self-serve?
The model will give you greater ownership in managing the execution of your event, with less need to rely on Techstars staff.

  • You will have full control over your own event finances, which means that any profit you make from events is yours to keep.

  • Techstars will not be supporting any event finances and there will be no accounting support, so we will not be asking you to report your expenses.

  • You will be able to set up your own events and customize the event website that we provide, rather than relying on our team to do everything for you.
Why is Techstars making these changes and focusing on Techstars Startup Weekend now?
You've been waiting patiently for some improvements! We've heard your feedback and incorporated it into our planning process so that we now have an opportunity to make changes that will provide an enhanced experience for CLs.
  • The improvements and flexibility of the new system will require less hands-on support from Techstars staff. This will give our team more time to better engage with our CLs and their communities.
How do I access support from Techstars during this Techstars Community transition?
As always, we'll be available to support you via help@techstars.com.

  • Your Regional Manager and Customer Success Coordinator (CsC) will also be able to assist you with any questions.
Closing SWOOP
Why are you requiring us to stop using SWOOP?
We've been using SWOOP for seven years but there are other tools available that meet our collective needs today. We want to provide a better tool for you to manage your events.
When will SWOOP go away?
CL access to SWOOP ends June 22.
What will replace SWOOP?
A tool that will support both your community site and ticketing system in one platform. The new platform will be built with your feedback in mind; it's user-friendly, simple to use, and customizable.
Will I be able to access my previous Techstars Startup Weekend event data?
Yes. The data will be provided in .CSV file format via email on June 25, to each CL who has organized events in the past. It will include the information on the "People" tab of your account: organizers, event staff, mentors, speakers, judges. If you did not get an email with this information, please contact help@techstars.com.
Will access to SWOOP end before you have another tool available for me?
Yes. Now that SWOOP has gone away, we have launched an interim process so you can still run events.

New Events Platform
What is the new event platform that Techstars is switching to for Techstars Startup Weekend?
We are moving to an event management platform designed specifically for Techstars Startup Weekend and Techstars Startup Week. We are excited about the additional features this approach will give all of us.

  • We are in the final stages of contracting with the new platform and will share more information with you in August.
When is the new event platform for Techstars Startup Weekend rolling out?
Toward the end of this year (2020). But, as noted above, we have an interim process so you can still run events (both online and offline).
Are you going to be testing the new event platform in communities?
Yes, we will have several stages of testing this summer to make the transition as smooth as possible. We are in the process of planning the testing program.

  • We will be working with a group of CLs from all around the world to help us with alpha testing the new platform.

  • To start, we are working with a group of 12 CLs to help us make sure the program works effectively.
How are you going to train me on the new tools?
We will host AMA training sessions, provide training guides and share screen recordings. We will also have our help desk available to field questions.
Interim Process for Running Techstars Startup Weekend Events
Can I still run events before the new event platform is available?
Yes! You can still run events and our interim playbooks will help you do so:

  • Techstars Startup Weekend Online playbook
  • Techstars Startup Week Online playbook
Will I still be able to run offline (in-person) events between the time SWOOP is shut down and the new event platform is available to me?
Yes, our interim playbook will help CLs hold offline - or online - events in the interim period where neither SWOOP nor the new event platform are available to you.

  • However, the ability to hold in-person events will depend on local circumstances related to Covid-19, among other factors. (We strongly encourage CLs to follow their community's guidelines on in-person events and access to public spaces, with regard to the safety and protection of people related to Covid-19 or any other local factors.)

  • It's also important to note that since Techstars will no longer control finances when SWOOP is closed, in-person events will depend on the team's ability to manage the finances for their event.
When can I run my next event?
You'll be able to run events again starting in mid-July (week of July 13).

  • All CLs will need to re-apply (after June 22) to run events, now that the interim process has been launched (post SWOOP). This applies even if you already have events in the system. You must re-apply for your existing event in order to become officially part of our interim process.

  • Please contact your Regional Manager if re-application applies to you so we can support you through the process.
What do I do if I have an event coming up and it is scheduled and listed in SWOOP?
We have reached out to all CLs with events in the system regarding next steps, so you should have heard from us, but, please contact help@techstars.com if you have any questions.

  • All events will need to move onto the interim system, since SWOOP is going away.

  • Please know that we are trying to make this transition as seamless as possible.
How do I apply for an event using the new interim system?
We have now shut down the current application form and you should have received an email from us about how you can apply to run a Techstars Startup Weekend or Techstars Startup Week.

