Welcome to The Hub, your spot for ecosystem and accelerator news. In this news roundup, we 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.
If you have a piece of news or a job listing you think will fit into this roundup, email it to Skyler Rossi at [email protected].
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Relocating To Buffalo May Not Be As Crazy As It Sounds
The recent success of one Black-founded startup, Squire, is drawing new attention to the city and the startup competition that took a risk on it. Whether that’s enough to draw entrepreneurs into the Buffalo weather — snowfall yearly averages are near 100 inches — is another question.
In 2017, Dave Salvant and Songe LaRon relocated their company Squire, a booking and management platform for barber shops, to Buffalo. The two had just won $650,000 as the runner-ups at the 43North startup competition, which required them to move their company to the city in upstate New York for a year. Four years later, Squire’s Buffalo office remains its largest, with about a third of its employees located in the city.
“Buffalo is core to who we are at Squire,” Salvant told BuffaloInno last month. “We have leadership in Buffalo, and we will continue to build out that infrastructure and talent pool in Buffalo.”
Squire doubled its valuation to $250 million last year, according to the release. To date, it’s raised a little more than $100 million, with investors including basketball star Steph Curry and musician Pharell Williams, according to Crunchbase data. The number is significant, considering only $1 billion of venture capital went to Black founders last year.
“It was very difficult for us to raise money early on because many investors didn’t see the vision of how big our market could get,” LaRon shared during a February Yahoo Finance panel. “They didn’t understand how big a barbershop business really was.”
43North has been in operation since 2014. The group’s sponsors include New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Empire State Development and Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. More than half of its winners — about 30 startups– are still present in the city, according to a 43North representative.
It’s reopening its competition for the first time since before the pandemic, with applications due July 19. Winners receive a $1 million dollar investment, and seven more startups get $500,000 investments, in exchange for 5% equity, according to its website. Winners also must relocate to Buffalo, along with 50% of their staff, for at least a year, its website outlines.
43North’s portfolio of 51 companies is 31% founders of color and 23% female founders. It has invested $30 million into its startups. One, a Buffalo-based online vehicle selling and buying platform called ACV Auctions, went public in March.
“On the heels of major portfolio traction, most notably ACV’s IPO, Buffalo has shown itself as a credible city where entrepreneurs can build a successful company and accelerate growth,” said Colleen Heidinger, the president of 43North, in the news release. “We’re eager to see the innovation that this year’s competition attracts.”
Petersen Auto Museum Offers Funding
A new program out of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles aims to “empower and develop women in the automotive industry.” The museum, whose Foundation’s revenue was more than $24 million in 2018 according to its 990 form, in partnership with $9.5 billion-company Rolex, is offering one $25,000 grant and three-month mentorship each go-around of the program, which will be twice a year, according to its website.
The museum’s chief operating officer Michael Bodell says this first program is a way for the museum to feel out running an incubator, since it’s its first time, and hopes in the future to support more than one person at a time.
“This is kind of our testbed,” he said. “And then from here, hopefully, we will fan it out with more funds, and also more diversity in what programs are being funded.”
California-based women who own automotive-related companies with less than five employees are eligible to apply. A committee of female leaders in the automotive industry, including Diane Parker, the vice president of the Historic Vehicle Association and Dr. Sabrina Kay, CEO of Fremont Private Investments, will select the startup. Applications are due July 31.
500 IT Jobs In Miami
Kaseya, a global IT management provider with its U.S. headquarters in Miami, announced last month that it’s planning to hire 500 new employees for its Miami office by the end of next year, according to a news release. It plans to grow its sales, marketing, and customer support teams, and hire cybersecurity analysts for its new Managed Security Operations Center.
It’s one of numerous companies that have bulked up operations in the Florida city recently as the pandemic accelerated the move of many entrepreneurs and investors out of cities such as New York and San Francisco. “Miami is on the fast-track to becoming the next tech hub, and Kaseya is fueling that growth,” according to the release. “The company has been headquartered in Miami since 2004, and is passionate about tapping into the local Miami market for tech talent.”
