Welcome to The Hub, your spot for venture capital, accelerator and incubator news. In this redesigned version of our news roundup, we’ll provide you with the latest on organizations working to support, educate and fund innovators and their ideas. We’ll highlight cohort applications, people to know in the incubator world and programs working to give resources to those who typically don’t have access elsewhere. As always, we’re focused on underrepresented entrepreneurs — such as women, people of color, and those geographically outside power centers — and organizations supporting these demographics.
Have a piece of news you think will fit into this roundup? Email it to Skyler Rossi at [email protected]. Bonus points to anyone who can identify The Hub photo above.
Wells Fargo Support For Minority CleanTech Entrepreneurs
The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator, a $50 million partnership between the Wells Fargo Foundation and the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, awarded $350,000 to four U.S. incubators in its network to create more opportunities for minority entrepreneurs in the cleantech space, according to a news release. Incubators submitted proposals of its plans to provide more resources to underrepresented innovators in the space. The rewards are part of its Channel Partner Awards, which are presented to members of its network twice a year.
The four incubators who received funds are:
- Southfield, Michigan-based Centrepolis Accelerator, which will use the funds to provide free and discounted research and development services for entrepreneurs who live in underinvested neighborhoods of Detroit, Hamtramck, Pontiac, Southfield, Jackson, and Flint.
- Memphis-based AgLaunch, which will use the funds to create an accelerator program for minority founders and farmers. AgLaunch plans to work with historically Black colleges and universities near it, including Tennessee State University, to increase the diversity of founders in the AgLaunch pipeline. The funds will also go toward its 48-Hour Launch, a program for underrepresented high school students to develop technology and entrepreneurship skills focused on solving problems in food and agriculture.
- Elemental Excelerator, which has locations in Honolulu and East Palo Alto, California, will put the funds toward its existing $4 million program, called Equity IN-novation, that supports BIPOC-led cleantech startups.The initiative includes culturally specific executive coaching, introductions to Elemental Excelerator’s network of investors and industry leaders, business mentorship and communications support for BIPOC founders.
- Denver-based Innovation Corridor, which will use the funds to launch an accelerator program to support BIPOC cleantech entrepreneurs and connect them with established stakeholders, resources and capital
TikTok Incubator for Black Creators Kicks Off
Popular social media app TikTok has selected 100 Black creators and musicians from 5,000 applicants for its three-month incubator program, which it announced in January, according to a news release. The program, which started last week, will provide “motivational town halls, community-building forums and educational events” from TikTok’s team, Black business leaders and celebrities, the release outlines.
The incubator was created in partnership with Los Angeles-based MACRO, a multiplatform media company that “represents the voice and perspectives of persons of color,” to establish a grant for the selected creators, according to a January release. However It’s unclear how much the grant is and how much funds each creator will receive, if any at all. Representatives from MACRO and TikTok could not be reached for comment.
The incubator comes months after TikTok was called out for racism and marginalization on the app — many people of color felt their content wasn’t given the same opportunity to perform well or was removed completely because of racism. TikTok apologised in a June statement, writing “We acknowledge and apologize to our Black creators and community who have felt unsafe, unsupported or suppressed.”
Comcast NBCUniversal’s First Sports Innovation Incubator
The first cohort of Comcast NBCUniversal’s first annual sports technology accelerator began on Monday, VentureBeat reports. The company announced last week that it selected 10 startups for its first cohort, each with sports technology innovations such as media and entertainment, athlete performance and audience engagement. Each startup will receive $50,000 and training from Comcast NBCUniversal and partner Boomtown Accelerators, which is based in Boulder, Colorado. The ten were selected from over 5,000 applicants from 70 countries, according to the article.
People To Know
Kansas Plug and Play
Lindsay Lebahn is the first hire of Topeka, Kansas’ Plug and Play, a startup accelerator based in Silicon Valley that has more than 30 locations across the world, the Topeka Capital-Journal reports. Lebahn is the former director of Topeka’s Forge Young Professionals group and will manage Topeka Plug and Play. The accelerator launched in Topeka in October 2020, according to the journal.. Each of the company’s accelerators are designed to take advantage of the region’s strengths. The accelerator plans to hold two cohorts a year that will each be three months long. Its goal is to attract entrepreneurs to Topeka and the surrounding areas, including Manhattan, Kansas and Kansas City.
