June 19, 2024
Maelle Gavet, chief executive officer of Ozon.ru, speaks on a panel at the Disrupt Europe 2014 conference in London, U.K., on Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. The TechCrunch event features representatives from global start-up companies involved in industries including medical diagnostics, enterprise mobile tools, and financial technology. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images


Techstars CEO Maëlle Gavet announced on LinkedIn that she is leaving the company at the end of the month for health reasons. Starting today, Techstars co-founder and board chairman David Cohen will become CEO

Gavet became CEO in 2021 and wrote on LinkedIn that she “would not exchange the last 3.5 years of hard work for the world.” She then gave a shoutout to her team, the executive board, the employees, investors, and founders she worked with during her time. 

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

Techstars declined further comment about Gavet’s departure but pointed to its statement posted on its website.

Gavet has had a rocky tenure at Techstars. 

During Gavet’s time as CEO, her leadership style was a subject of controversy, with employees and managing directors accusing her of fostering a tense work environment that led to a significant labor exodus. Techstars also struggled to balance its ambition to scale with its need for profit, and it had tense relationships with corporate partners like JPMorgan Chase that led to high client churn, according to a source. 

Under Gavet, Techstars accelerator programs in Austin, Toronto, Seattle, Sweden, Boulder, and Norway shut down. After Techstars’ relationship with JPMorgan deteriorated, the approximately eight programs funded by that $80 million partnership — including in Miami, Atlanta, and Oakland — are now unlikely to continue. 

In a separate statement posted on the website, Cohen thanked Maëlle for her time at the company. “She built a great team, made many tough decisions, and bravely enacted complex changes that were sorely needed,” the release said. “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 said he was “excited” to be back as CEO of Techstars, a position he has had on and off for 13 years. “I will continue to focus on making Techstars even better for founders,” he wrote. 

Read more:
Inside the ‘cold war’ at Techstars as CEO Maëlle Gavet hires, fires, fights to force change
Techstars’ $80M partnership with J.P. Morgan is on the rocks, employees say
Leaked documents show Techstars lost $7 million in 2023 but still had plenty of cash



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