Techstars x Underwire: Surbhi Rathore

Surbhi Rathore is the CEO and Co-Founder of, a technology company focused on conversational AI and business outcomes. Surbhi was a participant in the 2019 Techstars Seattle class.

This Q&A was conducted with the help of Samantha Bell from the Techstars Seattle team and has been edited for brevity.

Surbhi Rathore, CEO and Co-Founder of and 2019 Techstars Seattle participant

Surbhi Rathore, CEO and Co-Founder of and 2019 Techstars Seattle participant

In what ways did the program differ from your expectations? What did you have to change and adapt to get through this? 

The Techstars program is a milestone in my journey as a founder. I knew that the program would help us fill in the gaps, but it has been so much more than that. In the past two months it feels like we’ve built our own founder/mentor family who are, and will, continue to support us beyond the program. 

We have a team in India, so I was overseeing a lot of decisions until now. With the schedule of the program, I am taking a step back on day-to-day activities, and I think that has really helped everyone on the team step up and own the territory of their roles.

What have been your top 3 highlights of Techstars Seattle?

  1. The Techstars network effect is phenomenal. We’ve been able to access a network of mentors, alumni, investors, customers, and partners that would have been extremely difficult to access outside of the program. This has helped accelerate our company faster than we could do on our own.

  2. I always look forward to “Mentor Thursdays,” where we spend the whole day with our lead mentors.  

  3. Connecting with the other startups and the Techstars staff. I always look forward to “Highs and Lows” on Fridays. It’s where we literally talk about anything and everything from the week over drinks and snacks. I also loved the Founders Retreat, where we spent three days in a remote location focusing on leadership workshops and connecting with our peers. 

What experiences have you seen that set female founders or CEOs apart from their male counterparts?

I think women look at work differently than men. In addition to being great at understanding and handling finances, we connect with the customers and our team on a different level. Not that male founders don't, but I have seen this connection in a lot of female founders throughout my journey so far.

What gets you excited about the start-up scene around Seattle?

We are headquartered in San Jose, so we’ve experienced the startup scene in the Bay Area. Seattle has been amazing. The people here, especially Techstars alumni and mentors, have a give-first attitude towards the new community that I love. It’s great to feel like we are a part of this big startup family here in Seattle.

Why did you apply for this particular accelerator program?

Seattle is the center of technology, and there are super successful companies that have come out of here, especially in the space we operate in—AI in conversations.

Plus, after talking to Chris Devore and Aviel Ginzburg, the program's Managing Directors, we were convinced the Techstars Seattle Accelerator was where we wanted to be. Those two are amazing! They’re always around and have such deep insight into what we do. Working with them has been just phenomenal.

Thanks to the Techstars’ Diversity and Inclusion team for supporting this collaboration. Learn more about the Techstars program.