Troy Henikoff

Troy is the Managing Director of TechStars Chicago. His last 25 years have been spent starting, running and advising early stage technology companies including SurePayroll, OneWed, Amacai and Jellyvision.


adjunct Teacher

What are you most excited about teaching?

I'm excited to take people who can actually build software, help them solve the problems that are in their heads, and teach them the entrepreneurial skills to be able to put those all together to create a business. I think it's going to be amazing to work with people who have the business sense to be able to see that business opportunity, and at the same time have enough technical skills to be able to build the product and see it through to fruition.

Can you talk about the quality of instruction you've experienced as a student?

I'm in a unique position because I've been both a student and a teacher, and I do both all the time. I feel like I'm constantly learning. When I went through The Starter League last Fall I was blown away by the quality of teaching, Raghu and Jeff in particular. I'm very critical of teachers but they had an uncanny ability to take these very complex subjects and apply them to very real and concrete situations that enabled the students with a variety of backgrounds to learn, absorb, and reproduce what they were teaching.

The use of pair-programing is shockingly effective. You have two people to a computer and what naturally happens is that one person is struggling more than the other. The one who is having trouble should be at the keyboard trying while the other person attempts to explain what to do. They both benefit and both learn more than they would on their own. if you really understand something, try to teach it to somebody. The process of explaining a complex idea tests your ability to think through it in a clear concise manner and will highlight how well you really understand the concept. It was amazing how quickly we learned, and how much we learned in such a short period of time in that class.

What expectations will you have of your students?

Starter School is not going to be easy at all. The expectations are high, but there is a natural filter - for someone to take this on, you have to quit your day job, write a check, join starter school, you have to be committed, that's the only way you can do it. You can't do this halfway.



Tuition for Starter School is $12,000 per quarter, excluding housing, materials, and personal expenses. A refundable deposit of $3,000 will be required in order to confirm your acceptance. One week before the start of each quarter a payment of $12,000 must be made. For example, the Winter quarter begins on January 6, so a payment of $12,000 would be due no later than December 30.

Cost Breakdown
Fall quarter -$12,000
Winter quarter $12,000
Spring quarter $12,000
Total $24,000

Do you offer loans and scholarships?

Currenty we don't offer loans or financial aid. However, we are actively working with loan providers and the government to make Starter School more affordable. In the meantime, please reach out to us at so we can learn more about your situation.

How have other students financed their tuition?

Our students have creatively raised funds for Starter School in numberous ways. They've sourced online donations, secured company sponsorship, created friends and family loans, and even sold their cars. The students who have given up the most tend to get the most out of the program. They treat it like a serious, life-changing investment— which is exactly what it is.

A New Way to Pay For Starter School

We are excited to announce a partnership with Upstart, a platform that allows individuals to get financial investment to pursue their dream careers. This partnership allows current students and future Starter School students to raise funding for Starter School tuition.

Here are the requirements to qualify for Upstart:

  1. You must be a U.S. citizen, or permanent resident currently living in the US
  2. Be at least 18 years old;
  3. Have a valid e-mail account;
  4. Have a verifiable name, date of birth, and social security number
  5. Have graduated from a 4-year (bachelor's degree) accredited college in 1995 or later or be accepted by and soon to enroll in a 4-year accredited (bachelor's degree) college;
  6. Have an account at a U.S. financial institution with a routing transit number; and
  7. Meet our minimum credit requirements.