The NewMe Accelerator, a startup incubator program focused on underrepresented minorities in the tech industry, assembles a select group of tech entrepreneurs from all over the United States every year to participate in its 12-week Silicon Valley accelerator. NewMe is a residential program, meaning that the entrepreneurs all live together in a house for three months to brainstorm and hack on their respective projects — “eating, sleeping and drinking our startups,” as NewMe puts it. Along the way, mentors such as Mitch Kapor, Vivek Wadwha, Ben Horowitz and others stop by the NewMe house to provide advice, insight and inspiration.
Sounds pretty intense, right? So of course, we at TechCrunch TV were keen to check it out. At the moment, NewMe is smack in the middle of its 2012 program, so we made a visit to its house in San Francisco to see how things are shaping up so far.
In a word, being at the NewMe house is invigorating: The environment of eight strong entrepreneurs living together is certainly heady, but in a really good way. Everyone at NewMe is psyched about what they’re working on while also being super encouraging and proud of what their fellow founders have built.
In the video embedded above, you can watch NewMe partner Wayne Sutton talk about how the program has grown in recent years, the challenges that face minority entrepreneurs in tech, and much more. You also get an introduction to NewMe’s Class of 2012, and a brief introduction to some of the 7 companies that are being built inside the accelerator.
For a more in-depth look at the NewMe startups, you can watch each founder’s pitch in the video embedded below.
NewMe’s Class of 2012 startups, in the order in which they appear:
Founded by Naithan Jones, it’s a web and mobile marketplace that connects regular consumers with local farms that supply meat.
Founded by Andre Gabriel, it’s a social shopping game that lets you buy real-world items with virtual currency.
Founded by Christopher Lyons, it brings photo-rich restaurant menus to diners’ smartphones, aiming to eliminate paper menus entirely.
Founded by Tendekai Muchenje, it allows users to make customer care inquiries through a social media-enabled web app, rather than through the typical telephone help line.
Co-founded by Amanda McClure and Brian Brackeen, it has developed a new way for retail companies to report sales data and point-of-sale analytics using facial recognition and augmented reality technology.
Founded by Rachel Brooks, it is a software platform that enables any e-commerce company to allow their customers to customize and live-render products on the web.
Founded by James Norman, it is a multi-platform video delivery solution that allows users to watch cross-platform video through one portal, and easily discover new things to watch.