A New Accelerator for Female-lead Start Ups accepts First Class

Considering all the chatter these past few years about getting more women into tech and about supporting and funding more female-founded start ups, you’d think there would be more accelerators, incubators and angel investment funds dedicated to the cause.

Sadly, there is not, but there are some around the country and world doing their part to provide more opportunities for women founders to thrive, grow and succeed.

Boulder, Colorado-based MergeLane is up and running and on the task.

Angel group founder Elizabeth Kraus and former Discovery exec and law professor Sue Heilbronner co-founded the group. The duo has assembled an invested team of mentors, and supporters, including internet investor Brad Feld, managing director at Boulder’s prominent Foundry Group.

The curriculum targets both the most critical early-stage business issues, as well as topics specifically affecting women leaders, Forbes.com wrote in a feature on the incubator, also pointing out that MergeLane has a line up of “high-value, gender- and industry-diverse mentors and investors throughout the entire program.”

The effort is a symbiotic relationship for founders and investors.

“There are many start-ups and investors who specifically look to invest in women leaders, but struggle to find them,” says MergeLane mentor, Holly Hamann, a former Marketing Vice President at Thought Equity. “MergeLane’s mission is to serve not only female-led companies but also the investors who seek them out. ”


To apply, start ups must have at least one female founder in a leadership role. And even though the program lasts 12 weeks, to accommodate those who cannot relocate to Colorado for three months, only 3 weeks of actual in-state residency is required.

The accelerator points out on its website that among its motivation to launch is the data which overwhelmingly show that venture-backed, female-run companies produce higher returns.

Makes sense to us!

Anyway, there is still time to be considered for the 2015 class which starts this coming February 2.

You have to hurry though because the application deadline is this Monday, December 15!


Originally published at techyaya.com on December 13, 2014.

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