June 15, 2011
Minority Startups Get Big Push From New Me Accelerator
There’s a big difference between consuming technology and creating it. Angela Benton, the Principle of Black Web 2.0, along with partners Wayne Sutton and Toby Morning will help other African Americans make headway in the creation department. On June 16 the trio will launch the New Me Accelerator, which is the first minority led tech accelerator in Silicon Valley. The focus of this project is to get minority tech startups off the ground and exposed to the Silicon Valley startup culture.
The New Me Accelerator has already been met with a lot of support from the Silicon Valley community, which includes sponsors like Google, Kapor Capital, Gunderson Dettmer, Tagged, Interactive One, Syncom, Bronze, and Justin.tv. The interest proves that talent has no color and that smart companies will tap the talent pool for innovative thinkers with great ideas that have the potential to make money.
This accelerator will afford 12-minority startups (eight visiting and four local) the opportunity to be mentored by industry leaders and successful veteran startup tech entrepreneurs. The nine-week incubator is designed to enable participating startups to develop their products, build their network, and pitch in front of Venture Capitalists (VCs), Angel Investors, and the media.
The accelerator programming is broken up into four key sections, including:
- Weekly private dinners that will allow participates to have informal conversations and the opportunity to pick the brains of industry elite.
- Mentorship sessions to develop participants’ products. There are 39 mentors, including MC Hammer (Dance Jam), Stuart Crabtree (Facebook), and Tristan Walker (Foursquare).
- Co-working environments such as the Citizen Space in San Francisco and the New Me Accelerator House in Mountain View, where the visiting startups will live.
- Demo day where each of the startups can pitch their products to VCs, Angels Investors and the media with one of the goals being to get funded.
You can follow the New Me Accelerator program’s activity throughout the summer through live updates and content at blackweb20.com. or newmeaccelerator.com. There’s also the Twitter handle @NewMeAccel and the hashtag #newme11.
Hajj Flemings is a weekly technology columnist for BlackEnterprise.com, founder of Brand Camp University, and the author of the book Brand YU Life. As a speaker and brand strategist, he works with some of the largest brands, covering the topics of branding and digital technology. Check back next Wednesday for his next column. Until then, continue the conversation on Hajj’s BE Insider page at beinsider.ning.com/HajjEFlemings.