Startups from Y Combinator, TechStars, Dave McClure’s 500 Startups and Idealab tell us what life feels like, including being rejected by Y Combinator and successfully reapplying!

Although you could easily imagine that this would be nothing more than a boring ‘boastfest’ about how life is just one big endless party if you’re good enough to be accepted by one of the ‘household name’ programs, there’s enough surprising twists and turns in the turbulent ‘acceleration stories’ of these startups to teach us all a thing or two.

Call it brave if you like, but this event was actually hosted by a (competing? collaborating?) accelerator, called Upsart.LA, in front of an audience of about 200 people, in a session moderated by Upsart.LA’s co-founder, Dan Dato.

Here’s the details of the panel (more information about the event can be found at TechZulu):


“During the past decade, we’ve seen an entrepreneurial boom in the United States, driven in part by economic conditions that have forced people to create a job rather than find a job

In response to this trend, and especially during the past few years as angel investors and venture capitalists have shifted their focus to larger investments in more developed companies, a new breed of investor has emerged around the world to fill the gap and help start-up tech companies succeed.”

Dan Dato. Co-founder, UpStart.LA

  • Joey Flores, founder of Earbits (a Y Combinator company), a music-related marketing platform with interactive radio experiences.
  • Alex Benzer, founder of FanMix (a TechStars company), a social media engine that allows you to find who cares about what and how to engage them.
  • Mark Evans, founder of NetPlenish (a 500 Startups company), a price comparison and shopping subscription tool that helps you replenish the items you use on a daily basis.
  • Rafi Gordon, founder of StyleSpot (an Idealab company), a personalized shopping engine combined with high quality editorial publications.

Here’s some background on the hosts of the event, which was held on Thursday, Nov. 10 2011 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium (SMCA) in Santa Monica, Los Angeles :

UpStart.LA is a startup accelerator based in Los Angeles that helps tech entrepreneurs get their business up and going.

Tech entrepreneurs can take advantage of an intensive three-month program and up to $18,000 of seed capital as well as extensive mentorship and a shared work environment to help entrepreneurs go from idea to product to fundable business.

UpStart.LA’s next three month accelerator program starts on January 9, 2012, and the deadline for application is November 12, 2011.

And here’s some detail on the panel moderator:

Dan Dato is an experienced entrepreneur and veteran senior executive of several venture-backed digital businesses. His passion has always been working with startups.

It’s something that started as a CPA for Arthur Andersen where he served as an advisor to the earliest internet companies, including Auto-by-Tel and Yahoo’s first ad sales agency, and where he was involved in several M&A and IPO deals.

His expertise in digital business has taken him around the globe, living in China & Europe, and includes leading The Motley Fool’s European operations (internet content, community & advertising) and founding a digital marketing strategy firm.

Since returning to the US in 2004, Dan has developed products and built sales & marketing teams with TouchCommerce (SaaS e-commerce chat/IM) and Evryx Technologies (mobile search & marketing), while also serving as an advisor & mentor to several early-stage companies in the areas of product development, strategy & fund raising in a variety of industries such as publishing, education, internet infrastructure and mobile.

Dan has helped his companies raise more than $50 million in venture and corporate financing.