The largest and most diverse cohort of businesses to date have been selected for the fourth cohort of WiSTEM, 1871’s innovative and customized program designed to accelerate and cultivate opportunities for women in technology. The 14 women-owned companies will begin the 12-week program March 21.
“1871’s WiSTEM program continues to produce opportunities and foster growth of women-owned businesses,” said Jessica Williams and Nicole Yeary, co-facilitators of the WiSTEM program. “WiSTEM as a program continues to thrive, creating an environment where these women-led businesses form a supportive community as they grow. We are thrilled at the progress the businesses have made and look forward to expanding and extending the reach of the program further into the community.”
Since the program launched in Fall 2015, 38 companies have graduated from 1871’s WiSTEM program. In total, the businesses have created nearly 200 jobs and raised nearly $10 million in funding.
The members of the fourth WiSTEM class are:
Tiffany Mikell, AerialSpaces
Ritu Trivedi-Purohit, Thriveosity
Patrice Darby, GoNanny
Kimberly Lewis, CurlMix
Lisa Souter, Sparkl
Angela Rivera, InReach
Heather Holmes, Genivity
Kara Scanlin, Lystr
Andrea Newberry, Leche Libre
Vedavathi Konduru, VectorScient
Brianna Wolin, Find Your Ditto
Barbara Provost, Purse Strings, LLC
Zenah Khawaja, Semiautomatic Semiotics
Shaniqua Davis, Noirefy
The WiSTEM curriculum is built upon three pillars: technology, community and access to capital. Leadership sessions cover topics around business acumen and relationship building. Peer-to-peer learning and knowledge sharing are critical, and every week the “Cohort Confab” provides space for the entrepreneurs to ask for help with present challenges and celebrate their successes together. The curriculum also focuses on fundraising strategy and pitch sessions in order to better prepare the founders as they begin to seek investment. Each cohort concludes with a Showcase event where the businesses pitch to a crowd filled with tech leaders, supporters and potential investors.
In 2017, the WiSTEM program is expanding to three cohorts thanks to generous funding by JPMorgan Chase Co., allowing 1871 to serve more than a dozen additional businesses and potentially up to 20 more female entrepreneurs.
“The WiSTEM program has truly been a game-changer for me,” said Tara Swords, Founder and CEO of Olfactif and member of WiSTEM’s third cohort. “I feel more connected than ever to the broader community and I feel supported by my fellow cohort members. I look forward to continuing to work with everyone involved in WiSTEM in the future and remaining a vibrant member of this growing community.”
About the cohort companies:
AerialSpaces: AerialSpaces is an app for creating live immersive learning environments in minutes. Our live video platform and marketplace increases the engagement metrics of remote learners and virtual educational experiences. We’re the Facebook LIVE for educators and the Meetup.com for online educational events.
thriveosity: thriveosity is an innovative and much-needed subscription-model box designed as a gift option for cancer patients, survivors and caregivers, to help support them along the path toward becoming thrivers. Thrivers are those who flourish with unbending resilience in the face of adversity. thriveosity is a tangible, practical and caring way for loved ones to offer meaningful support needed to navigate cancer recovery by boosting the recipient’s spirits while providing the necessary tools needed to survive and thrive beyond a cancer diagnosis.
GoNanny: GoNanny is a ridecare service for kids. Designed by childcare experts with over five decades of combined experience, we help busy parents tackle the child transportation crisis by providing quality care from point A to point B and beyond. Care and safety are our highest priorities, and as such, we provide the following: Consistent GoNannies who have at least three years of professional childcare experience, pass our rigorous 22 point vetting system and complete GoNanny's training program. Our digital platform offers nine premium features allowing parents to customize rides and care according to their family's evolving needs.
CurlMix: CurlMix sends our monthly subscribers five to seven all natural ingredients to mix their own hair products with step-by-step instructions and the necessary tools to mix. CurlMix allows customers to create all-natural, luxury hair care products in just 15 minutes. A normal DIY project of this nature can take up to four hours.
Sparkl: Sparkl is a waterless, eco-friendly car wash that comes to you. With the touch of an app on your smartphone, you can order a car wash anytime anywhere, and background checked professionals bring all of the equipment necessary to get the job done. In addition to the B2C market, Sparkl provides convenience to businesses, residential buildings and apps that offer complementary services to increase operational efficiency and to provide additional benefits to consumers and residents.
InReach: InReach brings equitable access to higher education, one personalized conversation at a time. Through its college readiness platform, InReach connects prospective and current college students to share authentic and meaningful connections via text, phone and video chat. With InReach, high school students become empowered to make informed and confident decisions on higher education.
Genivity: Genivity helps wealth managers offer a more holistic approach to their client's financial needs through a comprehensive health-span and care cost planning platform. This solves the health = wealth conundrum, a top concern of affluent clients, while also providing a gateway for advisors to deepen client relationships and engage the client's adult children in conversations about financial planning strategies for health risks.
Lystr: Lystr makes grocery shopping a breeze. Lystr is a connected home device that lives in your kitchen and creates your grocery list -- swipe a product's barcode past its face or say “Hey Lystr, add bananas” and the item is added to your companion Lystr smartphone grocery list app. Send your list to one of Lystr's partners and have your groceries delivered or available for pick-up. The Lystr grocery list app is shareable among household members and accessible on-the-go, so you’ll never forget anything at the store again. Lystr previous participated in the University of Chicago Booth School of Business New Venture Challenge.
Leche Libre: Leche Libre is an edgy apparel brand which empowers women to confidently breastfeed whenever they want, wherever they go in effortless style. Zippers along the bust allow for easy and discreet nursing access. Leche Libre's fierce designs can stand the test of time with looks women want to wear whether they're breastfeeding or not, allowing the modern mom to step out in style without losing their edge. Never worry about breastfeeding in public again! Zip and sip.
VectorScient: VectorScient is a cloud based platform for e-commerce and retail companies to run effective email and direct mail marketing operations. Our revenue boosting predictions aid in designing hyper-targeted campaigns for increased sales and maximum customer response rates. This is done by analyzing consumer information using advanced machine learning algorithms to generate highly accurate predictions.
Find Your Ditto: Find Your Ditto is the first and only mobile platform that connects individuals living with the same chronic illness locally for on-demand, in-person peer support to foster organic relationships that combat depression and isolation prevalent in chronic illness communities.
Purse Strings, LLC: Purse Strings is the bridge between women who want to learn how to make smart financial decisions and the insurance/financial industry which has ignored this 14 trillion dollar audience. Purse Strings educates women on how to make smart financial decisions and provides education to insurance/financial professionals on how to engage the female market.
Semiautomatic Semiotics: Theater style virtual reality (aka VR) technology has been previously associated with increases in consumer sales into the double digits as well as with extending dwell time. Such an approach also better meets the current brand amplification needs of brick & mortar retailers in multiple ways. Going forward, Semiautomatic Semiotics also plans to develop user locomotion software that will transport an individual at will through beautiful landscapes, imaginary settings and famous trails.
Noirefy: Noirefy is a minority referral platform built to connect underrepresented minorities to opportunities globally. Noirefy was established as a response to a lack of inclusion and diversity in the corporate workforce to effectively connect top tier companies to qualified minority applicants through a digital referral system and virtual social network. The growing, women-led, minority referral system seeks to bridge the gap between minorities that are qualified for positions and the amount that are actually interviewed and hired.