TechStars takes Chicago, merges with Excelerate Labs incubator program

It’s been a big week for Boulder, Colo.-based TechStars. Just yesterday, the accelerator program said that it had chosen a new managing director for its New York City program. And on Friday, founder and CEO David Cohen announced that the company is setting up TechStars Chicago, by partnering with the local incubator Excelerate Labs.
Led by a group of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, including SurePayroll founder Troy Henikoff, OkCupid founder Sam Yagan, Sandbox Industries’ Nick Rosa and New World Ventures’ Adam Koopersmith, Excelerator Labs launched three years ago and has established itself as a prominent part of Chicago’s growing startup community. In the past three years, the program said its 30 companies have raised a total of $30 million. But by becoming part of the national TechStars program, it could help elevate the local community and give founders access to TechStars’ larger network of mentors and entrepreneurs.
In a blog post, Cohen said he and TechStars cofounder Brad Feld had advised Henikoff and Yagan and had mentored companies in Excelerate Labs’ classes. He also said that he had personally invested in three Excelerate startups.
“As TechStars has expanded into new cities, we’ve always started our programs from scratch. But Excelerate made us think differently,” Cohen wrote. “We were so impressed with what they’ve built that we asked them to join forces with us and turn Excelerate Labs into TechStars Chicago. TechStars and Excelerate have always been kindred spirits: we both put entrepreneurs first and believe in the power of mentorship.”