TechStars founder David Cohen posted an insightful blog post earlier this week that mentioned the impact second generation entrepreneurs are having on the current generation of first-time innovators. As Cohen points out, five companies from the 2007 Boulder TechStars class Brightkite, Filtrbox, Intense Debate, MadKast and SocialThing. As the entrepreneurs behind these companies continue on to found their second round of startups, they are simultaneously providing for the newer classes that come through the incubator.
"There's been a dramatic increase in angel investing activity in the communities we're in," writes Cohen. "We've also noticed that the past TechStars founders are incredibly giving of their time to other companies in their community. They've learned the amazing power of sustained mentorship, and they're giving it back every day. That's a powerful cycle."
EventVue founder Josh Fraser treats each year's new Boulder inductees to lunch where he discusses the lessons he learned through TechStars and offers his support. This is the kind of unique kinship that is often overlooked in the startup community.According to Cohen,
One region that is very appreciative of the small group of second generation entrepreneurs it has helped grow is Europe where early-stage funding is not as easily secured. Europe often sees successful entrepreneurs hop across the pond to the U.S. where the process of finding funding is much easier, and thus lacks an extensive population of second generation entrepreneurs. The advice and support these innovators can provide is sorely missed in Europe.
The incubation process and subsequent graduation turns the incubator into an alma mater for the entrepreneurs. In the future, they will want to come back for their homecoming and provide their advice and support for the next class of graduates-to-be. But perhaps this is a phenomenon that is unique to TechStars or Boulder - a very close-knit and supportive startup community.
Are incubator graduates making themselves available to help subsequent classes of startups in other areas as well? Lets us know in comments if you are familiar with any other incubator cultures that breed this type of support ecosystem.
Image by Flickr user northpolemama.