Huckletree launches its ninth Alpha Accelerator for underrepresented founders and diverse startups in ‘Urban Futures’
Founding a startup is daunting and challenging, but even more so when the founders are minorities, women or people of color. Although a lot of progress has been made over the years, however, a 2020 report by Fortune Magazine found that this group of founders received just a fraction of venture capital funds, with female-only founders receiving 2.7%, and Black and Latinx women netting just 0.64%.
The situation is not any better on the other side of the pond. And that’s why Huckletree, a UK and Ireland-based workspace ecosystem for innovators, has launched an accelerator program to help underrepresented founders.
Today, Huckletree announced the launch of its ninth annual Alpha Accelerator to help underrepresented founders and turn their early-stage concept into a live business. The 12-week in-house accelerator is designed for pre-seed businesses for founders from under-represented backgrounds. The program is themed around Urban Futures, the 2022 program is designed for innovators focusing on smart cities and urban innovation.
According to the firm, the program will run from April to June for startups working in Mobility and Transport, Smart Data, Environment, and PropTech and includes leading entrepreneurs and experts such as Justin Landsberger, Deliveroo’s Global Head of Business Development and renowned angel investor, Andy Davis.
Originally launched in 2017, the intensive program prepares founders for seed funding with help from leading entrepreneurs and experts such as Justin Landsberger, Deliveroo’s Global Head of Business Development, and renowned angel investor, Andy Davis. Participants will receive invaluable advice on their commercial and marketing strategies, hiring, leadership, and more. The cohort also has weekly 1-1s with investors and group mentoring, culminating in a pitch to 60+ investors at the Alpha Investor Demo Day.
To date, the Alpha Accelerator has seen eight cohorts and 50+ alumni businesses raise over £36m in funds. It is named in Crunchbase’s ‘100 Startup Accelerators’.
The Alpha Accelerator is 100% pro-bono and Huckletree takes no equity. Each Alpha company receives complimentary Huckletree membership for an entire year, enabling them to access its support long after the program ends.
Gabriela Hersham, Co-founder of Huckletree, says: ‘We’re seeing the most exciting, more innovative pre-seed startups building the smart cities of tomorrow and Huckletree wants to elevate the next generation of underrepresented thinkers as they bring these ideas to life. Our cities are defining the future of our planet. What happens in the city doesn’t stay in the city and we must address the impact that urbanization creates on a global scale. That’s why this accelerator is designed to help make our cities smarter and to create a more sustainable, more efficient urban future.’
Key Alpha grads include Easol, which raised £25m in December, HANX, Bombinate, Loveshark, Mammamade, and junee.
junee, which provides reusable and returnable bowls to workplaces, has raised £250k since graduating in 2021. Its CEO, Caroline Williams, says: “Our time on the Alpha program in 2021 was fundamental. We ran our pilot at Huckletree Shoreditch, which gave junee a real springboard. As a result of the program, we have gone on to raise £250k in investment and £90k in grants. Without this investment, we would never have been able to scale the company from the two of us to a team of eight specialists. We would definitely recommend Alpha to founders looking to raise funds in 2022.”
Charlotte Horler, the founder of Nula Carbon which helps businesses and individuals offset their carbon, says: Huckletree has an incredible network and during the accelerator, Ais and Sarah, the program facilitators, were constantly connecting us with other founders and VCs that were open to have a chat. Whilst my product has pivoted considerably since April, when we started the program, the conversations that Huckletree facilitated have played an instrumental part in our product development and I will always be incredibly grateful for that.
Innovative startups creating ground-breaking solutions in Urban Futures should apply now, applications close at midnight on the 27th of February.
Huckletree is the workspace ecosystem connecting tech innovators in the UK and Ireland. It is made up of 3,000+ members including investors, 300+ companies, and eight spaces around the UK, all individually curated by sector focus. There are three core markets in London, Manchester, and Dublin which are home to co-working hubs focused on GovTech, Future Living, SaaS, Tech for Good, and more.
Founded in 2014 by co-founders Gabriela Hersham and Andrew Lynch, who has an extensive background in venture capital and private equity, Huckletree strives to tackle the problem of negligible diverse representation in the tech entrepreneurship community. It offers an annual 12-week accelerator – rated as one of Crunchbase’s top 100 accelerators in the world – for pre-seed companies with at least one founding member from an underrepresented group.
Huckletree is transforming the way in which people work, collaborate, and learn through its smart approach to design and service. It has two main offerings for innovative businesses: its curated Hubs for businesses of up to 50 people and Places, sourced and maintained offices for scaling businesses of 50 people or more.
The Huckletree network includes Candy Kittens, Spotify, Bloom and Wild, Butternut Box, what3words, Diversity VC, and more.