  • It will be a very similar process, but the application form will be a little different and you will find it on our website.
What will the interim process look like?
While the new platform is custom-built for Techstars and tested, we will still use the same ticketing platform your region already uses (Eventbrite, Sympla, Google form, etc.).
  • Instead of SWOOP, Techstars will use Asana as our project management tool and we'll be able to track your event planning progress.
  • For Techstars Startup Week, we'll continue to use Sched, in order to provide you with scheduling tools.
  • You will still be supported fully by the Customer Success Coordinators (CsC) and Regional Managers and will receive the regular emails and resources you are accustomed to receiving.
  • Also, if you are holding an event during the interim process, your CsCs will work with you to create an event site (hosted on Tilda). If you are note sure who your CsC is, contact help@techstars.com.
Are we still going to use Eventbrite?
Yes, for the interim period we will continue using Eventbrite, but we will stop using Eventbrite when we move to the new events management platform.

  • The new platform will support both your community website and ticketing needs - so there will not be a need for a separate ticketing site like Eventbrite.
Can I add my own payment details to Eventbrite, so I can manage the team's event finances?
Yes! Techstars will have different templates with correct branding and event description.Your CsC will help you finalize your page with your payment information before we make it live.

  • If you are running a paid event, you will be able to add your own preferred payment methods to the Eventbrite page.
  • Please be aware that refunds will need to be managed by the organizers directly with attendees, rather than through Techstars.
  • Techstars does not own the Eventbrite platform, and therefore, we do not have full control of the platform or the ability to address most technical needs. We will try and help you with any issues, but we are very limited in the help we can provide and you may have to work directly with Eventbrite, without the involvement or obligation of Techstars.
  • Please note that you alone are responsible for your use of Eventbrite and resolving any issues that arise yourself and directly with Eventbrite if Techstars cannot help. We recommend that any CL managing finances familiarize themselves with the Eventbrite payment processes here.
Running Online Events
When can I expect to receive information about running my online event?
You should now have received information from us about applying for, and running an online event. If you have not received anything from us, please reach out to help@techstars.com.
Will Techstars Startup Weekend online be a permanent option?
Covid-19 still makes the future uncertain and unpredictable. So, we don't know whether Techstars Startup Weekend will go back to only in-person or continue to include online events in the future. We will be looking at what makes the most sense for our communities, our CLs and the business.
  • Until we are more certain about the future outlook, we will support the online event model for as long as it makes sense and is requested by the community.
Finances
Will Techstars support finances in the new Techstars Community model?
Techstars will no longer provide accounting support for Techstars Startup Weekend events and all organizing teams will be asked to manage their event finances locally.
Why will Techstars not be supporting finances moving forward?
As part of re-imagining the Techstars Community model, for Techstars Startup Weekend, we believe a self-serve model will help us better meet CLs' needs. We want to give you greater ownership of your event.
  • Having less reliance on Techstars staff will allow you to manage all your finances in your own way, at your own pace.
  • We want to give CLs the freedom to decide what to do with their profits, for example, reinvesting into their community.
  • Since Techstars will not be supporting event finances there will be no accounting support, so we will not be asking you to report your expenses (freeing you from that administrative task!).
What will happen to teams who use Community Chest?
We are discontinuing the Community Chest model since Techstars will no longer be providing accounting support for Techstars Startup Weekend events, and organizing teams will manage their event finances locally.

  • Under the new model, event organizers will keep all of the event profits.

  • Since Community Chest will not exist under the new model, CLs will no longer have the option to transfer the remaining Community Chest balance to a new Techstars Startup Weekend event.

  • Events with outstanding Community Chest balances were required to apply for a Community Chest payout before June 22, 2020. (CLs who have balances have received an email with further detail). If you have not received any information from us, please contact help@techstars.com.

  • The options for using the remaining Community Chest payout are to put on, or support a local event of your choosing. Whether it is related to Techstars Startup Weekend or not, you are welcome to sponsor an event to support your local entrepreneurial community.

Please reach out to Techstars finance team at help-finances@techstars.com to learn more about your options.
Will Techstars provide any support for CLs related to best practices for managing the finances for their own event?
  • Legally, Techstars cannot provide financial or legal advice to CLs or community teams but we will provide general guidelines for managing event finances.

  • We will also be providing resources and best practices for raising and managing sponsorship, as well as event budgets.
The financial transparency and non-profit guarantee previously provided by Techstars was a huge support in attracting sponsors. Will CLs still have this guarantee?
No, the financial transparency and non-profit guarantee from Techstars is not part of the new model because we are not in charge of finances and are moving to a self-serve model. CLs will be responsible for transparency of finances and how they are used, whether for profit or non-profit.

  • The non-profit guarantee provided by Techstars changed in 2015, when we acquired UP Global.

