NewME Accelerator is a platform for start-ups that sprung from the need for guidance from industry network leaders and investment connections. They are based in Silicon Valley and focus on uplifting minority groups that have start-ups with great potential. We chatted to some Angela Benton and Merline Saintil from NewME, about transforming visions into realities.
How did the idea start for NewME Accelerator?
NewME, short for New Media Entrepreneurship, started in 2010 with a conference in Washington DC that gathered some of the brightest minority-led start-ups, seasoned business leaders, venture capital stakeholders and key government officials from the SBA, FCC, and NTIA.
Our goals were to foster ideas and best practices to provide minority entrepreneurs with opportunities and platforms to freely explore, create, and innovate in ways that will spur new growth and participation in the free market.
Secondly, to formulate an action plan to increase the number of successful minority new media ventures; and develop a policy framework for advancing and stimulating the growth and sustainability of minority new media start-ups.
And lastly, to bring a confluence of individuals together to move the Internet economy in a more diverse and inclusive direction.
We learned so much from the day and a half conference! By bringing together these individuals we were able to hear from entrepreneurs, the venture capital community, and government to try create real solutions. The NewME Accelerator is a product of that gathering, and it launched in Spring 2011 in Silicon Valley.
What is the selection process like when choosing start-ups that have applied?
The process is holistic. We ask for not only written statements and a prototype, but take a look at references as well. There is also an interview process that supplements the written portions of the application.
Once start-ups are chosen, is there a method to grouping them, or are they not always relative to each other?
There is no grouping. We typically intake more consumer web related start-ups, but that’s not to say we don’t take in more enterprise focused companies or app developers.
Some start-ups receive the possibility of funding. What criteria is used for choosing who will receive funding?
NewME does not currently invest in its startups, however we do our best to jumpstart a Founders network by connecting them with the right investors for their business.
NewMe Accelerator focuses on the unrepresented minorities. Who is classified in this group?
Traditionally underrepresented groups of entrepreneurs within the tech sector. This includes, but is not limited to women, Latinos, and African-American entrepreneurs.
What does the program involve and what are the main benefits that you hope to achieve?
NewME is a 12 week residential accelerator program based in San Francisco. The core of the program is focused around helping entrepreneurs perfect their products and connecting them with the investment community. Throughout the 12 weeks, NewME founders receive mentorship from well-known tech professionals and at the culmination of the program NewME founders get the opportunity to pitch their products at NewME Demo Day, an event attended by top tier VCs, angel investors and the press. NewME also provides several perks for its founders to help them better execute their goals.
So what is the desired end result?
To help our founders succeed by taking their products to the next level and receive funding.
Thanks for sharing this with us. We look forward to hearing about the exciting start-ups that blossom through your mentorship programmes. To explore NewME Accelerator’s blog, click here. Follow them to Twitter here.