New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg stepped in front of dozens of young entrepreneurs and hundreds of investors Tuesday and joked about the Jersey Shore and taxes. This was the prelude to TechStars Demo Day in New York City, where 31 start-up founders graduating from the incubator would be presenting their ideas to would-be funders.
That's an arrangement that's not only beneficial for entrepreneurs and the VCs who love them, Bloomberg said.
"New York really is a city that dreams big and works hard to make those dreams come true," he told the audience. "So I hope you all work hard to make a lot of money, hire a lot of people, and pay a lot of taxes!"
Bloomberg quickly qualified that comment, saying he'd like to see them "paying taxes, because that means you're successful."
His reality TV comment was slightly more irreverant: he noted that because TechStars managing director David Tisch dropped four "f-bombs" during Bloomberg TV's first episode of TechStars (a reality show), Tisch "thinks he's Snookie."
Started in 2007, TechStars is a business-incubation program with branches in New York City, Boston, Seattle, and Boulder, Colorado. In exchange for a 6 percent stake, each company chosen by TechStars receives three months of mentoring, workspace, and seed funding—and TechStars announced today that future companies will receive an extra $100,000 in funding, bringing the total to $118,000. The process ends in a demo day, where the start-ups showcase their products and hope to attract funders' attention.
The New York arm of the program got even buzzier this year when Bloomberg TV created the reality show of the proceedings. That camera-ready atmosphere carried over to this week, when the entrepreneurs took the stage amid dim lights and loud music. Tisch followed, noting that the program had 12,000 applicants this year—so simply sitting among the 12 selected companies was an honor.
Several TechStars start-ups have already announced funding offers. SideTour, which lets users find "unique experiences," like graffiti lessons, raised $1.5 million from RRE and Foundry Group. Another company, Ordr.in, received $1 million from Google Ventures for its plan to turn Facebook pages into food-ordering microsites.
And the demos are still rolling. Check back tomorrow morning for our round-up of the TechStars demos.