Student-led accelerator Envision reaches demo week for class one, looks to class two


Image Credits: Marek Piotrowski (opens in a new window) / Shutterstock (opens in a new window)

Back in early July, TechCrunch covered the Envision Accelerator. The program was put together by a group of students and recent graduates, often with some early venture capital experience, to help give some young startups a boost, and to shake up industry diversity metrics at the same time.

Now on the other side of their first batch’s official program and into its investor week, Envision shared a number of statistics regarding that first cohort, and talked about plans for its second.

What I appreciate about the Envision group is that by simply going out and making their own accelerator, they have shown that it is possible to attract a diverse group of startups to a program. How diverse? Let’s find out.

The Envision cohort

According to data provided to TechCrunch by Annabel Strauss and Eliana Berger from the Envision team (more on them here, if you’re curious), 17 companies made it into the first group. Of those 17 companies and their founding teams, around one-third of founders were black, around one in five were Latinx and more than 75% had a female founder.

Those are impressive metrics, frankly, especially when we consider what other groups have managed in recent sessions. Envision’s founders also skew young, not a surprise, given that the effort was effectively students making a program for their fellow students, with a three-to-one bias in favor of undergrads versus graduate students.

We’ll list the participating companies with links to their sites below, as per usual with this sort of accelerator roundup.

But, before we do, a few notes on how the first batch went down. When we last talked about Envision, they were still fundraising to pull together more capital to give to their selected companies. The idea was to provide $10,000 in equity-free capital, along with an eight-week program of lectures, networking and hands-on help from the Envision collective and a group of advisors.

According to Strauss and Berger, Envision was able to raise all the money that it needed to provide funding to its selected companies, though not every team picked up the full $10,000, with the duo noting that the amount varied based somewhat on need.

It will not be clear for a bit if the companies that went through Envision’s maiden class manage to raise more capital, scale, and become success. But for the Envision team itself, round one went well enough that a second effort is just around the corner.

And when it comes to that second push — or class, really — Envision remains in a hurry. After putting together its initial cohort while building its own organization on the fly, the group is going to kick off its second batch in October, giving it slim breathing room between cohorts.

There’s a reason for the haste, however. First, Envision wants to add two weeks to its programming, bringing the accelerator to a total of 10 weeks to include more training, and to fit that into the current semester, October was the kickoff month. Strauss and Berger noted that some students are taking leave during the first semester of this academic year.

More on Envision itself when we hear more on how the first batch did in attracting investor interest.

Here are the companies from batch one:

  • Adora: Adora is a personalized, digital campus visit platform that makes compelling visits accessible to everyone.
  • Devie: Devie is a parent coaching app that guides parents through challenges in a personal, accessible and actionable way.
  • Forage: Forage is a mobile application that provides real-time pricing at grocery stores so families can save money.
  • Holdette: At Holdette, we make professional work wear with real pockets for women entering the workforce for the first time.
  • Justice Text: Justice Text makes video evidence management software to produce fair outcomes in the criminal justice system.
  • Klara: Klara is a data science platform transforming the way consumers discover skincare and haircare products.
  • Mindstand: Mindstand helps leaders identify implicit bias, employee engagement and culture fit within their internal communications.
  • MODE: MODE helps people discover and purchase clothes through a personalized, social shopping experience.
  • Mylabox: Mylabox is a cross-border e-commerce marketplace enabling SMBs in LatAm to access high-quality overseas products.
  • Nibble: Nibble is a platform solving food waste by helping restaurants sell excess meals and ingredients at a discount.
  • Pareto: Pareto is building a library of quick-to-launch workflows that startups can deploy for operations as they scale.
  • Schefs: Schefs is a platform for college students to facilitate and participate in themed conversations over a virtual meal.
  • UrConvey: UrConvey is a safe app that makes it easy to ride share with people you know by harnessing your network.
  • Vngle: Vngle is a decentralized grassroots news network bringing “various angles” of local reality coverage to news deserts.
  • Wellnest: Wellnest is a joyful journaling app that increases mindfulness by prioritizing user experience, voice and insights.
  • Winkshare: Winkshare is a secure messaging app designed for the modern relationship. Your relationship, your business.
  • Yup: Yup rewards valuable opinions across the web. Rate anything, earn rewards for accuracy, and gain status.

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