Techstars Detroit Powered by J.P. Morgan Accelerator, an early-stage 13-week business accelerator program focused on providing business guidance resources and capital access to traditionally underserved communities, has announced its first cohort of 12 companies.
“As a Black female founder, I couldn’t raise a ‘friends and family’ round for my first startup. Unlike most of my counterparts in other programs, I had to fund my business through my savings,” says Andrea Wallace, founder of Techstars Detroit and CEO of cloud-based technology company Opnr. “Programs like Techstars Detroit will allow us access to connections and resources that tend to be otherwise hard to obtain.”
While all applicants were considered, those from traditionally underserved backgrounds — Black, Hispanic and Latino, Indigenous American, and Pacific Islander — those primed to thrive in an optimized innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem, and those with big ideas and bold vision for solving the world’s problems were targeted.
“We want to revolutionize how venture and innovation are done by using diversity as a force multiplier and a driver to uncover hidden talent,” says Moinca Wheat, managing director of the Techstars Detroit Accelerator in a blog post. “These untapped markets are the largest opportunity in venture.”
According to the post, Black entrepreneurs received just 1.2 percent of U.S. venture capital funding during the first half of 2021, while Latino founders raised only 2 percent of U.S venture capital investments in 2021. This program aims to address the inequity and bridge the racial and ethnic wealth gap through investment, mentorship, and community partnerships.
As a part of this partnership, J.P. Morgan will offer an integrated suite of services to founders in this accelerator that extend beyond the 13-week program. The services will include but are not limited to, access to banking, wealth management, and advisory solutions accessible through local and commercial banking specialists.
The inaugural cohort is made up of:
Capsa Technology Inc. in Lagos, Nigeria — Capsa Technology is an online marketplace that allows businesses to list and trade receivables to finance their working capital requirements.
EZ Vending in Scottsdale, Az. — EZ Vending is a completely contactless B2B SaaS retail tech company for regulated goods.
Gildform in Detroit — Gildform is an on-demand jewelry manufacturing platform offering independent designers and business owners’ access to 3-D printing and jewelry production services.
Good & Well Brands in Detroit — Good & Well Brands is a wellness ecosystem using an omnichannel approach to deliver services, products, and experiences that foster well-being for men across cultures.
LearnHaus in San Francisco — LearnHaus is an AI-based parent-centered learning journey platform helping parents to easily get their kids the right learning-focused tools and activities.
Locus Mobility in Philadelphia — Locus Mobility is a white-label SaaS platform that simplifies the vehicle ownership experience by automating decisions, relationships, and services delivered to owners where they park using data.
Opnr in Grand Rapids — Opnr is a business-to-business, double-sided marketplace platform that uses data to connect musicians with concert organizers offering opener performance opportunities.
Peadbo in Washington, D.C. — Peadbo is an advisory board management tool for individuals rather than businesses.
Pluck.eco in Detroit — Pluck.eco offers sustainable, free-to-customer weekly deliveries from local businesses and vendors.
Socian Technologies in Chicago — Socian Technologies combines deep learning technology with autonomous drones that allow first responders to identify and respond to emergency situations as they happen rapidly and accurately.
SQOR Technologies Inc. in New York City — SQOR makes vital execution data from every software-as-a-service tool easy to access, monitor, and act on for company leadership and investors.
Tour in Ann Arbor — Tour is the first video-based digital leasing assistant that can be installed as an overlay to any apartment website, making it easier for renters to imagine what life really is like living at that property.
“So often, underrepresented founders don’t have the luxury to dream because we are navigating barriers that our counterparts will never know,” says Ashley René Lee, CCO of Peadbo. “This is especially true in the tech space. Techstars and J.P. Morgan are creating opportunities for us to bet on ourselves and win. It’s life-changing, and the impact will be felt for generations.”