Mergelane Blog

Broadening the On-ramp for Women-run Companies

2015 MergeLane Team Announcement


MergeLane Accelerator Announces First Class of Women-led Startups

Diverse cohort includes tech, consumer web, and products companies with at least one female founder

Boulder, CO – January 27, 2014: MergeLane, an accelerator that targets women-led startups, announced their first cohort of eight exceptional startups today for the 2015 program beginning February 2nd. Each participating company has at least one female founder, market traction, and a unique position in a significant sector. MergeLane companies were selected through an open application process that began in October. The founders will join MergeLane in Boulder, Colorado for the first two weeks and the last week of the 12-week program. The early-stage companies will receive guidance and mentorship from more than 100 innovative business leaders as well as executive coaching to address the intrinsic issues founders often face in growing their businesses. 

The Spring 2015 MergeLane class includes:

  • Havenly connects interior designers with consumers to create stunning spaces for a low flat fee. Located in Denver and New York. Co-founders: Lee Mayer, Emily Motayed and Jessie Dixon.
  • Idaciti is a platform that provides real-time access to global financial data for users to easily create, visualize, analyze, share and collaborate around “stories” about companies and trends. Located in Las Vegas. Founders: Emily Huang and Christine Tan.
  • Intelligent Eyes is a b2b Saas platform that enables companies to select the right business intelligence or data visualization tool to meet their needs. Located in Berkeley and Boulder. Founders: Debbie Taylor and Mark Leffers.
  • Mapistry is a mapping tool for the entire workforce to view, update, and analyze spatial data on civil engineering and construction projects. Users can import existing data, connect to sensors and drones, annotate maps, and share with their team anywhere on any device. Located in Oakland. Founders: Allie Janoch and Ryan Janoch.
  • Sugarwish optimizes gift giving by allowing recipients to choose exactly what they want. Gift givers purchase a candy box of a certain size and recipients choose among 80 favorite candies. Located in Denver. Founders: Elisabeth Vezzani and Leslie Lyon.
  • TomboyX manufactures and sells clothing and accessories by and for “tomboys.” Menswear-inspired, made for women. Located in Seattle, WA. Founders: Fran Dunaway and Naomi Gonzalez.
  • The QuickZip Sheet Company sells the easy-change, zip-on fitted sheet, which relieves a pain point for changing sheets on cribs, bunk beds, beds of the elderly, and more. Located in Denver. Founders: Elizabeth Sopher and Caroline Portis.
  • ZaZa makes unique nut-based treats that are gluten free, soy free, paleo, vegan and non-GMO verified. Located in Boulder. Founder: Elisabeth Saucier.

“MergeLane is a perfect fit for the current opportunities in front of Idaciti,” said Emily Huang, CEO of Idaciti. “The mentors that have gathered around the accelerator will be invaluable to our growth, and we already have experienced the unique and valuable contributions the MergeLane founding team will offer us.”

MergeLane was founded to narrow the gap for female-led companies in the startup ecosystem. The for-profit effort also is designed to optimize returns based on a strong investment thesis that favors female-run firms. A recent study by MIT and Carnegie Mellon shows that teams with more women outperform teams with more men and that emotional intelligence is the key to better results. Venture-funded, female-led teams also produce higher returns.  According to Illuminate Ventures, organizations with women in top management achieve 34% higher returns. Despite the performance dataonly 7% of VC-backed startups are run by female CEOs, according to MIT research.

MergeLane is sponsored by Bryan Cave LLP, First Western Trust, SoftLayer, and Centro Latin Kitchen. To see a list of the top executives and entrepreneurs that support the accelerator go to

 About MergeLane:

MergeLane is a mentorship-driven investment program with a strong focus on promoting women-run startups.  Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, MergeLane is a 12-week program for a select group of high-growth businesses with at least one female in leadership. Participating companies will each receive at least $20,000 in guaranteed funding and the opportunity to garner an additional $100,000 in funding at the end of the program. Participating firms receive executive coaching and mentorship. Founded by Sue Heilbronner and Elizabeth Kraus, MergeLane is committed to discovering, accelerating and investing in exceptional women and the companies they run. To learn more, visit

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