GET Cities Unveils Seed Founder Cohort as a Catalyst for Change in the Tech Industry
Tech Equity Working Group tackles seed founder funding to close the gap in Chicago and to encourage others to directly invest in marginalized entrepreneurs at this stage as a catalyst for equity in tech nationally.
CHICAGO– November 14, 2022— GET (Gender Equality in Tech) Cities and their Tech Equity Working Group (TEWG) announce the launch of the GET Seed Founder Cohort, co-designed with Chicago-based, women-founded tech startups to raise funds, build connections and amplify their brand(s). This first round of startups include WeSolv, Wave Therapeutics, Stigma, BakIt Box, Cyber Popup, Mycocycle, Co-Created Goods (Formerly This Moment), Neopenda and New Era ADR.
GET Cities recognizes the need to invest in these women-founded companies as a way to address the national issue of the technology industry’s gender equity gap.
“One of the key ways we work to increase equity in tech is by finding the points of leverage in the system where a small change can make a big impact. Only 20-30% of seeded companies move on to Series A. But once you get there, the odds of success nearly double, making this a catalyzing inflection point if we want to increase the number of successful marginalized founders and the amount of capital they receive.” - Elle Ramel, GET Cities Chicago Director
According to P33, a Tech Equity Working Group member, women and BIPOC-founded companies are typically raising $1.2 million in the pre-seed and seed stages, while companies with teams made up of all men typically raise closer to $4.8 million in those same stages. Shrinking this 300% gap can have an outsized impact on who has power and influence in the industry.
“Based on our recent analysis of crunchable data, in the last 12 months, less than 14% of Chicago startups that received a pre-seed investment had a lead Chicago Investor. More evidence that the majority of viable venture-backable startups must leave the region to secure their first institutional financing rounds. However, thanks to the work of Long Jump, GET Cities, Fifth Star Funds, P33, and others, meaningful strides are being made in connecting founders with the capital they need both in Chicago and across the country,” Brad Henderson, CEO, P33.
The GET Cities Seed Founder Cohort is one of many initiatives to come out of GET Cities Chicago’s Tech Equity Working Group, which is a rolling cohort of accelerators, incubators, funds, and mission-aligned ecosystem supporters designing city-wide solutions and collective infrastructure to address gender and racial inequities for Chicago-based tech founders. Past successful piloted projects of the Tech Equity Working Group include a Venture Scout Fellowship that works to support aspiring marginalized venture capitalists (now hosted at TEWG member Chicago:Blend), and a Chicago Tech Desk that includes grants and consultation for marginalized entrepreneurs to tech enable their businesses. The GET Cities Seed Founder cohort is the first time all of our 17 current member organizations are collaborating to solve one big challenge together.
The participants of the Seed Founder Cohort receive assistance in reaching their next funding milestones and additional opportunities to network and connect with investors, clients and corporate sponsors. They’re kicking off the network building with a road show in San Francisco, including programming in and around Techstars FounderCon, to bring exposure to the exciting founders coming out of Chicago and to build connections across a broader national ecosystem. Since Chicago represents a tech hub with the highest number of women-owned startups in the country, the team is excited to test solutions locally that could be applied in other cities.
“There is so much to be proud of when it comes to the Chicago tech ecosystem. We are the epicenter of the country for diverse founders with more than 350 startups founded by women and 70 startups founded by BIPOC founders, and more are being created every day (source: Chicago Business Bulletin, WBC 2022). However, there is still much work to be done in moving the needle towards equity in the tech space, which is why World Business Chicago is dedicated to partnering with GET Cities on initiatives that support women, gender diverse, and BIPOC founders. The beauty of Chicago is how willing we are to collaborate and work together to achieve success.” - Nicole McCarthy, Director of Innovation and Venture Strategy, World Business Chicago
At its core, GET Cities aims to identify problems, test solutions at the local level and create a collaborative ecosystem intent on improving equity in tech. These pilots and initiatives aim to increase the number of marginalized founders succeeding and to put more money into their hands to create a more equitable tech ecosystem. With these initiatives, GET Cities is actively moving the needle toward gender equity in tech at a national scale.
GET Cities is looking for national and local partners looking to invest in seed founders or many of our other initiatives around equity in tech. Please reach out at contact details below to learn more.
About GET Cities & the Tech Equity Working Group
GET (Gender Equality in Tech) Cities, led by SecondMuse Foundation and Break Through Tech in partnership with Pivotal Ventures, is an initiative designed to accelerate the representation and leadership of women, transgender, and non-binary people in tech through the development of inclusive tech hubs across the United States. Currently, GET Cities has established local tech hubs in three U.S. cities: Chicago, Miami and D.C.
Tech Equity Working Group (TEWG), powered by GET Cities Chicago, is a rolling cohort of accelerators, incubators, funds, and mission-aligned ecosystem supporters designing city-wide solutions and collective infrastructure to address gender and racial inequities for Chicago-based tech founders.
P33 is a privately funded non-profit focused on driving inclusive, global tech and innovation leadership in Chicago. P33’s work is anchored in deep research and driven by a need to unlock the potential of the digital age to solve some of the toughest problems facing Chicago, such as equitable access to digital careers, talent retention, deep science commercialization, and gaps in our growth-stage startup ecosystem. Launched in 2019, P33 is co-chaired by Penny Pritzker, former Secretary of Commerce and founder and chairman of PSP Partners; Chris Gladwin, CEO and Cofounder of Ocient and Cleversafe; and Kelly Welsh, Former President of the Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago. www.p33chicago.com
World Business Chicago serves a critical role in driving inclusive and equitable recovery throughout the city's 77 neighborhoods, focused on high growth sectors: transportation, distribution, & logistics; manufacturing; healthcare & life sciences, and our local innovation, startup, & venture ecosystem. As the City of Chicago's economic development agency, World Business Chicago leads corporate attraction & retention, workforce & talent, community impact, and promotion of Chicago as a leading global city. Supported by a council of 300+ local leaders, World Business Chicago's portfolio of innovation & venture programs include: the Chicago Venture Summit series, Startup Chicago, ThinkChicago, and Venture Engine with the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition (ISTC). To learn more or get involved with GET Cities, visit their website at https://www.getcities.org.