It seems like just yesterday we closed out the first NewME Conference, #goodTimes. While small, we got a lot of good information and data on what is needed to make technology focused start-ups successful. And by successful we mean either operating in the black or experiencing a liquidity event. Entrepreneurs, private equity, business leaders, and key members of government all came together last May and what we came up with was no surprise but confirmed theories we each had individually.
Several things stuck out that day but the key takeaways were minority-led tech entrepreneurs needed:
1. Mentorship from people who have led or been involved in the day-to-day of successful start-ups.
2. Access to early stage capital (especially since minorities often don’t raise formal friend and family rounds)
As the year trickled on and I got the opportunity to speak with many more Founders informally and even from talks I gave at places like Google. The lifecycle of what I think needs to occur developed. Without successful exits from minority-led start-ups we forgo creating new angle investors, venture capitalist, mentors, role models, and more start-ups. And the importance of producing these start-ups goes above and beyond just being good for the economy. It also helps students (pre-k through college) see the opportunity that can exist for them. We’ll slowly but surely start to change the way students think and start getting them to major in Computer Science instead of an entertainment or sports related fields. The panel I spoke on a week or so ago at Howard University hit this home even more for me. The panel was about small business but I was excited and proud to see students stand-up to ask questions of the panelist with the goal of starting a business in the digital space. Below is a slide that I think will help illustrate the lifecycle that I think is needed. Like all things I’m sure this will change and refine as we all gather more information and experience new lessons.
With all that said I’m super excited to announce that we’ll be launching the NewME Accelerator this summer in Silicon Valley with Semantic Seed and Wayne Sutton. Seven Founders will be based in Mountain View from June through August and will participate in weekly private dinners with Angle Investors, Venture Capitalist, Entrepreneurs, and other heavyweights. They’ll also have access to an insanely impressive list of people who have graciously donated their time and agreed to participate as mentors. The speakers and mentors have an unspeakable amount of experience and come from companies like Twitter, Path, Foursquare, TechStars, SoftTechVC, and a lot of others, you can check the full list out on the site there.
The Founders will have the option of working from Mountain View where we’ll be based or working from Citizen Space in the ever so popular SoMA area of San Fran. Last but not least the summer will close with a Demo Day where the start-ups involved can pitch the product they’ve been working on to potential investors and others from the start-up community. We’ll also be including local minority led-start-ups in the Bay Area in the festivities; they just won’t be staying in the house.
While we are an accelerator the start-ups that are involved aren’t receiving any kind of investment from us. They also aren’t guaranteed an investment from their Pitch at the Demo Day. This is pure, unadulterated, balls to the wall, entrepreneurship. And the entrepreneurs who are involved are doing what entrepreneurs do best. Taking a risk.
If you’re a risk taker then we have 2 slots left and you can pitch your start-up on the NewME Accelerator site. The deadline for submissions is April 29th and we’ll announce the lucky two shortly after.
There is only one word that will describe this summer. EPIC.