Today we opened the application for the second class of the MergeLane accelerator. Our 2016 class — starting on February 1, 2016 – will comprise 10 fantastic startups with least one female in leadership. We could not be more excited about meeting these entrepreneurs.
This will be our second class of MergeLane, and our first year was a fantastic ride. We met and graduated eight terrific startups. We saw a frankly astonishing wave of inspiring launches of funds and programs focusing on women in leadership as a business decision. We found ourselves on a burgeoning map around this issue. We won a wonderful $50,000 award from the US Government. I’m not going to lie: momentum is a really pleasant sensation.
We are excited about year two. We have traveled around the country meeting fantastic female-led companies. We have scoured award lists and other databases to uncover startups that satisfy our criteria. We have talked to hundreds of companies, many of which were not even considering a startup accelerator. We have added phenomenal new mentors, investors, and speakers to our lineup.
Here’s what we want you to know about the 2016 application:
Apply sooner vs. later. We are doing rolling admissions, and it benefits you and your company to file a completed application soon.
Looking forward to a phenomenal 2016 MergeLane class that hopefully includes you or someone you know and admire. In case you missed it, the MergeLane 2016 Application is here.
We have talked about declaring investment themes since our launch six years ago. Today we settled on one "anti-theme": Founders who dislike authentic feedback.
Rapid-fire explanations without curiosity or engagement often feel like dressed-up defensiveness. I’m not terribly game to build a relationship with someone who feels defensive from the start.
I’ve made a decision to take a break from speaking engagements that focus topically on women, women in startups, investing in women, women as leaders, and the rest. This includes events that may not be topically focused on women but are part of something called a “women’s track.” Here's why.
It has been a great few weeks for the MergeLane fund. When people ask us what our criteria are for investments, we always talk about team as the distant number one priority. I wanted to share this recent, wonderful interchange with TomboyX after a great week for them:
How the media (and more) judges emotion in leadership differently between men and women, and the costs of those judgments.
Dennis Adsit of Adsum Insights guest blogs about turning your one-on-ones from pedestrian checklist run-throughs to opportunities for connection and growth.