  • Under the new self-serve model, organizers are in control of their event finances, which is an exciting change. Each event has a different goal and mission based on your local community and each team has a different strategy when it comes to approaching sponsors. If you think that local sponsors would be more interested in supporting a non-profit, your team can now partner with a local non-profit to manage your expenses.

  • In terms of attracting sponsors, it's also important to note that Techstars is going through a global company rebrand this year, which will increase the value and reach of the Techstars brand in all markets, and better represent who we are today in all aspects of our business, network and communities. This is also a compelling element for potential sponsors.

  • We are also working on creating better resources to help support CLs in their endeavour to attract sponsors for their events.
What happens with event profits? Can we keep them, and if so, how do we explain that to sponsors?
The new model does offer the potential to keep profits but it is not required to take profit, and taking profit may change the dynamic of your event and relationships with sponsors and the community. It will be up to you to responsibly and thoughtfully manage the communication and engagement if you decide to keep profits, and to use the profits in a manner that aligns with Techstars values.

  • If you do decide to keep profits, you can use the profits to develop your local community, host other community events, invest the profit in your next Techstars Startup Weekend event or sponsor community led initiatives.

  • Whatever the case, you must ensure that you are transparent about your finances with your sponsors.
If CLs can keep profit on their events, isn't this a risk for the culture we've built globally?
It is a risk, but one we feel we can manage, and one that we think is worth pursuing given the benefits that can come with the flexibility for CLs to decide how best to reinvest the profits for their entrepreneurial communities.

  • As we transition to this new Techstars Community model, we are putting controls in place to ensure that each organizing team fully embraces and embodies the Techstars values.

  • Not only do we have a vetting process at the application level, we also will closely monitor each organiser's journey.

  • We strongly stand by our values and the trust the global community puts in us and we will - and have - require bad actors to leave our community. By bringing together the right people who share our cause, we believe that any profit made at an event will be returned to the community and, under this model, in the way that best supports the community under these values. We also believe that the community will help us identify anyone behaving in a way that undermines these values.

(Please note that Techstars has a zero tolerance policy toward discrimination and abuse toward any member of our community. If you are ever in a vulnerable situation, please reach out to saysomething@techstars.com).
Will the new Techstars Startup Weekend platform have ticketing functionality too? If so, will countries be forced to use it and pay in Dollars?
Yes, the new platform will support ticketing as well as community sites. Because we are customizing the platform to Techstars' needs, it will be used by all countries and tickets will be charged in local currency for each country.
I saw that the financial part will change. How will it work?
The new Techstars Community model will give you greater ownership in managing the execution of your event, with less need to rely on Techstars staff. You will have full control over your own event finances, which means that any profit you make from events is yours to keep.
  • The new model offers the potential to keep profits but it is not required to take profit and taking profit may change the dynamic of your event and relationships with sponsors and the community. It will be up to you to responsibly and thoughtfully manage the communication and engagement if you decide to keep profits, and to use the profits in a manner that aligns with Techstars values.
  • Techstars will not be supporting any event finances and there will be no accounting support, so we will not be asking you to report your expenses.
  • You will be able to set up your own events and tailor the event website that we provide, rather than relying on our team to do everything for you.
  • Techstars won't be supporting finances for events once we stop using SWOOP on June 22.
In order to manage our finances, do we need to register as a company and file our own taxes for the event regionally?
Techstars suggests that you follow the requirements of your own country, as rules vary in each country.
  • There are two standard options of how to manage your own finances:
  1. Register your own company, file taxes, and manage the whole finance process; or
  2. Alternatively, partner with an existing local entity, who can help you manage the financial process as in #1 above, or will manage that part of the event themselves as part of the partnership agreement. Regardless of who you partner with, if you pursue this option, the partner must also abide by Techstars values.
  • Techstars is not able to provide finance or legal advice to teams, but we will provide general guidelines into managing finances. These will be forthcoming soon.
Will there be a time when we have to pay for the event platform Techstars provides?
As mentioned, the new event platform will support your community website and ticketing. There will be a ticketing fee, similar to how Eventbrite and most other ticketing platforms operate. That fee will go entirely to the event platform service provider and never to Techstars.
Will the rule "organizers cannot be from the same organization" finally be eliminated?
No, the rule will not be eliminated. But, we have made exceptions and been flexible about this rule and we will continue to consider any exceptions on a case-by-case basis. We recognize it is inconvenient to some but we have this rule for a very important reason - to ensure that the intention of the organizing team is to do something for their community, in line with Techstars values.

