Merge Lane, an accelerator focusing on women entrepreneurs
Merge Lane is a new accelerator program out of Boulder focusing on women entrepreneurs. The two women behind this are Sue Helibronner and Elizabeth Kraus. They launched this program to bring more women into the startup community. Elizabeth is an entrepreneur who has been doing angel investments for quite some time. Sue’s career is just as impressive working as a CEO, President leading and selling multiple start-ups.
The concept behind Merge Lane is to investment in women who will create high-performing gender-diverse companies. Their thesis is built on data that Venture-backed women-led companies achieve 12% high revenue and when there are women at the helm the returns are 34% higher. They want to change that only 7% of VC-packed start-ups are run by women. They no longer want to be the only woman in the room.
The first program starts on February 2nd and applications are now open thru December 1st. They will accept 8 companies into the first program. The program will run from February 2nd to April 24th, 2015. MergeLane offers a guaranteed investment of $20K for each participating company with up to $100K of additional discretionary investment. The teams are only required to be in Boulder for the first and last week of the program. That is impressive. It actually allows women who have families to be part of this.
The program will be run similar to other accelerators with diverse mentors, executive coaches, virtual mentors and will address many of the common challenges women entrepreneurs face. They will consider companies from any industry. The candidates must have at least one female as a substantial equity owner, some evidence of traction ( not just an idea ) and an implied ability to scale.
Bravo to both Elizabeth and Sue for doing this. The timing is perfect. Love their tag line too; broadening the on-ramp for Women-led companies. I am looking forward to see the lucky chosen 8 companies.