TechHub, the global community for tech entrepreneurs and startups, has revealed the founders and companies of the first cohort of TechHub Accelerate. Supported by Google for Startups, Silicon Valley Bank, Wilson Sonsini, Talent.io and Davis Grant, the programme addresses the diversity gap in the tech industry by offering free membership, mentoring, investor introductions and business support to diverse founders.
TechHub is directly tackling the tech industry’s diversity problem by supporting founders currently under-represented in the sector – including women, people with disabilities and the BAME and LGBTQ+ communities. The first cohort has 31 companies, and the programme intends to support 100 startups with under-represented founders in the first year.
TechHub is working with these entrepreneurs to accelerate the growth of their businesses and amplify their voices in the tech community.? One founder has already secured angel funding through a TechHub introduction.
Startups receiving funded places on the programme span sectors including fintech, AI, edtech, hardware, retail, sextech, healthtech, security, robotics and others, reflecting the diverse range of expertise of underrepresented founders and the high growth potential of their businesses.
Participants range from a surgeon frustrated at cancelling surgeries because the hospital operating theatre has broken lights, to a founder growing up not knowing who to go to for advice about money and strategic saving to afford a home. The founders of TechHub Accelerate startups said they are driven to create products that address real world needs for people, businesses and the public sector.
Atomico’s recent State of European Tech 2019 report found that $92 of every $100 invested in tech companies went to male founding teams. In addition, the vast majority of tech founders are white (84 per cent), university educated (82 per cent), and financially stable (53 per cent). None of these metrics reflect population averages.
TechHub’s support to all its members includes over 200 programme sessions a year, workspace in central London, and a network of over 400 TechHub member companies, introductions to investors, and more. Added to this, TechHub Accelerate founders will receive mentoring and focused fundraising support, all free through TechHub’s membership grants funded by both TechHub and its partners.
Elizabeth Varley, TechHub’s founder and CEO said: “TechHub Accelerate companies have enormous opportunities for growth and impact. They’re a really diverse mix of products and sectors and some truly scalable and investable companies with really impressive founders.
"To create stronger products and a stronger tech ecosystem, we want to see innovations being generated by people from all sorts of backgrounds. At TechHub we aim to support more diverse companies by providing access to business growth support and a platform to amplify the voices of these committed, driven entrepreneurs. Moving the needle on inclusion in the tech industry takes direct support and meaningful action - not just talk about the challenges”
TechHub Accelerate is seeking partners for its second cohort in early 2020, both corporates keen to be involved in diversity initiatives, and smaller businesses and individuals who’d like to make the tech industry a more inclusive place.
We spoke to one of the Cohort, Maria Noel Reyes, ex digital marketing director at Bauer Media, who left the company last month to found VozLab, a voice development studio focused on getting brands into voice-first technology like Alexa and Google Nest.
She said: "It's definitely not easy to make the jump from the safety of the corporate world to the uncertainty of a startup. TechHub Accelerate program will help me navigate that world and open the doors to support and investment that otherwise I might not have been able to reach. They have selected companies with huge growth potential in their respective industries, and I'm honoured to be part of this talented group of entrepreneurs. Their backing means that they understand that voice-first technology is a fast-growing sector, and with their support I'll be able to growth at the speed other tech startups have done in the past."
The full list of people and companies included in the first cohort is:
Abdulaziz Redha, CEO & co-founder of UVerify: cyber security, govtech
Alec Grant, co-founder & CTO of Interrodata: retail tech
Alma Ramirez Acosta, co-founder of Vibio: sextech, healthtech, femtech
Anna Corp, founder of Eloy: mobility, automotive, smart cities
Ashish Kalraiya, founder of MediShout: healthtech
Caroline Hughes, co-founder of Lifetise: fintech
Chang Liu, founder & CEO, Extend Robotics: robotics, hardware
Danielle Lawrence, founder & CEO of Freyda: AI
Efua Akumanyi, co-founder & head of technology of Furnishful: retail tech
Francesca Gomez, co-founder & CEO of Smarter Human: AI
Gabrielle Patrick, co-founder & CEO of Knabu: fintech
Inas Ismail, co-founder of Autsera: edtech, VR
Tumi Itholeng, founder & CEO of Vendabox: retail tech
Janvier Wete, founder of Minute App: entertainment
Jibril Gudal, co-founder, BookB: edtech, social impact
Jillian Kowalchuk, founder & CEO, Safe & the City: mobility
Juliet Eccleston, founder of Anygood?: HR tech
Karen Agwu, co-founder of Truenova: healthtech
Lucy Cranwell-Ward, co-founder of UpSkillMe: edtech
Majeed Saheb-Zadha, co-founder of PPTX Builder: AI, productivity
Maria Noel Reyes, founder & director Vozlab: AI, retail, martech
Matt Pierri, co-founder & CEO of SociAbility: mobility
Michael Berhane, co-founder & CEO of People of Color in Tech: ecosystem supporter
Priyanka Lilaramani, founder & CEO of Plinth: fintech
Rafael Cepeda Lopez, co-founder & CEO of Altar: big data, tech for good
Rayhan Sawar, founder of IlluminOut: HR tech
Sabine Opris, co-founder & CEO of Tryatec: retail tech, sharing economy
Siddhi Mittal, co-founder of Yhangry: food tech
Toyin Ajidele, founder of MyQuickClinic: healthtech
Uyen Ngo, co-founder & CEO of ESwapp: retail tech
Yasmin Abedin, co-founder of Ava MD: healthtech, voicetech