David Cohen returns as Techstars CEO as Maëlle Gavet steps down

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David Cohen returns as Techstars CEO as Maëlle Gavet steps down

David Cohen, co-founder of Techstars has announced his return as the Chief Executive Officer of the accelerator following the announced exit of CEO, Maëlle Gavet at the end of the month owing to health reasons.

Maëlle Gavet, who has led Techstars as Chief Executive for three and a half years, has announced her resignation due to health concerns. In a LinkedIn post, Ms. Gavet revealed a personal history of thyroid cancer.

“Eleven years ago, I underwent surgery to remove a cancerous thyroid,” she wrote. “While daily medication and regular checkups allowed me to manage the condition, recent tests indicated new nodules on my remaining thyroid”, she wrote.

In an email announcement, David expressed confidence in Maëlle leadership. “Over the past three and a half years, we have accomplished a great deal under Maëlle’s leadership,” he mentioned in the post. And, he expressed.

Read also: Techstars welcomes 12 African startups into the 2nd cohort of its accelerator program

David Cohen returns as Techstars CEO as Maëlle Gavet steps down
Maëlle Gavet

“I want to thank Maëlle for pouring her passion, blood, sweat and tears into Techstars. I feel fortunate to have worked so closely with her. She built a great team, made many tough decisions, and bravely enacted complex changes that were sorely needed. But now Maëlle must focus on her health. I know I speak for everyone at Techstars when I say that we wish her strength and courage”, he added.

Techstars which was founded in 2006 helps entrepreneurs and those willing to learn to succeed by connecting startups, investors, corporations, and cities to help build thriving startup communities.

Related post: 10 African startups selected for Techstars Toronto’s 2023 summer cohort

The company has made 2,000+ startup investments. In 2023, 469 Techstars portfolio companies raised a total of over $2.4B, with 322 of them raising rounds of $1M or more. Applications to its programs doubled between 2022 and 2023 while our. David testified that the quality filter has remained as high as ever as an average of just 3% of those applicants were accepted into our programmes.

In the statement, Cohen emphasised that while he is excited to be back as CEO, he was never far away.

“While I am excited to be back as CEO of Techstars, I was never far away. I was the first employee and have been an employee here continuously since then. I was the first Managing Director of our first and at the time, only, accelerator (Boulder) in the early years. In total, I have served as CEO or co-CEO for thirteen of the seventeen years that Techstars has existed and have been on the Board since the company’s inception.”

Techstars second cohort
2nd cohort of the ARM Labs Lagos Techstars Accelerator

“I will continue to focus on making Techstars even better for founders!”, he concluded.

Techstars’ commitment to Africa was highlighted by the launch of the ARM Labs Lagos Techstars Accelerator Program in April 2022. This partnership with a Lagos-based innovation program focused on fintech startups has seen investments in approximately 22 early-stage fintech and proptech companies across Africa.

5 months ago, Techstars announced the second cohort of companies that will participate in its accelerator programme. The 14-week immersive program will see Techstars invest $120,000 funding in each startup. The accelerator will also provide them with access to over $400,000 in cash equivalent hosting, accounting and legal support and other benefits worth more than $5M.

Additionally, the selected startups will receive tailored mentorship, world-class company-building support, lifetime access to the Techstars worldwide network and targeted interactions with prospective investors to ensure that the continuum of follow-up capital is available as they grow. 

Read also: Techstars welcomes 12 African startups into the 2nd cohort of its accelerator program

Recently, Techstars has announced the closure of its accelerator programmes in several locations, including Austin, Toronto, Seattle, Sweden, Boulder, and Norway. Notably, the Toronto programme has invested significantly in African startups.


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