Excelerate Labs becomes TechStars Chicago after partnering with the startup accelerator in the Windy City

Excelerate Labs becomes TechStars Chicago after partnering with the startup accelerator in the Windy ...

Excelerate Labs, a three-year-old technology startup accelerator based in Chicago, has joined forces with TechStars, dropping its name and re-branding to better reflect the ‘Windy City’ – TechStars Chicago.

Until now, Excelerate Labs has been led by two entrepreneurs; Troy Henikoff, CEO and co-founder of Excelerate Labs, and Sam Yagan, creator of OkCupid, Match.com and SparkNotes.

They’ve been working for the last three years alongside Nick Rosa of Sandboc Industries and Adam Koopersmith of New World Ventures to support a number of fledgling technology startups, including FeeFighters, Food Genius and Joystickers.

Across its first three ‘classes’, the startup accelerator has nurtured 30 portfolio companies that have raised, in total, more than $30 million. Not bad, not bad at all.

David Cohen, CEO and founder of Techstars, announced the partnership earlier today on the startup accelerator’s website. He said that both himself and Brad Feld, another co-founder of Techstars, have been “close” to Excelerate Labs since they started in 2010, advising Sam and Toy but also mentoring all of the companies.

“Excelerate Labs Demo Days have always been tremendously energetic and have inspired us to make the trip to Chicago and get more involved in the local startup ecosystem,” Cohen said.

So today’s partnership hasn’t come out of the blue, by any means. In fact, Cohen also revealed today that he has personally invested in three companies that have graduated from the Excelerate Labs program; SpotHero, GiveForward and Tap.me.

TechStars is one of the leading startup accelerator brands for technology companies, leveraging more than 75 venture capital firms and angel investors across the world. But today’s announcement is unique because traditionally, the company has always started new programs from scratch when they’ve wanted to expand into a new city.

However, Excelerate Labs made them think differently in part because the two companies have “always been kindred spirits.”

Commenting on the merger, Henikoff said:

“We are excited to combine Excelerate’s deep roots in Chicago with TechStars’ vast alumni and mentor networks. TechStars Chicago will be an even stronger force in Chicago and will add incredible firepower to the TechStars platform.”

The partnership follows the announcement yesterday that David Tisch would step down as managing director of TechStars NYC, allowing Eugene Chung, formerly of New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Pixat to take the reigns.

Image Credit: deadling/Flickr

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