Incubators, accelerators, VC funds helping make Chicago tech startup scene more diverse, business leaders say
Incubators, accelerators and new VC funding options are helping to make the Chicago tech startup scene more diverse, business leaders say.
One example: Spool founder and CEO Catherine Merritt was part of 1871’s inaugural cohort, which was focused on providing resources for female tech entrepreneurs.
“There weren’t a whole lot of female founders at that time, and what I’ve seen is that there has been a real growth and surge of making sure that there is a better presence of under-represented founders and making sure they have access and resources,” Merritt said.
Spool has grown 684% in the last three years and was named No. 42 by Inc. 5000 fastest growing companies. That success led Merritt to a venture funding arm for the company.
“The lack of investment that goes to female BIPOC- and LGBTQ-founded companies, it's really not a surprise because when you look at the lack of representation from an investor and a VC standpoint. It's almost parallel,” Merritt said. “My hope and intention is to have a seat and to have a megaphone at the table and to be able to help to shift the dynamic. I really believe that if there can be more access for women and under-represented folks to sit at the table as an investor, then that's where real change can happen because that really impacts where and how the investment is deployed.”
To read the complete article, click here.