7 Accelerators and Incubators You Should Know About
Black founders have a tendency to be overlooked in the tech industry. Overall, Black founders represent one percent of venture-backed companies, according to CB Insights. The #ProjectDiane study by DigitalunDivided reported Black women-led startups have raised $289 million in venture capital funding since 2009. This only accounts for .0006 percent of the $424.7 billion raised in venture funding during that time.
Programs like Backstage Accelerator—which last month announced the launch of training programs in four different cities for underrepresented tech founders—offers small companies led by diverse founders support for accessing venture capital to help to build successful businesses.
Check out the list below to learn about some other incubators and accelerators.
In 2017, NewME startup accelerator moved their program from the Silicon Valley to Miami in an effort to better serve entrepreneurs of color.
“The old [accelerator] model works for a particular type of entrepreneur. Our model is more about the entrepreneur and what they want to accomplish,” founder Angela Benton told The Miami Herald.
NewME is known as one of the first accelerator programs geared toward providing support for entrepreneurs of color. Founded in 2011, the accelerator offers more accessible boot camps focused on building long-term relationships with entrepreneurs. NewME has helped diverse founders collectively raise over $43 million in venture capital funding.
The program offers a 12-week online boot camp and one-week long accelerators hosted in their co-working space, Roam, located in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami.
“Many minority entrepreneurs just aren’t able to take 12 weeks out of life,” Benton said.
Last year, NewME received $191,000 in funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to help expand its program.
Candice Matthews joined forces with former NFL player Dhani Jones, and Qey Capital’s Ebow Vroom in 2016 to form the Hillman Accelerator. The program aims to bridge the gap of venture capital distribution and provide underrepresented entrepreneurs with funding, mentorship, and resources.
“We’re called Hillman because that for us was a signal of black excellence,” said executive director Candice Matthews to Cincinnati Refined. The accelerator’s name was inspired by the TV show, A Different World, about a fictional, predominantly Black college.
Hillman Accelerator’s first cohort of three companies raised a combined $3 million and created 22 jobs with plans to generate $3 million in revenue based on signed contracts. The first three participating startups included: Solo Funds, a peer-to-peer lending platform; Aleras, a medical device utilization software for hospital systems; and Warmaloo, a non-electric instant warming blanket.
The second 4-month-program launched in June. In addition to infrastructure support, education, and strategy guidance—each startup receives seed investments of $100,000.
Founder Gym launched their online training program for underrepresented tech startup founders earlier this year. The accelerator recently announced the rollout of a new cohort designed to serve Black entrepreneurs.
Founder and CEO of Founder Gym Mandela SH Dixon reported demand for access to accelerators is high among Black entrepreneurs. Sixty-two percent of graduates from the program identify as Black. Founder Gym—who recently announced the launch of an accelerator cohort exclusively for Black founders—solely operates their program online with training designed to dig into how to raise venture capital funding.
Since its inception, Founder Gym has served over 170 underrepresented founders who have collectively raised $20 million (and counting). They have also served founders from all over the world including, Jamaica, Colombia, Nigeria, Egypt, Mexico, Canada, the UK, and US.
Their two newest cohorts are slated to begin in January. Applications are due November 25th.
Former Dell executive Preston James and Dana Callender co-founded DivInc, an Austin-based nonprofit pre-accelerator program focused on providing underrepresented entrepreneurs resources to help launch successful businesses.
James launched DivInc after recognizing the need for more intentional programming that’s geared toward preparing diverse founders to compete in the tech workforce.
DivInc accelerator is a 12-week program targeting diverse tech founders to help them access a network of resources.
This innovation center offers startup entrepreneurs support through various programs providing valuable insight on how to raise funding, office space, and mentorship.
The Farm hosts an Atlanta-based training program twice a year offering ten startups a spot to participate in a 12-week accelerator. Their unique model focuses on the holistic development of the entrepreneur, rather than solely focusing on raising funding. The program aims to help founders build lasting companies.
Founders selected for each cohort are given $20,000 in seed funding and access to a network of mentors.
The Farm is part of Comcast NBCUniversal and powered by Boomtown Accelerators, a Boulder, Colorado-based accelerator. In addition to the accelerator, the center also supports founders working on hardware products through The Hardware Lab and provides collaborative workspaces for teams.
They are currently accepting applications for their Spring 2019 cohort.
Known as one of the most influential accelerators in the startup world, Y Combinator has helped launched several well-known tech companies including Reddit (s2005), Scribd (s2006), Dropbox (s2007), and Airbnb (w2009).
Y Combinator leaders have made pushes to increase diversity among the founders in their cohort. In their Winter 2017 cohort, 8.6 percent of the founders were Black, and 4.3 percent of the startups had a Latinx founder.
Founders selected to participate in the program receive a small investment and are required to relocate to the Bay Area for three months. During the three months, founders meet with Y Combinator partners for group office hours bi-weekly and have access to industry experts.
The accelerator hosts a Demo Day for founders to present their ideas to investors. Y Combinator hosts companies twice a year, January-March and June-August.
Named after the year of the Great Chicago Fire, 1871 celebrates innovation and passion through supporting founders of digitally-enabled startups. The organization has a mission to grow tech jobs in Chicago through networking opportunities, training, and co-working spaces.
1871 is home to several programs serving startup founders across industries with accelerators that focus on food service, real estate as well as affinity-based cohorts like The Latinx Incubator, and the mentorship-driven Techstars program.
Accelerator members have access to in-house services like communications support and recruiting services as well as unlimited access to over 30 events each month.
Know any other accelerator programs serving underrepresented founders? Hit us up on Twitter and let us know!