Female-Led Fund in Japan Hopes To Boost Startups Through ESG
Former Goldman Sachs vice chair Kathy Matsui is launching a fund with a handful of other female executives in Japan that hopes to invest $150 million in Japanese startups in sectors such as health care, fintech, next generation work, education and the environment, Bloomberg News reports. The fund is a “rarity in Japan for its female leadership,” the article states. Its thesis is heavily focused on ESG, Matsui told Bloomberg, which she says is a missing link for many Japanese startups to go global. By investing in growth to late-stage startups, the fund will hope to make an imprint on their values before they go public, ensuring more inclusion of women.
$20k for Founders of Color in Louisville and Southern Indiana
Louisville, Kentucky-based Render Capital has launched a new program that aims to provide grants to Black and Brown entrepreneurs in Louisville and Southern Indiana, according to a news release.The program will provide 20 $5,000 grants to local businesses at “the earliest stage of business development.” For-profit organizations located in Jefferson County, Kentucky or Clark and Floyd County, Indiana are eligible for the grant. The group has partnered with Louisville Urban League, Louisville-based Russell: A Place of Promise, Louisville-based GEDDI and Louisville-based Change Today, Change Tomorrow to help select the startups. Each will choose five by the end of the year, according to the release.
Austin Funder For Women Launches in San Antonio
Austin-based Beam, a nonprofit working to fund female entrepreneurs, is launching in San Antonio, Texas, the San Antonio Report writes. The move is part of a larger shift to San Antonio from umbrella foundation Notley. Beam was founded in September and has since funded 11 companies a collective $1 million, according to the article. Notely, which aims to drive social change through the market, is backed by Lew Moorman, a San Antonio co-founder of the Scaleworks technology investment firm, the 80/20 Foundation and The Tobin Endowment. Notely is also bringing to San Antonio its two-year fellowship program for entrepreneurs interested in social impact.
Names to Know
Frank Hopper is the new managing director at St. Louis accelerator Capital Innovators, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. Hopper previously held a role as the group’s program director for more than two years, according to his Linkedin profile.
Eric Sonnier is a new director of Kingston, Jamaica-based TECH Beach Retreat’s accelerator programs, Jamaica Observer reports. Sonnier joined the team in March and leads the group’s recently launched accelerator program TBR Lab. He’s the co-founder of two tech startups, a crowdfunding program called Local Lift and a legal data collection service called Oliver Technology, according to his Linkedin profile. He also graduated from Y Combinator and other accelerators himself, according to the article.
Gener8tor Adds New Programs
Milwaukee-based national accelerator gener8tor announced two new programs last week — one in Peoria, Illinois and another in Oklahoma City, the Milwaukee Business Journal reports. In Peoria, the accelerator is partnering with OSF HealthCare, Peoria County, Hanson Professional Services, Central Illinois Angels and Attollo, according to a news release. The program has partnered with the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, Inasmuch Foundation, Square Deal Capital, American Fidelity, Oklahoma State University, the University of Oklahoma and Love’s Travel Stops in Oklahoma City, according to an Oklahoma City release. Both locations will offer two annual programs. Applications for the Oklahoma City and Peoria program are due Sept. 6.
Applications Open For TechWomen Rising Accelerator
Tampa Bay Wave is seeking female entrepreneurs for its TechWomen Rising Accelerator, a 90-day program that aims to connect selected entrepreneurs with investors and customers, according to its website. The accelerator is funded by a $500,000 commitment from JP Morgan Chase. Startups must be operating in Florida with a viable business plan. Entrepreneurs also must be able to travel to Tampa three times during the program, which runs September through November. Applications are due July 31.In 2017, Dave Salvant and Songe LaRon relocated their company Squire, a booking and management platform for barber shops, to Buffalo, New York. It’s a city most wouldn’t initially pin as a place to build a tech startup.