Tag: Nicole Glaros

TechStar’s Nicole Glaros helps startups succeed

Nicole Glaros showing off her TechStars Cloud belt buckle in San Antonio

The only woman in the TechStars Cloud program, Nicole Glaros relocated from Boulder, Colorado to San Antonio with her husband, two-year-old daughter and one month old baby boy.
“It’s not a hard sell for me,” Glaros said. “To pick up and move for four months is not a big deal for us.”
Her husband Mark loves adventure and discovering new places too, she said.
“From our perspective it was an adventure,” Glaros said.
Adventurous is the perfect adjective to describe the outgoing Glaros, who is accomplished, smart, athletic and pretty and a powerful force in the technology startup world.
“TechStars is such a great environment,” Glaros said. “It doesn’t feel like work. I love what I do. “
Glaros moved into a house near Basse Road and San Pedro in January. She had just given birth to her son, Jackson, in December. Her mother also moved in, relocating for four months from Florida to help out with the kids.
“She put her life on hold,” Glaros said.
Family members are the unsung heroes of TechStars, Glaros said. While the entrepreneurs toil away 12 hour or longer days, seven days a week, spouses, kids, other family members and friends often have to adjust their lives.
Glaros knows their pain. She has worked with more than 100 startup tech entrepreneurs. Before joining TechStars, she founded three startups and worked at a technology business incubator, CTEK and other incubation programs in Colorado.
One day, Dave Cohen, a successful entrepreneur, angel investor and cofounder of TechStars, came to CTEK to pitch his idea for a new kind of technology incubator. CTEK’s leaders didn’t care for the idea much, but Glaros did. She sent an email to Cohen asking if he had time to meet her for a beer. He agreed to meet her for 30 minutes.
When Cohen arrived, he asked Glaros what her startup idea was. She said she didn’t have one. She just liked his TechStars idea and wanted to chat.
“That 30 minutes turned into three hours,” Glaros said.
Glaros ended up joining TechStars in 2007 and now serves as the managing director of the TechStars program in Boulder. She agreed to relocate to San Antonio to help Jason Seats, managing director of the TechStars Cloud with its inaugural program.
TechStars is a highly selective startup accelerator that takes about ten companies per program and provides seed funding from more than 75 different venture capital firms and angel investors. It has five TechStars programs in Boston, Boulder, New York City, Seattle and San Antonio.
The TechStars Cloud was the first accelerator program exclusively focused on cloud-based computing startups. The first class ran from January through April 11th. Each of the companies received $18,000 and access to $100,000 credit line along with thousands of dollars worth of perks including free website hosting, marketing and other services.
“The goal for me to be here was just to give Jason the resources he needed to launch the TechStars Cloud program,” Glaros said. “Working with Jason has been pure joy. He did a wonderful job.”
Seats enjoyed working with Glaros too.
“I will miss working with Nicole immensely,” Seats said. “We had very different styles that gelled quite well together. She is demanding, tough, detailed, insightful and almost always right. I tried to internalize as much of her thought processes as I could to make myself better.”
Glaros said the TechStars Cloud program was the smoothest launch of a new program in TechStars history and she credits Seats, an accomplished entrepreneur who founded Slicehost and sold it to Rackspace, with that.
Glaros was also impressed with the 11 companies to graduate from the TechStars program.
“It was really cool watching them develop,” she said. “I think the highlight is always seeing the progress of the companies. You literally see them evolve from raw potential to a real thing.”
And they appreciated her.
“She’s brilliant,” said Matt Gershoff, founder of Conductrics, in the TechStars Cloud program. “She’s super smart, confident and incredible at being able to distill complexity into a simple narrative.”
Glaros played a key role in helping the companies hone their eight minute pitch to investors.
“She’s not a pushover,” Gershoff said. “She’s definitely respected. She will tell you the truth even if it’s hard to hear. She’s honest.”
Colin Loretz, founder of Cloudsnap in the TechStars Cloud program, also had high praise for Glaros.
“She was awesome to have around,” Loretz said. “She’s seen more pitches and more startups all the way through to Demo Day than anyone.”
“She sees all the problems you can possibly see,” Loretz said.
Glaros has watched entrepreneurs launch a company, exit the company through sale or acquisition and then come back to serve as a mentor in the TechStars program. She calls the mentors – successful technology entrepreneurs who volunteer their time to help the startups – the secret sauce of TechStars.
“It creates a sort of unified cycle of giving back,” Glaros said.
The startup movement gives Glaros hope that these bright entrepreneurs will go on to create jobs and innovative products that will revive the economy.
“The one thing you cannot outsource is brains, talent and creativity,” she said.
The TechStars program has a 92 percent success rate, Glaros said. TechStars latest stats show that 109 companies still operate, nine have failed and eight have been acquired.
The competition is really stiff to get into TechStars. Glaros had just finished selecting the latest companies for TechStars Boulder. She reviewed 1,172 applications for 10 spots.
“The idea is really quality over quantity,” Glaros said.
So how does an entrepreneur make the cut?
“When we’re looking at a company we’re going to take the best team,” Glaros said. “We want a really great team that is super passionate about what they do,” Glaros said. “The idea doesn’t matter much. Ideas aren’t worth anything. It’s the execution of the idea that is important.”
That means the background of the founders count the most even more than the idea they are pitching, she said. And a lot of those founders have a background in engineering, she said.
And few female engineers apply, she said.
Glaros said women also tend to be more risk-averse than men and not as likely to risk everything to startup a company. And they don’t have huge egos and ego plays a big role in being entrepreneur, Glaros said.
“You have to believe you are the only one on the planet that can solve the problem you’re trying to tackle,” she said.
But women make some of the best entrepreneurs, Glaros said.
“Women tend to underestimate how much they can do,” Glaros said. “They outperform their objectives.”
Women also tend to be very open and they ask for help when they encounter a problem, Glaros said.
Now that the first TechStars Cloud program has wrapped up in San Antonio, Glaros has packed up and returned home. But she remembers her time fondly in the city. She enjoyed visiting local restaurants with her family. She thinks San Antonio is a great place to raise kids.
And although TechStars Cloud enters it quiet period, Glaros thinks San Antonio’s startup scene is heating up under the leadership of Seats and Nick Longo at the Geekdom and others.
In Boulder, TechStars has been able to create a technology startup community. How can San Antonio replicate that?
“Community matters,” Glaros said. “When a community comes together and rallies all kinds of entrepreneurial magic happens.”
The community can help by becoming a customer of a startup, volunteering time and expertise and money.
“Embrace them – open up your address book and wallets,” Glaros said “That’s the best thing you can do.”
When successful entrepreneurs mentor and help startups a vibrant startup community can thrive, Glaros said.
“In Boulder, you can get a meeting with just about anyone,” Glaros said. “Accessibility to leadership is huge.”

