Women's Tech Accelerator skips funding to help bootstrappers

by James Risley
June 24, 2016

A tech accelerator provides mentorship and funding for a growing company, usually in return for a sizable stake in equity. But a new women-focused accelerator from Brad's Deals replaces funding with resources, providing office space, internet access and meeting rooms to budding startups.

The Women’s Tech Accelerator, announced this week, deeply embeds startups within the deal curating company, meaning they’ll have plenty of access to their mentors. And with more than 50 percent of Brad’s Deals leadership being women, mentors will be able to uniquely advise women-led startups about how to navigate the tech industry as a minority.

As for why Brad’s Deals is providing resources instead of funding to these startups, vice president of human resources Jessica Adams said the team wants to help fellow bootstrappers who may be hesitant to give up a share of their fledgling company.

“We're still a bootstrapped organization and so we're really looking to provide our expertise as one bootstrapped organization to another and really help them grow,” she said. “So we would give them lots of resources in terms of a desk and meeting rooms and telephone services and internet, but also the expertise that our team brings.”

That includes help across the board, from product and user experience design to finance and leadership skills. Focusing on women-led startups also helps the company stick to their roots.

"While recruiting, we noticed that we were not seeing a lot of women candidates for the roles," Adams said. "We realized this [accelerator] would not only provide developmental opportunities for the women technologists, but also for our team ... to be able to give back to the community as well. It was kind of a no brainer for us."

And even applicants who don’t make it into the accelerator will still get something out of the application process.

“We're going to have subject matter experts be in on all the presentations so everyone that comes in to present is going to walk away with an analysis...of their business plan,” Adams said. “It’s a really great way to get some free guidance on your business plan even if you're not accepted into the accelerator program.”

Brad’s Deals is hoping for at least 50 applicants, but will ultimately accept six to 15 businesses to start in August. The teams will work with Brad’s Deals mentors for six months, but may have the opportunity to extend their stay. Applications will be accepted through July 11.

Images via Brad's Deals.

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