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Nebraska Startups Gaining Recognition In the Broader Tech Startup Industry

Two Nebraska tech startups are going through the prestigious Techstars Accelerators back-to-back showing momentum for tech in Nebraska.

Omaha, NE February 27, 2023 – One of Nebraska’s tech startup companies, Vesta, was in Minneapolis for the past four months. They were there to learn from the Minnesota Twins’ Accelerator by Techstars and hundreds of mentors across the professional sports industry. They recently presented at Demo Day to a packed venue.

“Techstars lived up to its promise, accelerating our company more in 3 months than we could have done on our own in 3 years. The connections, mentorship, and advice we received will help us hit the next level this year with our business and help scale it across the country.” said Andrew Prystai, co-founder of Vesta.

Another local tech startup, Maxwell, recently started its program at Techstars Boulder. The Boulder, Colorado program is the original Techstars accelerator.

Techstars is a global investment business that provides access to capital, one-on-one mentorship, a worldwide network, and customized programming for early-stage entrepreneurs. It has programs all over the world and started in Boulder, Colorado. The company has invested in over 3,000 startups as part of their 50+ accelerators worldwide. Of those investments, 83% of them are still active or have been acquired. Techstars acceptance rate is around 1-2%, with Vesta and Maxwell being the 2nd and 3rd companies ever accepted into Techstars from Nebraska.

“It’s said that the startup journey is a lonely one — this is often true.” said Stephen Enke, co-founder of Maxwell, “In Techstars, we’ve found a strong community of fellow founders who we can grow with while we scale Maxwell and execute on our vision: a world where life works for all.”

Over the previous decade, only a few companies have been accepted into accelerators as prestigious as Techstars. BasicBlock, a Nebraska company that recently raised over $78 million, started through the LAUNCH Accelerator in 2016 and Drive Spotter in Techstars Mobility in 2016 a company also founded by Andrew Prystai.

In the past few years, the local startup ecosystem has had back-to-back entry into top tier accelerator programs. This includes Logica being accepted into Y Combinator in 2021, Vesta joining Techstars in 2022, and now Maxwell being accepted into Techstars for 2023. 

Other signals include large venture rounds raised by Pinata, Pet Friendly, and Workshop,  a new early-stage venture fund called MOVE Venture Capital, a growing portfolio at the relatively new Proven Ventures and NMotion accelerators, and successful startup events like the monthly Scale Omaha and last year’s Startup Omaha Week that will be returning in late 2023.

The co-founder of Scale Omaha, Craig Heron says, “These trends combined show signs that tech startups are becoming viable businesses to grow in Nebraska. It’s an exciting time to be here as the city and startup ecosystem are brimming with opportunity.”

About Vesta:

Vesta, selected as a 2021 AIM Institute Tech Startup of the Year, is a leading event promotion startup that makes it easy for event organizers to promote their events locally in over 100 markets across the United States. Vesta also has a free event discovery app to help locals find great things to do in their city. The app is currently live and active in Omaha, Nebraska and Minneapolis-St.Paul, Minnesota. 

About Maxwell: 

Maxwell is a FinTech/HRtech startup that helps employers-of-choice retain employees by giving them access to lifestyle benefits that help balance life and work. Employers provide their workforces a monthly budget via Maxwell’s app to shop from hundreds of lifestyle benefits in the marketplace, use on the go with their Maxwell Card, or recognize their peers. Maxwell is live and serves employers across the U.S.

About Techstars:

The Techstars worldwide network helps entrepreneurs succeed. Founded in 2006, Techstars began with three simple ideas—entrepreneurs create a better future for everyone, collaboration drives innovation, and great ideas can come from anywhere. Now we are on a mission to enable every person on the planet to contribute to, and benefit from, the success of entrepreneurs. In addition to operating accelerator programs and venture capital funds, we do this by connecting startups, investors, corporations, and cities to help build thriving startup communities. Techstars has invested in more than 3,000 companies with a combined market cap of more than $140B.


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