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TechStars Boston picks Katie Rae, formerly at Microsoft, as new managing director

Posted by Scott Kirsner  November 30, 2010 09:01 AM

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katie.pngThe TechStars finishing school for start-ups is announcing today that Katie Rae will be the new managing director of the program's Boston operations. Rae was previously an executive at Microsoft Cambridge, Eons, Lycos, and AltaVista, and for the past few months she has been working with Reed Sturtevant to try to launch a new micro-venture capital firm, Project 11 Ventures.

(Rae was one of 11 people I put on my list last week, "Who Should Run TechStars Boston Next?")

TechStars offers promising start-ups $18,000 in seed funding, plus guidance from seasoned entrepreneurs, in exchange for a six percent stake in the company.

Rae told me last night that she first met TechStars CEO David Cohen and co-founder Brad Feld when they launched the program in Boston in 2009, and she helped bring the TechStars "Demo Day" (when the participating start-ups present to a large audience of prospective investors) to Microsoft's NERD Center in Kendall Square. Both she and Sturtevant, who worked together at Microsoft's Startup Labs, have served as mentors to the start-ups in TechStars' first two Boston classes, when Shawn Broderick was running the program locally.

Rae says she started talking seriously about the gig with Cohen and Feld earlier this month, at the "TechStars for a Day" event in New York.

As the new managing director in Boston, Rae says she plans to "spend the next month listening to people who've gone through the program and have served as mentors, and just ask how we can make this better. The philosophy is one of continual improvement." She says she hopes to bring on more mentors, and another to-do will be finding new office space for the program, which has so far been based in Central Square.

She says that she'll continue working with Sturtevant to get Project 11 up-and-running, noting that the heads of several other TechStars chapters are also early-stage investors.

Update: Here's Rae's blog post (her first) about the new gig.

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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