A coalition of social impact-focused Atlanta organizations have landed a $100,000 grant from the inaugural Kapor Center Tech Done Right challenge. The grant will be used to launch the Intentionally Good project, an initiative that aims to help up to 50 startups over the next year.
The non-profit Kapor Center was founded by famed Silicon Valley tech investors Mitch Kapor and Freada Kapor Klein of Kapor Capital to help close gaps of access and encourage diversity in the tech sector.
The national Tech Done Right challenge, which was also supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, put $1 million up for grabs for organizations across the country with plans to close racial and gender equity gaps in technology and entrepreneurship.
“ Together we’re moving toward a tech sector that provides robust opportunities for previously untapped and overlooked talent,” said Cedric Brown, Chief Foundation Officer at the Kapor Center. Ten organizations were chosen for grants out of 120 applications from 48 cities.
This was the only grant awarded to an organization in the Southeast, says project head Joey Womack. Womack’s social impact pre-accelerator Goodie Nation is the spearheading organization for Intentionally Good.
True to the challenge mission, the startups accepted into the program will be either led by underrepresented founders (Black, Latinx, or women entrepreneurs) or have a social impact-driven mission.
Intentionally Good’s thesis is deceptively simple: to succeed, startups must secure relationships with strategic partners at the right time in their lifecycle. That can mean connecting with corporations who can become clients, influencers (think athletes, musicians, and celebrities) to encourage brand recognition, or investors for growth capital.
Womack and an advisory board will identify up to 10 startups each quarter that fit the program mission and are at the right stage to accelerate traction — that could mean they’re in a beta stage, generating revenue, or ready for seed funding.
With the help of partners and mentors, Intentionally Good will assess these startups and prepare them for connections to corporate, influencers, or investors. They’ll go through workshops, attend exclusive entrepreneur dinners and participate in other relationship-building activities.
Founders in the cohorts will also have access to mental health sessions, similar to Goodie Nation’s existing ‘Founder Therapy’ program.
The last step in the process is securing the pilots, clients, influencer partnerships, and investor connections that will tangibly enable these companies to grow. Intentionally Good will also host a demo night at this stage of the process.
The program is structured more like an incubator than a traditional accelerator — no financial capital is provided upfront, no equity is taken, and it can be completed on a part-time basis.
Womack says they have already secured local partners for the project, most notably Collab, an entrepreneurship and wealth-building organization focused on the black community, and techPlug, a health-focused innovation firm.
“We have a unique opportunity to break down the barriers which often keep underrepresented founders from being successful — lack of access and lack of funding,” says Collab Managing Partner Jewel Burks Solomon. “By focusing around a shared goal and rallying the support of the entire ecosystem, we will prove founders from all backgrounds can be successful, and their success can change communities.”
Additional partnerships with other community organizations, incubators, accelerators and the like will continue to develop.
Applications for startups to apply to Intentionally Good open August 7. The group is currently recruiting team members for what they’re calling the Failed Founder Fellowship — a part-time role for former founders whose first company didn’t quite work out. Those applications are open until August 28.
Photos via Goodie Nation