Author: Matt Ferrari
Co-Founder and Former CTO
Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to mentor up-and-coming business leaders and technologists, both inside and outside of my organization. Because I truly enjoy working with rising talent, I recently joined Techstars as a mentor in Austin, Texas. Techstars, an organization that has created a worldwide network focused on entrepreneurial success, has been investing in companies since 2006. Techstars operates four divisions: Startup Programs, Mentorship-Driven Accelerator Programs, Corporate Innovation Partnerships, and the Venture Capital Fund. Some of the household names that Techstars has invested with include Sendgrid, Digital Ocean, Localytics, Cloudability, Pivotdesk, and ClassPass.
I first ran into Techstars while living in Denver as the CTO of HOSTING.COM. As Techstars was founded in Colorado, I would attend various technology events in the Boulder area, where I could both learn from other key technology leaders as well as share my own best practices, such as Agile development, Pragmatic Product Management, or Customer Journey mapping. I was attracted to the concept of show-and-tell demos, which remains a core component of Techstars today. It’s often quite difficult to find software development talent that understands the market problem that they are trying to solve, but Techstars’ focus on mentoring future leaders of startups to think upon the “why” and not just the “what” as it relates to their product, problem, and addressable market, is truly making a difference.
The reason I joined Techstars as a Mentor was based on two key considerations. First, I’ve always enjoyed working with and around talent. The best stories of my career do not focus on product launches, technology features, or business growth. Instead, they are around finding and growing talent into future leaders, whether they be leaders of people, businesses, or technology decisions. The ability to work with individuals and teams that you are able to teach and grow into their own fast-running engine is a joy. And, the truth is any good mentor gives first, and receives second. Historically, many of my mentorships have given me ideas on how to change my own approach, whether it be a different way to think, learn, or execute.
The second key reason I become a mentor at Techstars was all about their published code of conduct:
- We give first.
- We act with integrity.
- We treat others with respect.
We all know that healthcare needs help. After all, my mission at ClearDATA is to make healthcare better every day. In order to do that, we need to learn from each other. Whether it be through advancement in artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics, or internet of things (IoT), there are amazing ideas from startups that will help us transform healthcare.
In Austin, the startup community is exploding. Techstars has been active in the Austin area for a few years now, and have a new office opening this year. The 2018 investment class is being narrowed down now, and I’ve heard about some exciting ideas in interesting industries, including but not limited to, biotech and robotics. The future of cloud and healthcare won’t be around traditional IT concepts of managing infrastructure, provisioning, and capacity. Instead, it will be around how IT can help make impactful decisions, through technology, that drive better healthcare outcomes.
While Techstars is not specifically healthcare focused, many of these ideas will deeply apply to healthcare use cases and help solve problems that have not had solutions available in the past. In addition, there are many healthcare specific startups that have worked through the accelerator program, which can be viewed by visiting https://www.techstars.com/companies/ . I could not be more excited to contribute my career experience to the Techstars eco-system, and in turn, expand my knowledge by learning from some amazing startup entrepreneurs.