Tisch, TechStars, and What’s Next?

I first met David Tisch two years ago under the premise that he is an up and coming angel investor who liked sports. At the time, I was pitching our first company HomeField - a video platform for coaches, athletes, and fans. 

Going in, I thought this is a no-brainer. Coming out, however, I had a very different thought… “TechStars is coming to NYC? …and we should apply?”

Despite feeling that we were too late-stage (we weren’t), we applied and I started emailing Tisch… And I quickly realized that he never sleeps, that answering emails from young companies at odd hours of the night was a crucially important first step in proving that he could make a dent in the universe with TechStars NYC, that he knows the history of every startup ever, and that Tisch has a passion for entrepreneurship that was rare.

Months later, we were one of Tisch’s chosen 11 for the first class. I later learned that we were numerically ranked lower than that and Tisch made a judgment call that was hugely important to us.

From the start, Tisch was extremely hard on us. He told us when we sucked… and to be fair, we did. He was critical to a point of no return, but it was because he cared deeply about us - as founders, as a company, and as TechStars - and this helped us successfully raise capital, grow our team, and start down our path to building a great company.

Since then, we have seen three stellar classes of TechStars in NYC and I am proud to be a part of a vibrant, growing, ecosystem of excellent people and companies.

So given today’s news that Tisch is transitioning away from his role as MD at TechStars, I’ve got a few thoughts.

  1. Firstly, thank you to Tisch, not just for accepting us and helping us, not for being a great mentor and friend, but for what you’ve accomplished with TechStars as a whole in the past two years.
  2. TechStars will be fine. The model is strong and the community is stronger.
  3. Who will fill Tisch’s shoes at TechStars? I honestly have no idea. I only hope they bring the same passion, knowledge, and special sauce that NYC deserves.
  4. What will Tisch do? No idea there either. He’s a prolific angel investor with epic deal-flow, he’s a product fanatic who obsesses over the details, and he’s a literal walking encyclopedia of startup knowledge. Who knows what he can do with his skill set and network, but I know I’ll be paying attention.