Seed Founder Cohort
In 2022, TEWG's pilots focused on supporting seed founders to help these marginalized entrepreneurs navigate one of the most crucial phases for startups: the seed phase.
From facilitating introductions between founders and venture capitalists to organizing PR and marketing efforts, TEWG helped nine founders take targeted steps towards their next funding milestones while simultaneously helping TEWG develop resources and consolidate efforts with real-time founder input.
How We’re Supporting The Founders' Journey To Their Next Round
The GET Cities Seed Founder cohort is the first time all of the current Tech Equity Working Group 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 in the form of co-designing and participating in targeted network-building and introduction-focused interventions. The founders have additional opportunities to network and connect with investors, clients, and corporate sponsors.
We’re kicking off network building with a road show in San Francisco 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, we’re excited to test solutions locally that could be applied in other cities.
Public Relations Consultation
Seed Founder Journey Inaugural Cohort
Learn more about the #GETseed Founders and their road to success
Why Seed Founders Need Investment
(and why now is the time to invest)
Building a business from scratch is not for the faint of heart. The seed phase is the most crucial phase for startups, because this is when the business idea proves its market viability. But proof-of-concept comes with some costs—usually in the form of infrastructure, marketing and development. Businesses in the seed phase haven’t always earned revenue, and without seed funding, they are unlikely to progress further. Entrepreneurs from marginalized populations—women, trans, and non-binary people, particularly those who are Black, Latino/a, Indigenous, or people of color—are at an even greater disadvantage.
On average, companies with teams that are all men are typically awarded 300% more funding than women and BIPOC-founded companies in the seed phase. Marginalized founders on the whole often lack the connections needed to secure seed funding, while studies show that potential investors have a skeptical bias against women and other marginalized founders when compared to founders who are men. Without vital seed funding to realize their products and ideas, many women and BIPOC-founded startups aren’t even given the opportunity to succeed.
The system does not stack odds in the favor of these marginalized groups, which ultimately means that the greater population is missing out on life-changing ideas and innovations. If we are going to address gender and racial inequities, we must build new systems—and that can’t happen without investment at the seed phase.
Click Below To Read More About Why Chicago Seed Founders Need Support Now
“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.”