MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA -- This month Silicon Valley welcomed the first ever technology accelerator for minority-led start-ups, NewME Accelerator. NewME's select participants commenced their first class on June 16 and will participate in this program throughout the summer. The start-up founders are based in a shared house in Mountain View, Calif. and are utilizing co-working space at Citizen Space in San Francisco.
The nine-week “startup camp” gives participants assistance with ideas and development, access to leaders and possible mentors, and exposure to the Silicon Valley startup culture.
Over the previous several weeks, NewMe put out a request for minority startups to submit their ideas (regardless of whether or not it was just an idea, in development, or an actual product). As a result, 12 startups were selected and the invitation was extended to spend nine weeks in Silicon Valley (lodging, local transportation, and other accommodations provided by the program) to attend small workshops and sessions, and to network with leaders in the technology startup industry.
This program gives the founders a unique opportunity to learn from key industry leaders during private group dinners and one-on-one mentorship. The founders will leverage this once-in-a-lifetime access, and being in the epicenter of Silicon Valley's culture, for nine weeks to take their ventures to the next level. Speakers and mentors will include representatives from successful start-ups such as Tagged, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Zynga Games. The accelerator concludes with a demo day at Kapor Capital August 2nd where founders will pitch their products to various investors and members of the start-up community.
"The amount of support and interest from the Silicon Valley community in the NewME Accelerator is overwhelming," shared Founder & co-Producer Angela Benton. "It serves as a testament to not only the need for a program like this, but also to the excitement and stewardship of the mentors and companies who are participating. We are thrilled about this summer and the companies and individuals who've agreed to be involved."
The accelerator provides housing, transportation and other basic living needs in addition to the mentorship and access to some of the industry's elite minds. The intent of the program is to remove some of the barriers involved with being an entrepreneur and help pave the way for even greater success. The program is supported by various sponsors who support not only the program's mission but entrepreneurship in general. Many of the program's supporters view their participation in the 9 week long program as an opportunity to connect with budding entrepreneurs and expand their own businesses.
"Whether it is with our 100 million registered users or our own employees, everyday Tagged celebrates diversity and the entrepreneurial spirit. The opportunity to partner with the Accelerator is a natural fit for us," said Greg Tseng co-founder and CEO of Tagged. "In addition to helping racially diverse entrepreneurs get their start, as my co-founder and I once did, our involvement also helps us connect with and ultimately attract the best talent to Tagged. The NewME Accelerator is providing both the entrepreneurs and us with a great opportunity to connect, learn and teach."
NewME has a total of thirteen start-ups participating in its first cycle. Five were pre-selected while the other eight were selected from a large pool of applicants. Eight of the participating companies will travel to Silicon Valley to be housed this summer while the other 5 are Bay area locals. Applications were evaluated by the producers of the accelerator and selected based on concept, quality of pitch, and the problem the product solves in addition to several other criteria.