TechStars Cloud Demo Day blasts off today in San Antonio

Three months ago, a group of entrepreneurs moved into Geekdom in downtown San Antonio.
Since then, the inaugural TechStars Cloud participants have been toiling away and working to create blockbuster cloud businesses that will change the world.
Some have iterated, pivoted and overhauled their operations countless times. Names have changed. Teams have mixed it up.
But in the end, 11 companies stand ready to present today at the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre in downtown San Antonio.
The event kicks off at 9:30 a.m. and ends around 2 p.m. But a reception later in the evening at the Weston Centre will celebrate the accomplishments of this group of entrepreneurs and their leaders, Jason Seats, founder of SliceHost and Nicole Glaros, managing director of TechStars in Boulder, Colo. Seats and Glaros ran the TechStars Cloud program.
The TechStars Cloud focused on cloud computing and cloud infrastructure. Its mentors included Pat Condon, founder of Rackspace, Jeff Lawson, founder and CEO of Twilio, Brad Feld, head of the Foundry Group, George Kardis with SoftLayer, Rajat Bhargava, founder and CEO of StillSecure and dozens more.
All of the companies received $18,000 and access to more. Today, some of the companies will ask for investment capital, while others are fully funded. The audience will include venture capitalists and angel investors.

Forging the TechStars Cloud companies

At the Geekdom, twice a week, entrepreneurs behind the 11 TechStars Cloud companies gather to pitch their ventures.

Jason Seats with laptop, Nicole Glaros behind him and Nicholas Longo, Geekdom director , listening to TechStar Cloud pitches

Jason Seats and Nicole Glaros, TechStars Cloud managing directors, critique those pitches along with a handful of others, ranging from interested bystanders to serious angel and venture investors and other TechStar members.
“Jokes are only good if they land,” Seats said at the end of one pitch.
“I was totally wrapped up in the story, which was great,” said Glaros in response to another pitch.
“I want to see more interactions with data and the service,” said Seats.
“It was just a little too dragged out,” Glaros said. “I want you to move through it faster.”
“Maybe you need less of those slides,” Seats said.
The goal is by April 11, the TechStars Demo Day at the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre in downtown San Antonio, that the 11 companies rate at least an eight on a presentation scale that ranges from one to ten. At this session, almost three weeks from Demo Day, most of the companies rank at seven or lower. (Seats takes away a point from those presenters still using notes and almost all of the presenters are still reading from note cards.)

