20 February, 2013 - 11:18 By News Desk

Bridges not Valleys

Jon-Bradford-springboard startup accelerator in Cambridge now techstars

Success has many fathers, and Springboard is no exception to this. There is, however, one individual who has had more influence upon Springboard’s inception and core philosophical views than anyone else. David Cohen helped me create and launch The Difference Engine, the predecessor of Springboard, and has had a guiding hand ever since.

My initial meeting with David was as a result of a number of random coincidences – ultimately leading to a 20 minute discussion in the ‘bunker’ at TechStars Boulder just over three years ago. Ten minutes into that discussion, David interrupted me and said: “How can I help?” – which I subsequently discovered was a common response but also core to TechStars.

I returned to Boulder eight weeks later to learn more about TechStars and David also spent a couple of days in the UK helping to launch The Difference Engine. Whilst, I had the good fortune of David teaching me, first hand, how to run a programme – what had a much more profound impact was his attitude and motivation for running TechStars. Running an accelerator is less about the ‘mechanics’ of a 13 week programme but more about building a platform that is founder centric.

Just over three years later, David and I once again had the good fortune of meeting. Whilst we had taken different paths in ourrespective programmes, it was apparent that our core values had not changed. Moreover, we had both become even more focused upon creating greater value for the teams that took part in our programmes.

It was the core values of TechStars, more than anything else, which prompted me to merge Springboard into TechStars to become TechStars London. As a combined entity, we can create more opportunities for the teams that participate in TechStars London and build tangible links between TechCity, London, Europe and the US.

As has been said before, Europe does not need valleys – rather it needs bridges. I believe that TechStars London will be the first tangible bridge that brings the technology and investment communities in the US and Europe much closer together to create substantive value to founders on both sides of the Atlantic.



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