Ten teams from across the country will be participating in the second “boot camp” for black founders, which begins this weekend, in Durham. The American Underground is the host, and Adam Klein, its chief strategist, explains changes are being made for the second cohort.
“Overall, last year’s program received high marks from the participating companies, partners and investors,” Klein tells the Skinny. But that feedback didn’t mean there wouldn’t be attempts made to improve the Google for Entrepreneurs: Black Founders event, which is put on by the AU, Google for Entrepreneurs, TechSquare Labs, COCO (the Google startup hub in Minneapolis), Nashville Entrepreneur Center and Lincoln Financial Group..
“The main tweak in this year’s program is creating more gaps in the programming and adding in the interns from Thurgood Marshall College Fund, both of which will help the teams with implementation,” Klein explains.
“Last year’s program was very full we didn’t give the teams enough time to act, during the week, on all of the information and mentoring they were receiving.”
Each of the 10 teams will “have interns assigned to each team to help with implementation,” he points out.
“We are also very excited to have Lincoln Financial Group supporting the program. LFG is bringing it’s Chief Diversity Officer to Durham for the program and the Lincoln innovation team will also be actively involved in working directly with the participating startups.”
Klein believes that corporate-startup collaboration “is key to long term partnership opportunities and enterprise feedback
to early stage teams.”
A primary goal of the boot camp is to prepare entrepreneurs for the challenge of raising funds to help turn their dreams into real businesses. And Klein says the first cohort did very well with fundraising.
“We stated that success was seeing half of the companies funded within nine months of program completion. And we hit that mark,” he says.
“We also have two companies in the midst of a very large (post-seed) capital raise which is exciting.
“The participating companies were ready to raise capital coming out of this program because their pitch had been refined, they knew where their gaps might be from an investor’s viewpoint and they knew how to address them in order to
Klein points out as well that other support beyond the corporate sponsors is helping the program deliver results.
“I’d add that a promising outcome from the program has been the community and alumni network created from this program,” he says.
“It wasn’t our intention but given this is a first of its kind program, we’ve been excited to see how active past participants have been in offering each other introductions, sharing successes/lessons learned, and returning to this year’s program to help the new cohort.”
The boot camp is set for Oct. 8-13.
The teams are:
- Loanable (Durham) – Helps create create friends and family loans online and repay them easily with auto-draft.
- 2020 Shift (NYC) – Trains professionals on the skills they need to find careers they love in digital media and technology.
- Please Assist Me (Nashville) – A tech based comprehensive home assistant service.
- DisputeDoc (ATL) – First automation platform for fixing credit and improving credit scores.
- Reciprocare (DC) – Helps senior care agencies and facilities find caregivers and helps caregivers find the best jobs for their unique needs.
- Partake Foods (Jersey City) – Partake Foods is a line of snacks that are free of the top 12 allergens. They’re Non GMO, Kosher, gluten-free, vegan, and made with simple, whole food ingredients.
- Ilerasoft (Cincinnati) – Its software centralizes a health system’s equipment data on one platform to improve FDA safety recalls. We have built a better way to link and match FDA safety recalls to relevant hospital inventory to identify defective medical equipment earlier and more accurately. The current method is inaccurate and can takes over 3 weeks to identify and remediate the right defective equipment, leading to 50,000 preventable injuries. Our solution reduces identification time to 1 day.
- ScrapSports (ATL) – The #1 platform for athletes, coaches, and fans to build their brand, share their story, and cement their legacy on the web.
- Zyrobotics (ATL) – Makes interactive STEM tools and learning games for early childhood education that are accessible, adaptive, and cloud-connected.
- Civic Eagle (Minneapolis) – Helps government and policy organizations learn, engage, and activate the people they serve through a suite of inexpensive software tools.