Make in LA — first female-led accelerator in the US?

Excited to read about Monique Woodard’s recent addition to the 500 Startups family. Sharing our own startup journey here.

About nine months before 500 Startups announced Monique Woodard would join their team, two minority founders would launch LA’s first hardware accelerator in the quiet town of Chatsworth (~58% Latino per 2010 census data) in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley.

The founders share five degrees from MIT, Univ of Penn’s Wharton School and Wash U, have a long history of supporting the tech and STEM pipeline through grass roots volunteer and charity work, and had decade+ tech careers prior to launching this initiative to de-risk hardware startups by focusing on the team, the technology, the market and the manufacturing process.

In October, they would add a third partner, thereby creating the first woman-and-Latina-majority owned accelerator and fund in the United States.

Make in L.A.’s first cohort offered international diversity, with 3 of the 4 teams representing a country other than the US. The team’s second cohort includes women on the founding teams of 3 of the 4 companies and an all-female founding team.

Monique’s addition to 500 Startups is a big win for the large establishment of program-focused investors. But at a boutique accelerator in LA’s San Fernando Valley, Noramay, Shaun & Carmen have been ahead of the curve.

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