We at MicroVentures were honored to attend the Techstars Austin Demo Day this year. Founded in 2007, Techstars operates accelerator programs in cities across the U.S. and the world, including Austin, Boston, Boulder, Los Angeles, Seattle, Berlin, Paris, and Toronto. After the three-month accelerator program, Techstars organizes an Investor Demo Day where angel investors and venture capitalists hear pitches and connect with founders.
This year, we saw some amazing companies and noticed a few trends. From diversity to security, from automation to real time, startups are changing the landscape of a multitude of industries.
- Diversity. There have been increasing efforts over the past few years to close the gender gap and to promote diversity and inclusion – particularly in startups. First Round’s State of Startups 2016 surveyed over 700 founders and found that only 14% have a formal plan to foster diversity and inclusion, and males still outweigh females on the board or within entire teams. However, out of the 10 Techstars companies at Demo Day this year, four were internationally based (France, Canada, Uruguay, and Columbia) and six were led by minority and/or female founders.
- Security. The physical security market, which includes access control, video surveillance, and security scanning, is estimated to grow to $112.43 billion by 2021. Cybersecurity is even larger and is estimated to reach $202.36 billion by 2021. Two Techstars companies tapped into this growing market this year with the creation of an app and a platform to heighten prevention of malicious attacks, both online and offline.
- Automation. Automation is becoming a fixture in many industries and many Techstars companies are leading the charge, enabling companies to save time and money and to improve quality, accuracy, and precision. Invoicing processes can be automated to help companies comply with federal regulations, platforms can integrate with existing business software to provide actionable insights into cash flow and payroll, and CRM systems can even have automated checks to validate and repair records.
- Real-Time Insight. The days of reacting to months of old data are in the past. Not only are companies now aggregating PR news in real time to provide PR professionals insight into when reporters use their news, but companies are also creating real-time collaboration platforms for specialized industries such as scriptwriting, bookkeeping, and community safety.