On Tuesday, Techstars, a global accelerator and investment fund that functions in Chicago has announced the acquisition of Up Global, the non-profit organization that hosts Startup Weekend.
The Seattle-based non-profit, Up Global, is well-known for hosting many Startup Weekend events, 54-hour sprints held in cities around the world in which people gather together to share ideas, form teams, and discusses business models. The startup also publishes Startup Digest newsletters, Startup Week celebrations and other education and networking events for aspiring entrepreneurs and the startup-interested individuals.
Boulder-based Techstars, hence takes over four UP Global events and publications that include Startup Weekend, Startup Digest, Startup Week and Startup Next. Among the mentioned, Startup Weekend and Startup Digest have operations in Chicago. Techstars as accelerators operates in 18 cities globally, that includes the Chicago tech Hub 1871. Terms of the acquisition deal has not been revealed.
Techstars president and co-founder David Brown was looking out to expand its services and said this acquisition paved way to it. He stated that the company already provided accelerator programs and venture funds for the new startups that are looking out to expand. Now with the acquisition of the UP Global gives Techstars access to young entrepreneurs earlier in the company-forming process. He said, “This is an evolution into the next phase, the ideation phase.”
However, as the UP Global programs are fully integrated with Techstars, it would no longer be a non-profit entity but Brown said that, “the mission and vision will remain the same.” According to the blog, UP Global will continue to function Startup Weekend under the direction of Techstars. Techstars will not get any proprietary deal flow into its accelerators. It does not intend to undergo any big changes to Startup Weekend or other programs conducted by UP Global, which will now be called Techstars Community Programs. The fee has been reduced for some programs. The employees of UP Global will become part of the Techstars, but for the major part continue with their work status quo.
The head of both the organizations gives this acquisition a more of altruistic touch as the one that preserves and widens the services and features UP Global offers to the entrepreneurs and innovation communities all over the globe, for the indirect benefit of the Techstars and all others who are engaged in the startup industry. While the whole deal pictures an unusual exit for a non-profit, it is said that UP Global was not in threat or risk of shutting done if not for the acquisition. However, the company was not free from challenges. The company laid off around one by third of its 60 employees few months ago after not being able to renew some sponsorship.
UP Global CEO Marc Nager said, “It’s definitely an indication of the larger business-model challenges and conversations we have been having. I can say for myself, doing this for six years, we hit a point where it has been incredibly frustrating as a nonprofit, where we are completely reliant on sponsorships.” The team of the UP Global were very clear that they were creating real meaning in the form of welcoming more people becoming entrepreneurs and being supportive in building new companies.