Thursday, December 22, 2016
Reflections on 2016: Cody Simms, Techstars
Story by Cody Simms
This holiday season, we are again sharing the reflections on the year from Southern California's technology community. Today, we have Cody Simms, Executive Director of Techstars (www.techstars.org), which has been very active this year in the startup accelerator and mentoring area. You'll be able to see all the many 2016 reflections here as they are posted.
What was the biggest news from you or your firm this year?
Cody Simms: Techstars tripled down on Los Angeles in 2016 with the launch of three investment and mentorship programs for startups through which we will be investing in more than 30 startups per year in LA. Techstars Healthcare in partnership with Cedars-Sinai invested in 11 startups over the summer and will run its second program in January 2017, and this fall we announced Techstars Music and the horizontally-focused Techstars LA, both of which will begin in 2017.
What is the biggest lesson you learned this year?
Cody Simms: We truly are in the midst of our lifetime's version of the industrial revolution, and we're starting to live the part where it rapidly spreads from where it started (London in the 19th century; Bay Area in the 21st) to everywhere else. The idea of entrepreneurship as a path and of technology as a change catalyst is taking root in cities and ecosystems all over the world. With the advent of social media, open publishing platforms, and instantaneous communication, the world is flatter and more interconnected than anyone can truly grasp, and the next great wave of innovations can and will come from anywhere.
What is your favorite technology gadget, device, or innovation you ran across this year?
Cody Simms: Without a doubt, I've become a power user of Amazon Alexa. I think voice control offers a greenfield of user experience innovation and can help us step away from our screens for all sorts of common question-and-answer scenarios that for years have had us instead reaching for our phones or laptops.
What do you think will have the biggest impact on the technology industry in 2017?
Cody Simms: Locally in LA the Snapchat IPO will have a huge impact on our local startup ecosystem. In terms of global scope, I predict that vehicular autonomy will go from the stuff of tech blogs to mainstream discussion in 2017 as it starts to become more and more real and as people start to realize some of the profound implications that come with it.
Cody is presently Executive Director at Techstars and head of Techstars accelerator and startup programs in North and South America. Our US-based accelerator programs are investing in 150+ startups a year in 15 locations across the USA with more to come, and our community startup programs such as Startup Weekend are present in nearly every country on both continents.
Previously, Cody established and launched the Disney Accelerator, powered by Techstars. Earlier in his career, Cody held roles including Chief Product Officer of StumbleUpon, Vice President of Product Management at Yahoo, and Product Manager at The New York Times, Sprint, and NBC Internet. When he’s not working or traveling, he can often be found in the Pacific Ocean, trying to make his Kansas family proud by attempting to catch some waves.