One of the TechStars Cloud entrepreneurs pitching his venture during practice

Since January, this group of startup entrepreneurs have gathered at the Geekdom, a collaborative workspace on the 11th floor of the Weston Centre. All of them relocated here from outside Texas. They came from Portland, Madison, Wisconsin, New York, Boston and other cities. They rented houses and apartments downtown. San Antonio Developers Ed Cross and David Adelman helped them secure housing, Seats said.
Most of the names of the companies are embargoed until Demo Day. But Cloudability, a Portland-based company, has already publicly posted about its involvement in the program. The company, which launched in November of 2011, has created a software platform that allows companies to track their cloud spending online. The company’s software draws from hosting companies’ data. It has more than 1,000 companies from 72 countries signed up to manage nearly $52 million in cloud spending. Cloudability has 10 employees and has already raised $1.2 million in a seed round of funding.
Mat Ellis, the company’s founder, has written about his TechStars incubator experiences on his company’s blog. Cloudability also participated in the Portland Incubator Experiment’s inaugural class.
Cloudability is one of the more mature startups involved in the TechStars Cloud program. Some of the companies are just starting out.
“It’s been a good program,” said Seats, during a recent interview at his office. “I feel like everyone has gotten a lot of value out of it.”
The TechStars program has had its ups and downs. Some people left the program. Other startups completely revamped their companies. But that’s Ok, Seats said.
In fact, the first phase of the program focused on the TechStar members’ ideas and setting up a foundation for their businesses. The TechStars’ 170 mentors hammered the entrepreneurs with questions and poked holes in their business plans.
“You either crumble or adapt,” Seats said. “Good ideas respond positively to that kind of pummeling.”
Seats compared the process to forging metal.
“The first month is about applying enough beatings to see if this is the right direction,” Seats said. “What’s working or what’s not working?”
During the second phase, the companies did mentor “dating” to match up with the right mentors for their business. In the end, each team got between three to six lead mentors, Seats said.
The last phase of the program is all about execution, Seats said. The TechStar Cloud companies spend countless hours programming, working on business fundamentals, marketing and more. They often work until late into the night and on the weekends.
But the TechStar Cloud startup founders have also had some fun. They all went to South by Southwest in Austin in March. They also regularly go to local bars, restaurants and museums together.
But in the final weeks of the program, everyone is focused on nailing their presentation pitches and running their businesses.
“For the majority of these companies, this is their shot,” Seats said.

You’re Invited to TechStars Cloud Demo Day on April 11th

In January, entrepreneurs from all over the country arrived in San Antonio for the first ever TechStars Cloud.
Nicole Glaros, one of the program’s directors, moved to San Antonio with her family for the three month program.
Jason Seats, the other director, says the program is coming to a conclusion with TechStars Cloud Demo Day on April 11th at the Charline McCombs Empire Theater at 226 N. St. Mary’s Street.
At the event, 11 TechStars Cloud teams will give eight minute company pitches to the audience which will include investors, TechStar mentors, family and friends as well as community members.
To reserve a seat, you’ve got to RSVP on Eventbrite because the event is expected to be at capacity.
Angel and other investors can also contact Jason Seats directly about reserving a seat at the event.
TechStars Cloud Demo Day runs from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with an after party at the Weston Center Terrace starting at 7 p.m.

TechStars Cloud companies are “like little soft baby chicks”

The first TechStars Cloud program kicked off in San Antonio on Jan. 19 with 11 companies that all moved to the city from outside the state.
Jason Seats and Nicole Glaros, managing directors, run the TechStars Cloud program at the Geekdom, a collaborative workplace in downtown San Antonio on the 11th floor of the Weston Centre. The three-month incubator and mentoring program ends with a demo day in April. TechStars are’t revealing the names of the companies involved in the program until Demo Day.
Meanwhile, the folks at Rackspace Hosting did this hilarious video with Seats and Glaros recently.
The video starts off serious, but you have to hang with it until the end.
Glaros has some great comments.
“We do a lot of hazing here at TechStars cloud,” says Glaros. “You have to be top of mind and of body.”
“Somewhere between 90 and 100 percent of these companies are just elaborate money laundering schemes,” Glaros said.
She gives the companies “diapers and wipes” when they walk in the door because they are so young.
Meanwhile, Seats says the companies are like “little soft baby chicks” and that they just want to cuddle them.

TechStars Cloud kicks off Jan. 9 in San Antonio

Jason Seats, managing director of the TechStars Cloud, says hundreds of companies applied to the program. In the end, TechStars choose 11 companies. All of them are from outside of San Antonio. Seats is not revealing the company names until April 6th at TechStars Cloud Demo Day.
Nicole Glaros, one of the founders of TechStars in Boulder, will also move to San Antonio for the 13-week program with her family. Seats says the program will serve as the catalyst San Antonio needs to ignite its high-tech startup community. All of the companies will be located at Geekdom, a collaborative workspace at the Weston Centre in downtown San Antonio.

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