  • Having said that, much in line with Techstars' own approach to accelerators and ecosystem development, we believe that there is strength in having organizing teams from varied backgrounds. Having different people from different industries and skill sets, has proven to foster innovation and creativity, which we believe is what it takes to make a strong community.
Branding
You mention a Techstars global rebrand. What are your plans for refreshing Techstars branding for Techstars Startup Weekend, Techstars Startup Week, and Techstars Startup Digest?
Techstars launched a new brand identity in March and we are rolling it out in phases throughout our company, network and global community. Soon, we will introduce to you a new brand system to unify and elevate the collective identity of our programs. It's been very well received so far and we think it will be helpful for attracting volunteers, attendees and sponsors to your events!

  • We will streamline brand guidelines and provide an enhanced library of assets on the new event platform. Materials will launch alongside new Techstars Community resources (later in 2020).
Is Techstars launching a new website for Techstars Startup Weekend and Techstars Startup Week?
Techstars will introduce new Techstars Community websites later this year (2020). We are very excited to share this with you when it is ready!
Will there be greater flexibility on branding and co-branding guidelines with the new format?
No, there will not be greater flexibility with our branding because it's important to maintain consistency and clarity of branding to build the trust and excitement that attracts sponsors, volunteers and future CLs. They want to know us in a similar way around the world and we want them to know us that way, too.

  • However, we will provide CLs with more assets, resources and materials to support you with your event promotion and branding.

  • We firmly believe that consistent branding is important to unite our global community.
New Techstars Community Resources
What are the new resources?
Improved and streamlined resources to help you run your events more efficiently. New resources will cover topics such as sponsorship, promoting your event, budgeting, the role and responsibilities of the Facilitator, and much more.

  • These resources will live in one place, inside a newly designed Techstars Community resource portal with a better user experience.
When are you launching the new resources?
Q4 2020.

Are you planning to incentivize and recognize top CLs?
Yes! We will be rolling out a program to highlight and provide more value to top CLs. We will have more details on this program in late Q3.
How do I access support from Techstars during this Techstars Community transition?
As always, we'll be available to support you via help@techstars.com.

  • Your Regional Manager and Customer Success Coordinator (CsC) will also be able to assist you with any questions.
License Model
What do you mean when you say you're bringing in a 'new license model' for CLs?'
We will put in place a binding license agreement for organizers. We will not charge organizers any license fee under this agreement. The goal for this license is to give clear guidelines to Community Leaders and to ensure quality of all the events for all the attendees.

  • A licensing agreement is a legal contract between two parties, but it will be more in depth than our previous Terms and Conditions and focused on our relationship with Community Leaders.
Would license agreements with Techstars be by city or country?
Honestly, we don't know yet. This is something we are working on - researching and consulting experts to make the best arrangement possible for everyone.

  • We are having conversations with different CLs to make sure that what we decide is clear, helpful and mutually agreeable when we are ready to roll it out.
As CLs and facilitators, how can we report bad actors and negative behavior in our communities?
We all share the same values and vision, and we want you to feel safe and comfortable reporting any bad action to us; we also want it to be easy for you. During this interim time frame, please contact help@techstars.com if you have any questions or concerns around bad actors.

  • As part of the transition plan for the new Techstars Community model, we are thoughtfully considering the best way to identify bad actors in our new operation model.
Other Questions
How will the Regional Managers' work be impacted with this change? How are they going to be empowered by Techstars to interact and support local communities and CLs?
Our goal with all of these changes is to allow us to free up our Regional Managers' time in order to better engage with organizers, facilitators and digest curators. We want them to have more time to focus on the important aspects of each community and CL, and truly partner on providing the best community support possible. In order to do this, our new system must be easier and more efficient, which is what we are working toward and have explained above.

  • With this new process, we are trying to make everything as smooth as possible for you, the users. We want to make sure that as you work with us, we make your journey enjoyable, motivating and powerful.

  • We want to better provide value to you throughout the year, not just when you are running events with us, which is why we are transitioning to a self-serve model - to reduce administrative time and increase the time we spend on relationships and higher-value support.
Will Techstars still control who can organize events?
Yes. We will continue to vet all organizers who apply to run any of our programs and stay in close touch with all current CLs and events that are planned or in discussion. It is critical to all of us, globally, to ensure we have the right people helping each community in ways that align with the entrepreneurial spirit and Techstars values.
    How do you define success for Techstars Startup Weekend at a global level?
    Number of events was an important factor in the past, mainly because of some of our sponsor agreements. That's not the case anymore. While we do want to continue supporting as many communities as possible and reach more people, we want to prioritize and ensure quality experiences and make sure we engage with the right CLs in each community.