North Texas Entrepreneurship Icon Spearheads Techstars ‘Anywhere Remote’ Accelerator; Applications Close Soon » Dallas Innovates

Techstars’ first remote accelerator—Techstars Anywhere—began in 2017 with the “belief that good startup ideas can come from everywhere and anywhere.” Now North Texas’ Trey Bowles is at the helm to grow the program. [Image: Techstars]

Techstars’ trailblazing remote accelerator initiative has a new leader at the helm.

Trey Bowles, a luminary in the Dallas-Fort Worth entrepreneurial ecosystem, stepped into the leadership role this past December as the new managing director of the Techstars “Anywhere Remote” Accelerator, the global pre-seed investor’s original remote-first startup program.

Bowles, a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of the Dallas Entrepreneur Center, is also the founding managing director for Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth Accelerator. He brings a wealth of experience and a fresh perspective to Techstars Anywhere, overseeing the selection and application activities for the upcoming September program and steering the current March initiative.

The leadership update comes as the accelerator prepares for its application deadline on May 22, 2024, for the cohort beginning in September.

“As we approach the application deadline for our next cohort, we’re excited to see what new and innovative ventures will join us,” Bowles said. “At Techstars Anywhere, we don’t just invest in companies we can help make successful; we invest in companies we know will be successful. We just help get them there faster.”

“Techstars Anywhere is actually the most popular of all of the programs at Techstars,” Bowles said. “We have more applications for this program than any other one program in our portfolio.”

The Techstars Anywhere model combines virtual programming with three in-person meetups throughout the Americas, allowing participants to engage deeply without the need to uproot their lives or businesses. The model has proven essential for founders who require flexibility but desire the benefits of a robust accelerator experience. And for Techstars, If not for the remote program, “we would miss out on lots of great investment opportunities,” he added.

“The concept of a remote accelerator at Techstars was really before its time,” Bowles said. “When all programs transitioned to remote/virtual, Techstars already had the model in place to scale across the company.”

Since its launch in 2017, the remote program has filled a gap in the startup ecosystem by allowing founders who couldn’t leave their hometowns for 13 weeks to access Techstars’ resources.

Ensuring the same level of value as an in-person program is a focus, Bowles emphasized. Like other Techstars programs, the “real value” includes access to “amazing best-in-class mentors that have agreed to offer their time, talent, and, in some cases, their money to support the founders in our program,” Bowles said.

Under Bowles’ leadership, Techstars Anywhere is set to continue its tradition of fostering innovation across industries, including tech, fintech, and health sciences.

Bowles expects the upcoming cohort to draw a diverse group of entrepreneurs. Previous groups have included companies ranging from space technology to AI-driven storytelling platforms. For the spring term, Techstars has also invested in a water conservation business, a fintech for teaching Gen Zs how to invest in the stock market, and a neuroscientist tackling the issue of helping kids sleep.

The accelerator’s “generalist investment thesis” gives Techstars the opportunity to “look widely at different markets, verticals, and trends where entrepreneurs are showing us what the future of an industry will look like,” Bowles said.

As the most active pre-seed investor on the planet, Techstars has the opportunity to be at the forefront of most tech markets, according to the new managing director. “We’re able to determine the future of markets based upon the companies that we find and choose to invest in,” he said.

Bowles believes innovation is on a rocket ship into the future. “We have the opportunity to pick companies and founders from markets that we believe are addressing the biggest problems across a range of sectors,” he said.

Bowles says Techstars Anywhere’s remote-first model has been pivotal for over 100 companies navigating the startup waters while balancing personal commitments and business needs.

Great companies and great founders can come from anywhere and everywhere, Bowles says. “Techstars wants to find awesome entrepreneurs in Des Moines, Tallahassee, Atlanta, Vienna, Santa Fe, and Fort Worth,” he said.

Bowles spotlighted an array of entrepreneurs who’ve leveraged the program’s flexibility to their advantage: From a mother who wished to stay close to her family to a student completing graduate school while building a startup and founders who remained in their hometowns to stay near crucial customers or teams, Techstars Anywhere has catered to all.

Among North Texas success stories, Bowles says, “Dallas’ own Trust & Will has seen incredible success and growth,” pointing to the startup as an example of a company that thrived thanks to the accelerator’s support. The startup aims to leave a lasting legacy for its users’ loved ones by simplifying the estate planning process.

Trust & Will’s achievements are particularly visible in its recent launch of a TV commercial campaign featuring Dallas native Matthew Stafford to showcase its services.

Elsewhere in Texas is Austin-based Pipedream, “which has continued to grow and scale with some amazing clients on their roster.” The startup, founded in 2020, focuses on creating an autonomous underground delivery network that utilizes high-speed tunnels and robotic technology to transport goods. Pipedream has attracted attention from major brands like Wendy’s, which partnered last year on a pilot to use the system for an innovative delivery solution for mobile orders.

As the countdown to the application cutoff begins, entrepreneurs are encouraged to act fast.

Entrepreneurs interested in joining the Techstars network are encouraged to apply before the May 22 deadline to take advantage of the opportunity to accelerate their ventures with expert guidance and an expansive network of mentors and investors, Bowles said.

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