The startup incubator Techstars has expanded with its purchase of UP Global. The company has already constructed an impressive network of programs across Europe and the U.S., focussing mainly on health and education initiatives.
UP Global is a non-profit group that organises events such as Startup Week, Startup Weekend, Startup Next, and Startup Digest, all of which are predominantly aimed at entrepreneurs. As a result of the deal, UP Global will now cease to be non-profit, although Techstars are keen to point out that UP Global’s events will not change. UP Global’s staff will also transfer across to Techstars, meaning the identity of UP Global will disappear. As part of the deal, UP Global’s CEO will become Techstars’ VP of community.
This isn’t Techstars first acquisition; deals have been reached to purchase Springboard in London and Excelerate Labs in Chicago. These deals were aimed at expanding its main accelerator program and were underpinned by the acquisition of NameLayer, which offers a marketplace for domain names.
The terms of the deal have not been announced, but the commercial sense is clear. One of Techstars’ partners, David Cohen, explained that being involved with entrepreneurs and early-stage programs would help Techstars get to know startups and place them into their own programs. This would negate any desire for those startups to seek funding to develop in-house accelerator programs or apply to other accelerators. It also coincides with what Techstars aims to do as an organisation, he added, saying, “We want to help entrepreneurs through the whole journey, from idea to IPO.”
There is a neat synergy between the two companies, which made the purchase a simple one. Cohen identified the closeness the companies shared prior to the deal and said that it all just made sense. Cohen said, “It was like we were separated at birth.”
Five months ago, the companies were discussing closer links and everything came together. “We’ve known them a long time and knew we should do something more together, and suddenly it made sense just to combine,” he said.