Techstars CEO Mäelle Gavet Steps Down


Techstars CEO Maelle Gavet announced on LinkedIn that she will be stepping down from her role at the end of the month for health reasons. Effective immediately, Techstars co-founder and board chairman David Cohen will assume the position of CEO.

Gavet, who took on the CEO role in 2021, expressed on LinkedIn that she “would not exchange the last 3.5 years of hard work for the world.” She extended her gratitude to her team, the executive board, employees, investors, and founders she collaborated with during her tenure.

“I will be cheering for all of you from the sidelines and will remain a supporter of Techstars.”

Techstars declined further comment on Gavet’s departure but directed attention to a statement published on its website.

Gavet’s tenure at Techstars has been challenging.

Her leadership style faced criticism, with employees and managing directors alleging that she fostered a tense work environment, resulting in significant employee turnover. Additionally, Techstars grappled with balancing its growth ambitions with profitability and faced strained relationships with corporate partners like J.P. Morgan Chase, leading to high client churn, according to a source.

During Gavet’s time, Techstars shut down accelerator programs in locations including Austin, Toronto, Seattle, Sweden, Boulder, and Norway. Following the deterioration of Techstars’ relationship with J.P. Morgan, the roughly eight programs funded by that $80 million partnership—including Miami, Atlanta, and Oakland—are now unlikely to continue.

In a separate statement on the website, Cohen expressed his gratitude to Maelle for her contributions to the company. “She built a great team, made many tough decisions, and bravely enacted complex changes that were sorely needed,” the statement read. “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’s ahead.”

Cohen mentioned that he was “excited” to return as CEO of Techstars, a role he has held intermittently for thirteen years. “I will continue to focus on making Techstars even better for founders,” he wrote.

Dominic-Madori Davis
Dominic-Madori Davis
Dominic-Madori Davis is a senior venture capital and startup reporter. She is based in New York City.

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