Associates are the people paid by Techstars who are here to help you over the course of the program. Think of them as dedicated, on the ground, consultants you don’t cover the costs of!
Each of them has been hand-picked by us based on their expertise in a particular area of business (marketing, business development, design, finance, investment, product and more) to help you. They tend to have between 5-10 years of experience under their belts, and join for any number of reasons - sometimes they’re new to a city and want to boost their network, other times they’re doing it out of sheer interest and enjoyment, others want to work more closely with startups.
It can be difficult to approach the associates at first, these seemingly arbitrary individuals who are always hanging around the office asking lots of questions. We’ve heard from founders who have worked closely with them that it can be one of the highlights of the program. With a bit of perseverance, and a ‘hi’ every now and then, you’ll find they can be helpful in ways you didn’t imagine before. There are also a few ways you can put them to best use at your company.
The first is to approach them with a problem or project. Maybe your company doesn’t have a huge product problem, but you’re struggling with marketing and design. Set up a meeting with the respective Associates, explain what your problem is, what you’d like to achieve by the end of the program, and start with a brainstorm.
The second is to decide which associates you’d like to work closely with over the entire 3 months and approach them early-on. Have a general plan and idea ready of where you think they could fit into your business - are there playbooks you’d like them to help set up, or workflows that need to be improved? And if things go well, maybe you can work together beyond the program - some Associates have historically gone on to be hired by the portfolio companies they work with.
Lastly, be open and honest with the Associates about problems and opportunities you’re facing. Each associate is here to help you, and the best way they can help is by having all of the correct and most up-to-date information. In the end, they’re there to help you do more faster!