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Ascender

Ascender’s 2022–2023 Incubator Cohort

Meet the new founders: Back in person and ready to grow

Ascender’s 2022–2023 Incubation cohort.

After successfully graduating last year’s Incubator cohort that collectively raised more than $1.8M in revenue and investment, we’re excited to announce the 10 Pittsburgh-based startups joining the 2022–2023 Ascender Incubator.

“Our approach is very much tailored to the uniqueness of each cohort, down to the individual, and this year is no different,” said Nadyli Nuñez, Ascender’s Executive Director. “Not only are the founders determined to make their businesses succeed, but they’re always first to offer support to their cohort peers. That’s what I’m talking about!”

Each year, we invite up to 10 early-stage companies to join our free Incubator program and develop a fully-realized, market-ready product or service. Over 12 months, the founders receive up to $5,000 in equity-free funding and access more than $12,000 in business assistance through in-depth coaching, tailored educational programming, mentoring, and connections to Ascender’s wide network of industry experts and more than 90 Incubator alumni.

We work with companies from a broad range of industries and don’t limit the definition of entrepreneurship to startups seeking venture capital. From craft beverages to health tech and software to entertainment, the 2022–2023 cohort includes local tech startups, small businesses, and social impact models eager to launch, build, and grow. We’re also committed to investing in historically underestimated entrepreneurs; 70% of founders identify as BIPOC, and 60% of the companies are founded or co-founded by entrepreneurs who identify as a woman, non-binary, or gender-nonconforming.

“This year’s cohort is on a mission to change how we consume media, make healthcare more accessible, enjoy quality skincare products, and make our city safer and more inclusive. We’re excited to work with these entrepreneurs and help them define their companies’ visions and grow businesses based on financial stability,” said Annia Aleman, Ascender’s Innovation Director. “Our curriculum doesn’t just focus on the business. We also support our entrepreneurs as they deal with the everyday stresses of building a business.”

The 10 startups in this year’s program were chosen based on their ability to provide innovative solutions to real-world problems, create a lasting impact in our region, and contribute to the collaborative entrepreneurial ecosystem at the center of our mission. They were selected from a competitive pool of more than 50 innovative companies and completed Ascender’s Pre-Incubation Bootcamp, a multi-day intensive program combining workshops, hands-on business planning, and access to experts to help move their businesses forward.

The companies joining Ascender’s Incubator are:

Act Up
Act Up is a nonprofit startup and Creative Collective that supports Black Queer Artists in their creative practice by providing tools, resources, and opportunities.
Founder: Nola Mims

BLK DYMND Rewards
BLK DYMND Rewards is a mobile cashback application that allows consumers to earn rewards by purchasing goods or services from Black-owned businesses across the nation.
Founder: Art Robinson

Dashcam for your Bike
Dashcam for your Bike is building tools to make bicycling safer in cities, starting with an app that turns your smartphone into a dashcam.
Founder: Armin Samii

Disability Media Network (DiMe)
Disability Media Network (DiMe) is a streaming app that offers entertaining content produced by or featuring people with disabilities.
Founder: Jennifer Price

Dization
Dization helps small businesses and startups save time, money, and missed opportunities by consolidating data and turning it into useful business knowledge on its online, easy-to-use business hub.
Founder: Rob Santoro

Katch Sports
Katch Sports is a digital platform for all sports that weaves better storytelling with innovative technology for a fresh, fun, visual, and verbal tone while exploring the connectivity between sports and recreation.
Founder: Rina Katchur

Korion Health
Korion Health leverages technology to expand access to healthcare, empower patients, and help clinicians provide optimal and inclusive care. Korion is initially focusing on heart disease — the leading cause of death worldwide — by developing a virtual stethoscope.
Co-Founders: Anna Li, Galen Kirkpatrick, & Josh Garfein

Naptural Beauty Supply
Naptural Beauty Supply is a one-stop shop for luxury hair care, body care, and other self-care products that are all-natural, handmade, and vegan-friendly!
Founder: LaShesia Holliday

Subless
Subless is a universal payment system for the growing creator economy that aims to make it easy to support every writer, streamer, and artist you enjoy online.
Co-Founders: Marshall Conover & Jon Blanton

TLC Libations
TLC Libations is a Black women-owned beverage company specializing in premium bottled & catered beverages. Every sip is filled with tender love & care.
Co-Founders: Erika Turner & Diane Turner

“Ascender is helping me figure out what questions are important to stakeholders, whether that’s future investors or customers. They’re asking the right questions and forcing me to figure out the answers that I need to have.”

- Armin Samii, Founder of Dashcam for your Bike and a member of the 2022–2023 cohort

For more information and a list of previous Incubator companies, visit www.ascenderpgh.com.

Learn more about our 2022 Pre-Incubation Bootcamp. Video shot and produced by Alejandro Jimenez, South Breeze Videography.

Connect with us

Learn more about Ascender: https://ascenderpgh.com/
Sign up for our newsletter or send us a note: info@ascenderpgh.com
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From fledgling tech companies, healthcare innovators, and nonprofits to makers, creators, services and shops, Ascender is for Pittsburgh’s entrepreneurs. We help businesses of all types in the Pittsburgh region start and build a business through education and connectivity. See how Ascender can help you.

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