Welcome to The Hub, your spot for ecosystem and accelerator news. In this 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.
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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Beta Boom Analysis: “Capital is not enough”
More than funding is needed to support minority founders, Salt Lake City-based accelerator Beta Boom said wrote after it analyzed data from Crunchbase to see which cities are supporting minority founders the best.
Beta Boom ranked cities in four categories: cities with the most startups led by diverse founders, cities with the highest proportion of seed deals that involved diverse founders, cities with the greatest number of seed investors focused on minority founders and the ratio between seed deals and number of diverse founders.
Cities that ranked poorly for amount of seed funding going to women, Black and Latinx founders also topped rankings of number of investors focused on funding diverse founders (“investors” in this case means funds). Beta Boom didn’t offer a reason for why that might be, but rather came to the conclusion that funding alone is not the best means to an inclusive ecosystem.
Take Chicago. It ranked 16 out of 17 for the proportion of its capital getting into the hands of diverse founders. Meanwhile, it also ranked #5 on the list for the number of investors focused on funding diverse founders. Looking further, the city actually has the highest ratio of investors seeking to fund minority founders to the underrepresented entrepreneurs looking for funding. “We were perplexed that in certain cities like Chicago, there seems to be a profound lack of correlation between available capital and diversity-led startups getting seed investment,” according to the analysis.
Chicago is not the only one. Charlotte, North Carolina ranked number one for the amount of seed funding getting into the hands of diverse founders, but the analysis also found that its access to capital is quite low.
“Clearly, more rigorous and academically sound research is needed, but even this elementary analysis seems to indicate that money alone does not lead to inclusive startup ecosystems or successful female and underrepresented founders,” according to the analysis.
Sergio Paluch, co-founder of Beta Boom, speculates that the discrepancies could be because investors are funding startups located outside the cities they are based, or it could be that even though a large number of investors are funding women and people of color, it’s still a small amount of their total investments.
“In both cases, and underlying dynamic is that firms might not perceive there to be many venture-ready companies,” he wrote in an email. “This might be a consequence of perception and perhaps relying on out-of-touch criteria, or there really might be a shortage of venture-track startups even reaching the seed stage.”
Interested in which cities are the best hubs for startups? We analyzed dozens and have a ranking. Stay tuned for our Fastest Growing Ecosystem List, coming next week.
EforAll expands to NW Arkansas
Lowell, Massachusetts-based accelerator Entrepreneurship for All has launched new programs in Northwest Arkansas for English and Spanish-speaking founders, according to a press release. The launch is thanks to funding from the Walton Family Foundation, which is based in the area. [Disclosure: The Walton Family Foundation sponsored the Arkansas Reporting Project on Times of Entrepreneurship].
“This region has enjoyed tremendous economic success, but community and business leaders recognize the need to create a more inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystem to meet the needs of all its residents,” said David Parker, CEO of EforAll, in the release. “We believe EforAll and EparaTodos will fill that void by helping those who may not have access to the right resources or tools to start a business and have their own opportunity to flourish in the local community.”
Applications for the program are not yet live, according to EforAll’s website.
Names to Know
Brian Murphy has recently been named board chairman at Embarc Collective, a Tampa, Florida-based incubator, according to a news release. Murphy is the founder and chief executive officer of Reliaquest, a cybersecurity company that’s raised more than $330 million, according to the release. Jeff Vinik, who owns the Tampa Bay Lightning, previously held the position, and will be filling the vice chair position now.
Lesa Mitchell is the new regional manager of Americas for Boulder, Colorado-based Techstars, an accelerator with global reach, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. Formerly, she was the managing director of the Kansas City branch of the accelerator. Mitchell also sits on many boards, including those of Village Capital and 8 River Capital.
Sandeep Uthra is the new “executive in residence” at RevTech Labs, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based accelerator focused on fintech, insurance tech and health tech, the Charlotte Business Journal reports. Uthra has been the chief information officer at Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based Truliant Federal Credit Union since 2016 and previously clocked more than a decade at Bank of America. In his new role, he’ll work directly with startup founders in the accelerator’s program and act as a go-to person for their questions.
App Programer Launches Startup Program
Agora, a Santa Clara, California-based application programming interface developer, is launching a startup program to provide access to its software and resources for entrepreneurs, according to a press release. It’s partnered with the Global Accelerator Network, Blume Ventures and Techstars Toronto for the program. Selected founders will get up to a million free minutes of Agora’s voice, video and live streaming as well as its analytics software, discounted HIPAA support and monthly feedback sessions with venture capitalists and founders. Entrepreneurs can apply on its website.
Alberta Facility to Expand to Provide Entrepreneurs More Space to Test Products
The Agrivalue Processing Business Incubator in Leduc, Alberta in Canada is expanding to provide more space for people to develop products “without having to risk building their own manufacturing facilities,” The Western Producer reports. $24 million from the provincial government is paying for the 25,000 square foot expansion of Alberta Agriculture’s food and bio processing branch’s existing 75,000 square foot facility, which will provide seven new suites. Entrepreneurs looking to rent a space can apply on the program’s website.
Accelerator for Energy, Water and Smart-Ag Solutions in the Asia Pacific Region
Applications are open for the new 2021 Climate Resilience Asia Pacific accelerator, a six-month program from the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship and energy company Chevron. It is currently seeking up to 15 social enterprises focused on climate resilience solutions in energy, water, and smart-agriculture in the Asia Pacific region with impact in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, or Vietnam. Each of the selected entrepreneurs will be paired with a mentor and go through a customized program that fits their needs. The program is free and will be virtual. Applications are due April 26.
African DeepTech Startups Wanted
Applications are open for the African Startup Initiative, a program for African startups that’s powered by Startupbootcamp AfriTech and London-based Telecel Group, according to the program website. It’s seeking 10 African startups disrupting industry sectors including FinTech, InsureTech, AgriTech, eCommerce, Digital Health, and CleanTech. The selected entrepreneurs will receive training on topics such as fundraising and scaling businesses, networking opportunities and mentorship. Each company will receive a 15,000 euro investment, as well. The three-month program kicks off in July 2021. Applications are due May 14.