Techstars Detroit Powered by JP Morgan Accelerator, a 13-week early-stage business accelerator program focused on providing business orientation resources and access to capital to traditionally underserved communities, announced its first cohort of 12 companies.
“As a black founder, I couldn’t organize a ‘friends and family’ tour for my first startup. Unlike most of my counterparts in other programs, I had to fund my business with my savings,” says Andrea Wallace, founder of Techstars Detroit and CEO of cloud-based technology company Opnr. “Programs like Techstars Detroit will allow us to access connections and resources that tend to be otherwise hard to come by.”
While all applicants were considered, those from traditionally underserved backgrounds—Black, Hispanic, and Latino, Native American, and Pacific Islander—those who are ready to thrive in an optimized ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship, and those with big ideas and a bold vision to solve the world’s problems were targeted.
“We want to revolutionize the way business and innovation are conducted by using diversity as a force multiplier and driver to uncover hidden talent,” Moinca Wheat, general manager of Techstars Detroit Accelerator says in a blog post. “These untapped markets are the greatest opportunity when it comes to business.”
According to the post, black entrepreneurs only received 1.2% of US venture capital funding in the first half of 2021, while Latino founders raised just 2% of US venture capital investments in 2021. This program aims to address inequity and close racial inequalities and the ethnic wealth gap through investment, mentorship and community partnerships.
As part of this partnership, JP Morgan will offer an integrated suite of services to founders of this accelerator that will extend beyond the 13-week program. Services will include, but not be limited to, access to banking, wealth management and advisory solutions accessible through local and commercial banking specialists.
The inaugural cohort is made up of:
Capsa Technology Inc. in Lagos, Nigeria — Capsa Technology is an online marketplace that allows companies to list and exchange receivables to finance their working capital needs.
EZ Vending in Scottsdale, Az. — EZ Vending is a completely contactless B2B SaaS retail technology company for regulated products.
Gildform in Detroit — Gildform is an on-demand jewelry manufacturing platform offering independent designers and business owners access to 3D printing and jewelry production services.
Good and good brands in Detroit — Good & Well Brands is a wellness ecosystem using an omnichannel approach to deliver services, products and experiences that support men’s wellbeing across cultures.
LearnHaus in San Francisco — LearnHaus is an AI-powered, parent-centric learning journey platform that helps parents easily provide their children with the right learning-focused tools and activities.
Locus Mobility in Philadelphia — Locus Mobility is a white label SaaS platform that simplifies the vehicle ownership experience by automating decisions, relationships and services delivered to owners where they park using data.
Opn in Grand Rapids — Opnr is a two-sided business-to-business marketplace platform that uses data to connect musicians with concert organizers providing opening performance opportunities.
Peadbo in Washington, D.C. — Peadbo is an advisory board management tool for individuals rather than businesses.
Pluck.eco in Detroit — Pluck.eco offers free, sustainable weekly deliveries to local business and supplier customers.
Social technologies in Chicago — Socian Technologies combines deep learning technology with autonomous drones that enable first responders to identify and respond to emergency situations as they occur quickly and accurately.
SQOR Technologies Inc. in New York — SQOR makes the vital runtime data of every software-as-a-service tool easy to access, monitor, and act on for business executives and investors.
Visit to Ann Arbor – Tour is the first video-based digital rental assistant that can be installed as an overlay on any apartment website, making it easier for renters to imagine what life in that property is really like.
“Very often, underrepresented founders don’t have the luxury of dreaming because we cross barriers that our counterparts will never experience,” says Ashley René Lee, CCO of Peadbo. “This is especially true in the field of technology. Techstars and JP Morgan create opportunities for us to bet on ourselves and win. It is life changing and the impact will be felt for generations.