New York City-based Women Innovate Mobile (WIM) has announced the first startup accelerator program targeting women-founded companies in mobile technology. WIM aims to help women build their startups into best-in-class companies and formidable businesses by providing women entrepreneurs with guidance, support, and feedback as well as a small infusion of capital plus introductions to a network of contacts and mentors.
The company was founded by Veronika Sonsev, the co-founder of social communication startup, inSparq and the non-profit Women in Wireless, Deborah Jackson, founder of JumpThru, and business strategist Kelly Hoey.
WIM is accepting applications for its first class of startups until February 1, 2012. Selected companies will receive $18,000 in funding, free office space in New York City, product development and design support, mobile-marketing promotions, and access to an extensive network of mentors, funders and advisors. WIM receives a 6% equity stake in exchange for its investment and services during the program.
The 2012 Women Innovtive Mobile Accelerator Program Schedule is as follows:
- Now through February 1 – Applications accepted
- February 15 – Selection of companies for final interviews
- Week of February 20/27 – Interviews
- March 1 – Selection of participating companies
- March 26 – Program start date
- Mid-June – Pitch/Demo Day
- June 29 – WIM Accelerator end date
WIM’s Managing Director, Kelly Hoey told TechCrunch, “Accelerators are dominated by men and Women Innovate Mobile is the first dedicated to cultivating female founders. No one disputes the talent and capabilities of female entrepreneurs, yet they remain severely underrepresented among mentor-driven accelerator programs. That’s why we developed an accelerator program just for women-led mobile ventures.”
To be considered for the WIM program, a company must have the following criteria:
- be a technology company
- have a woman co-founder
- have a mobile application (i.e. mobile payment, mobile advertising, mobile applications)
According to TechCrunch, the program will follow the standard accelerator path of offering guidance and assistance to portfolio companies over approximately three months, culminating in a “Demo Day” in front of investors.
WIM has been able to attract a group of high-profile mentors and instructors, including Gilt Groupe’s Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, Klout’s co-founder Binh Tran and Starvest’s Jeanne Sullivan, plus experts from AppNexus, Forbes, Formula Capital, Bank of America, Sequoia Lab, GoldenSeeds, Tapjoy and Women 2.0.