A month or so ago I wrote a post laying out the different roles I fill across the various organizations I help – in part this was in reaction to some concerns expressed by colleagues about my using the moniker “analyst”. Partly though it was to place a stake in the ground and let people know exactly what I do on a daily basis. To summarize, my different roles fall into four distinct buckets:

  • Commentary
  • Consulting
  • Advisory Work
  • Investment

Clearly my decision was warranted as I’ve seen a steady increase in contact from startups and other organizations wishing to utilize some of my time. It dawned on me though that a pure 1 to 1 basis for advisory and mentoring work was less than scalable and that I needed to find a way to reach more people – especially given my geographic location. As a non-analyst I have many opportunities open to me that I hadn’t previously.

Fortuitously I had been talking with Jason Seats, managing director of TechStars Cloud – he was keen for me to sign on as a mentor for the next TechStars Cloud program in San Antonio early next year. I love the TechStars concept – I’m a big fan of Brad Feld, co-founder of TechStars and VC with the Foundry Group and previously took the opportunity to present to this years TechStars Cloud companies when I was visiting Texas for SXSW.

Just looking at the success that TechStars companies have post demo day is a real validation of the program – it creates amazing team building opportunities, awesome visibility for the startups involved and fantastic access to angels and early stage investors. In fact one of the companies on TechStars Cloud this year is Cloudability, a company I was a very early advisor and investor in. Cloudability found the program hugely valuable and soon after demo day picked up an impressive Series A led by Foundry Group.

I’m really looking forward to spending time with the TechStars participants this year and helping them find their own path to becoming startup stars – my strong advice for anyone that has a startup in the cloud space is to apply – San Antonio may not be the place you want to spend three months, but the experience will be invaluable!

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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