36. Katie Rae

Managing director, TechStars Boston

36. Katie Rae

The Accelerator’s Accelerant

In three years, Katie Rae has turned the startup accelerator TechStars into a thriving innovation hub and spun out a boot camp for aspiring entrepreneurs called Boston Startup Institute. Her strategies for helping:


Rae connects newcomers with experienced entrepreneurs who struggled with similar problems. “If you see successful people ahead of you who had to face similar things, it’s so much less lonely,” she says.

To get founders to think critically about their actions, “I go around the table with the team and point out what I see and ask, ‘Where are my perceptions right?’ ” she says.

On a giant piece of paper, she has founders map out everyone involved in a company. “Then we simplify the map,” she says. “As soon as it clicks on what’s core to their business, they let go of all the stuff that has been getting in their way.”

[Illustration by TK]

About the author

Sarah Kessler is a senior writer at Fast Company, where she writes about the on-demand/gig/sharing "economies" and the future of work.