An astonishing disparity
Lack of diversity is a problem in nearly every industry, especially tech startup ecosystem, where women founders receive only 3 percent of venture capital funding, and African American and Latino founders together receive less than 2 percent.
Without a boost from venture capital, many startups don’t stand a chance – no matter how much they deserve one.
Pre-accelerator focused on diversity
An Austin-based incubator focused on encouraging diversity in the tech industry, DivInc is on a mission to rebalance those scales.
The nonprofit diversity champion launched their first pre-accelerator program for women and minority entrepreneurs last fall, aiming create a “more transparent path for entrepreneurship” for underrepresented demographic groups “by providing access to the network of critical resources that are essential to building high growth and scalable businesses.”
Second cohort announced
DivInc recently announced the members of its second cohort, for a program that will begin April 3 and last 12 weeks. This cohort is made up of seven women and nine men, and fourteen members of the Spring cohort are underrepresented ethnicities in the tech industry.
These founders were selected on the basis of their motivation, passion, commitment, and willingness to be coached. The companies are all technology-related, or tech-enabled, and they all have, at minimum, a validated concept, though some have reached the Minimum Viable Product stage:
- Jamal Wilburn, founder of BigMouff/li>
- Kate Peiler, founder of disruptED/li>
- Mark Ruvalcaba, Raj Panesar and Joe Ruvalcaba, founders of FeverFit/li>
- Louis Daily, Malik Djiba and Donté Houston, founders of Hairu/li>
- Trisha Locke, founder of InPharm Global/li>
- Shambrekia Wise, founder of INrichMe/li>
- Sophie Kwok, founder of Love Intently/li>
- Mira Royz, founder of MiraLend/li>
- Mariam Derin Raji, founder of Tekhniteo/li>
- Isis Ashford, Kehlin Swain and Michael Pittman, founders of Xplosion Tech
Partnering with the tech industry
Co-founder and CEO of DivInc, Preston James emphasizes the importance of community and collaboration in the pursuit of inclusion: “As someone who has been in the tech space for a number of years, I’ve seen the lack of diversity firsthand… We continue to receive tremendous support from the Austin community and beyond, and look forward to collaborating with partners that want to create a mindset shift within the tech industry.”
One of these partners is Galvanize Austin, a learning community oriented around tech that provides industry-specific training, workspace for brand new startups and long-established companies, and networking. DivInc’s program will operate out of Galvanize Austin, offering the cohort comprehensive programs and access to a vast network of mentors, as well as experienced entrepreneurs, subject experts, and the all-important investors.
Tech Inclusion event, March 15th
“At Galvanize, inclusiveness is one of our core values,” says Bill Blackstone, general manager at Galvanize Austin. “We’re proud to partner with DivInc and be part of the effort to ensure access to opportunity for diverse tech founders here in Austin and across the technology sector.”
If you’re an Austinite or you’re in town for SXSW, check out the free Tech Inclusion event at Galvanize on Wednesday, March 15. DivInc’s Preston James will be in attendance as a speaker, and after a couple of hours of talks and panels you can unwind at a happy hour to network with fellow inclusive minds.