Techstars launches accelerator in Miami to support diverse founders; applications are open

Techstars today announced Miami will be one of the first cities to host its new accelerator program for diverse founders, and Techstars Miami‘s call for applications is now open. Andres Barreto will be leading the program as managing director.

Techstars is partnering with J.P. Morgan, which will invest more than $80 million in diverse cities across the country.  Over the next three years, the investment will be distributed to more than 400 companies through 37 Techstars programs in 9 U.S. cities.

The first five cities — Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, and Washington D.C. — launch today with a call for applications from entrepreneurs of all backgrounds. The Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York and Oakland programs will launch in 2023. The deadline for Miami applications is May 11.

The cities were selected for several strategic reasons including the prominence of the diverse make-up of their populations which each program seeks to reflect. Techstars and J.P. Morgan began partnering in 2021 to develop this program focused on advancing equitable access to funding in major economic centers.

In the first half of 2021, Black entrepreneurs received just 1.2 percent of U.S. venture capital funding. Additional data show that Latino founders raised only 2 percent of U.S. venture capital investments in 2021. This partnership seeks to help bridge the racial and ethnic wealth divide through Techstars’ accelerators that provide access to capital, one-on-one mentorship, and customized programming for early-stage entrepreneurs, Techstars said.

The Miami program is open to founders of all backgrounds, but recruitment efforts will have a focus on Black, Latino and Hispanic entrepreneurs and those who identify with being racially and ethnically diverse.

For Barreto, becoming Techstars Miami’s managing director is a homecoming. Prior to running Techstars Boulder before this news, he was a seed investor and founded Grooveshark, Onswipe and, among others.

Andres Barreto, Managing Director, Techstars Miami

“Miami has the geographic advantage, network, and track record as a hub to serve the U.S. and LATAM. Our program leverages that edge to help entrepreneurs scale their companies,” writes Barreto in announcing the news. He says Techstars Miami will be looking for founders “with a deep understanding of customers’ pain and an extraordinary ability to execute quickly.”

About Miami, he adds, “there is a massive opportunity in funding and scaling companies led by founders from diverse backgrounds. The talent has always been here, but opportunity and capital are finally catching up.” Find a Q&A with him with more details about the program here.

Also part of the Miami Techstars team is Malte Witt, an investment principal, and Edgard Duque, an investment associate.

“This new commitment will advance the shift toward more equitable economic opportunities through access to financial services, mentorship, quality education and training, and promoting inclusive business practices,” said Tiffany Lewis, head of diverse manager strategy at J.P. Morgan Private Bank, in a statement.

Techstars reports that 27% of its existing portfolio company CEOs identifying as Black, Hispanic and Latino, Indigenous American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, Middle East/North African.

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg and email her at [email protected]

Nancy Dahlberg