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Techstars Shakeup: David Cohen returns as CEO as Maëlle Gavet Steps Down

In a move that surprised many within the tech world, Techstars, the international accelerator known for fostering innovative startups, announced a leadership change. Maëlle Gavet, who has served as CEO for the past three and a half years, is stepping down for health reasons. Taking the reins once again will be David Cohen, Techstars’ co-founder and former CEO, who led the company for thirteen years prior to Gavet’s appointment.



A Legacy of Growth: Gavet’s Impact on Techstars

Maëlle Gavet’s tenure at Techstars has been marked by significant growth and transformation. Under her leadership, the company witnessed a surge in investment activity. According to a statement from Techstars, Gavet oversaw over 2,000 startup investments, with a staggering 469 Techstars portfolio companies raising a combined total of over $2.4 billion in 2023 alone. Gavet’s focus on diversity also yielded positive results. By 2023, the percentage of female founders in Techstars programs rose to 25%, and the representation of black and brown founders reached 36%.

However, Gavet’s leadership also involved making tough decisions. Several accelerator programs in locations like Austin, Toronto, and Seattle were shut down during her tenure, a move aimed at streamlining operations and focusing resources on areas with higher potential returns.

In a heartfelt message on LinkedIn, Gavet revealed that her decision to step down stemmed from a personal health battle. Eleven years ago, she underwent surgery to remove cancerous nodules from her thyroid. While the surgery was successful, Gavet acknowledges the need to prioritize her health, stating, “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 as she addresses what is ahead.”

A Familiar Face Returns: David Cohen Reassumes Leadership

David Cohen’s return to the CEO role signifies a period of stability for Techstars. Cohen, a co-founder of the company, has been instrumental in Techstars’ success story. He previously served as CEO for thirteen years, leaving a legacy of innovation and growth.


In a press release, Cohen expressed his gratitude to Maëlle Gavet, acknowledging her accomplishments and her commitment to Techstars. He stated, “Over the past three and a half years, we have accomplished a great deal under Maëlle’s leadership. She built a great team, made many tough decisions, and bravely enacted complex changes that were sorely needed.” Cohen went on to emphasize his dedication to Techstars’ mission and his excitement about returning to the helm. “While I am excited to be back as CEO of Techstars, I was never far away,” he said.

Looking Ahead: Challenges and Opportunities

Techstars, like many companies in the tech sector, faces ongoing challenges. While the company continues to be a significant player in the startup ecosystem, it must navigate a competitive landscape and adapt to the ever-evolving needs of young businesses.

David Cohen’s experience and proven track record position him well to address these challenges. He is likely to focus on several key areas:

  • Maintaining Momentum: Cohen will need to ensure that Techstars continues to attract high-quality startups and secure valuable investment opportunities for its portfolio companies.
  • Global Expansion: Techstars has a presence in several countries, but Cohen may explore further expansion into new markets with high entrepreneurial potential.
  • Adapting to Change: The tech startup landscape is constantly evolving. Cohen will need to ensure that Techstars’ programs and services remain relevant and cater to the needs of new generations of entrepreneurs.

A Community United: Supporting Maëlle Gavet and Techstars’ Future

Maëlle Gavet’s dedication to Techstars and her commitment to fostering diversity within the startup ecosystem are undeniable. The company and its community undoubtedly stand behind her as she prioritizes her health.

David Cohen’s return brings a sense of experience and stability. His focus on continuous improvement and his commitment to providing valuable services for a diverse range of startups are key assets for Techstars’ future. As Techstars navigates the evolving landscape of the tech startup world, it remains a vital resource for fostering innovation and propelling promising young businesses towards success.

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