DoorDash To Aid 100 Minority Restaurant Owners in U.S. Cities
Food delivery app company DoorDash announced Tuesday a new accelerator program, which will provide funding and resources to women, immigrants and people of color who restaurants in major U.S. cities, according to a DoorDash blog post. The program, called Main Street Strong Accelerator, was created with San Francisco-based Accion Opportunity Fund. One hundred businesses will complete an eight-week curriculum, receive $20,000, have access to industry mentors, and obtain free marketing materials, according to the programs website. The program runs three hours per week from April 5 to May 28. Restaurant owners with restaurants operating for more than two years in New York City, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago or Philadelphia who have less than 50 employees and less than three locations are eligible to apply. Applications are due March 2.
Gener8tor and Georgia-Pacific Team Up To Launch Incubator
Milwaukee-based accelerator gener8tor and Atlanta-based Georgia-Pacific, a manufacturer of tissue, pulp, paper and packaging, are partnering to create a new accelerator in Neenah, Wisconsin, where Georgia-Pacific’s company product R&D center is located, according to a press release. The accelerator, called 1915 Studios, is for early-stage companies. The first round of the free, 12-week program will accept five teams focused on hygiene, internet of things technology and sensory technology and provide them with resources and connections to Georgia-Pacific. The first cohort will start June 3 and a second one will run in the fall. Applications for the summer are open and due April 16. Anyone is eligible to apply, though the cohort will be in person.
Toronto Search Fund Incubator Launches For Black Canadians
A Toronto-based, Black entrepreneur-focused search fund program, called Black Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition Incubator will be training entrepreneurs on acquiring companies, according to a press release. The program is based on the Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition model, a method of growing a business through acquiring existing companies. Participants will be partnered with mentors to support them through a successful close. Ten searchers will be selected for its first cohort, which will begin this summer, according to Debbie Stojanovic, who sits on its Board of Directors. Applications for the program are now open on its website and due May 1.
Georgia 5G Incubator Seeks Robotics Startups
T-Mobile, Georgia Tech and Curiosity Lab launched a 5G incubator at T-Mobile’s technology park in Peachtree Corners, Georgia, according to a press release. The incubator is looking for innovators to develop autonomous vehicles, robotics, industrial drone applications, mixed reality training and entertainment, remote medical care, personal health and fitness wearables, and more, according to the release. This new incubator is an expansion of T-Mobile’s accelerator and managed in collaboration with Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center. Startups will have access to the park’s Curiosity Lab, which includes a 25,000-square-foot innovation center and a three-mile autonomous test track, and T-Mobile will provide advice for its 5G network. Startups that are interested can apply here.
Northeastern Launches AI Incubator in Portland, Maine.
Applications are open for the Roux Institute Techstars Accelerator, a Portland, Maine-based program created by Northeastern University’s Roux Institute and Boulder, Colorado-based Techstars to support startups, according to a Northeastern news article. Ten startup companies from around the world will be selected to participate in the 13-week program, which will provide them with funding, mentors and other resources. The incubator is looking for companies innovating solutions in artificial intelligence, advanced life sciences and data, according to the article. Applications opened last week and are due May 12. The Roux Institute launched last year with a $100 million investment from entrepreneur and Maine native David Roux. The accelerator is part of the institute’s larger effort to spur entrepreneurial growth in Portland.
500 Startups Launches Saudi Accelerator
Silicon Valley-based 500 Startups is partnering with venture capital firm Sanabil Investments to launch the Sanabil 500 MENA Seed Accelerator Program in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, according to a news release. Pre-seed and seed stage startups selected by 500 Startups for one of the six, 12-week programs expected to run over three years will receive $100,000 investment from the accelerator’s fund. Founders will be coached by 500 Startups investors and learn skills such as fundraising and pitching. Applications are open for companies located in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East and North Africa region until March 7.