In the first part of the article, I recount my HackStar experience at TechStars Boston. Today, I am going to talk about the impact of HackStar has on me and my current endeavor of doing a startup.
Before joining the program, I had thought that my time as a HackStar would be spent mostly coding, which is something I was more than happy to do. While being a HackStar is a lot of hard work, the truth is that I found that there is more than just battening down the hatches and code. To my surprise, HackStars are actually treated as participants of the program, just like any of the team members in the program. While Hackstars don’t get the one-on-one mentorship (since we are not founders), we like the teams have access and participate in activities like lectures, talks, and workshops led by mentors and guest lecturers. Of course there are times when I had to skip a few of the classes and events as I needed to spent more time working in tasks that may be time sensitive. However, I found these lectures and workshops extremely valuable (more so than the classes on entrepreneurship that I took in business school). TechStars lectures and workshops have highly relevant, useful content for starting entrepreneurs to take their startup to the next level. I would encourage any HackStar to attend these classes as much as possible. At the end of the day, it is all about time management and balancing between working on a project and attending classes. Nonetheless, HackStars at TechStars Boston really have unprecedental access and opportunities.
As an entrepreneur who recently started a startup called Invantory, I regularly seek veterans who are doing or have done a startup before. Conversation with them often bring new insights and perspectives, which adds tremendous value and clarity to what I am doing. The network that I built at TechStars has been very beneficial in this regards. Since starting Invantory, I have met with mentors and alumni asking them for their help and advice. In fact, many of them were enthusiastic about helping me in my endeavor. I have also found it gratifying to see how the teams grew in maturity and confidence during the course of the program. I am happy for the alumni of TechStars 2011, with whom I still maintain close interpersonal relationship. I really enjoyed the camaraderie of TechStars Boston.
I have had a long career working in big firms. Nonetheless I have always contemplated with starting my own company and struggled in pondering what is best for me. Do I choose job security and stability over starting my own startup with no or little money? The HackStar program provided that opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs like me to try out the startup life for 3 months and gain skills that they can immediately apply when they can become real entreprneurs. The program has influenced my outlook, identified seeing what is missing, and discovering what are needed to be done in the context of building my startup.
TechStars’s official HackStars webpage provides a pretty comprehensive list of compelling reasons for joining HackStar. But if you are an aspiring entrepreneur and that your objective is to gain more exposure as well as expanding your network in this space, the choice is a no-brainer. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about the program.