This pre-accelerator program hopes to diversify the Austin tech scene

by Kelly O'Halloran
September 9, 2016

In an effort to strengthen diversity in Austin’s tech community, DivInc will begin its inaugural 12-week pre-accelerator program on Sept. 19 to drive the amount of founders who are women and/or people of color. 

The first cohort of candidates, who will work out of the Galvanize Austin campus, will include nine individuals, consisting of five women and four men. Eight of the nine participants are underrepresented ethnicities amongst tech founders.

“As someone who has been in the tech space for a number of years, I’ve seen the lack of diversity firsthand,” said Preston James, co-founder and CEO at DivInc. “I’m proud and excited to launch DivInc in an effort to create positive change and empower amazing founders to succeed. We continue to receive tremendous support from the Austin community and beyond, and look forward to collaborating with partners that want to create a mindset shift within the tech industry.”

During the three month program, the cohort will attend weekly organizations reviewing legal, team optimization, growth hacking and branding. The group will also attend founders lunches where successful founders share their candid experiences launching companies. DivInc also plans to provide daily mentor office hours and community building through weekly dinners and networking opportunities.

Several of the mentors and advisors to the program include: Sara Brand of True Wealth Partners, Stirling Smith of Sandbox, Lindsay Schell of Bizologie, Ashley Doyal of RecruitHER, Josh Jones-Dilworth of Jones-Dilworth, Andrew Mitchell of Brand Foundry Ventures, Nicole Forbes of Media Temple, and more.

DivInc sought out the group from advisor and mentor referrals and selected individuals based on motivation, passion, commitment and coachability. Their companies must be tech or tech-enabled with at least a validated concept, but preferably have a MVP. A formal application process was not used for this first cohort, but will be implemented for future cohorts.

The inaugural DivInc cohort is as follows:

  • Adrianna Cantu, founder of Revealix

  • Lan Chu and Vi Nguyen, founders of Homads

  • Kelly Ernst, founder of Redenim

  • Sherard Houston, founder of ConfirmX

  • Wayne Lopez, founder of Ayoopa

  • Bobby Menefee, founder of Plume

  • Tito Salas, founder of CodersLink

  • YiShaun Yang, founder of Mama English

Applications for the next cycle will open in early 2017, with the second cohort starting in April.

Preston James, CEO, Dan Austin, COO, Dana Callender, CCO, and Ashley Jennings, CBDO, founded DivInc this year out of Galvanize Austin.

 
Image provided DivInc
 
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