GrabCAD, the Estonian company that has created a CAD drawing sharing service for engineers, has been accepted to participate in Techstars Boston program. What makes this all noteworthy is for the following two reasons. According to our knowledge, no Northern European company has been accepted to any US based Techstars program and secondly, especially not after winning Seedcamp London earlier this year.
Not many Nordic nor Baltic companies have possibly even tried to get into the US based Techstars programs, which are usually considered the number one contender for the icon like Y-Combinator started by Paul Graham. There are however Techstars affiliates even at this end of the world. Startup Bootcamp in Denmark is a Techstars global affiliate.
I turned to Siim Teller from GrabCAD to ask a few questions on their approval to the program. Perhaps the most obvious one to ask is why Techstars and Boston?
“Techstars was a logical step for us with its 3-month intensive program where all participating startups are heavily mentored, need to do weekly updates on their process, get access to some of the brightest minds and have to work less on making connections (Techstars does it for them) and can focus more on building their business.”
“The location is super important for us too – Boston is the heart of CAD world, with large CAD software vendors based in the city, good pool of people who have worked or invested in CAD and manufacturing industries – that’s the key for us.”
According to Teller, GrabCAD is building its userbase with about 10% growth per month. He states that this is naturally lower to consumer services as GrabCAD is ultimately a B2B-service. They’ve already began cashing in on the userbase as well. An increasing amount of companies have ordered different kinds of CAD services through their platform.
I also had to ask, how important is Techstars for GrabCAD – applying and getting into the program can be a huge boost for any company. “It gives us instant credibility in the eyes of VCs and partners. It doesn’t necessarily help with getting customers in our niche but the experience, connections and know-how we get from the organizers and mentors will help us reach the right audiences faster and smarter”, Teller explains.
He also has a piece of advice for all startups in the region, “every startup should at least apply to one of these programs, even if winning is not the goal, going through the process makes you think hard about the problems you’re solving, your target audience, key metrics, marketing efforts – the works.”