SoarTriangle, the Triangle-based program designed to help close the funding gap between male and female-led startups will soon select it’s third cohort of mentee companies.
Since its establishment just over two years ago, the program’s deep bench of advisors and principals like Groundwork Labs’ John Austin, Duke University visiting professor Lauren Whitehurst, serial entrepreneur and technologist Vickie Gibbs, and American Underground’s Adam Klein have mentored nine female-led startups, hosted numerous networking and educational events, and shepherded mentee companies through the process of building and scaling their companies.
The growth and success exhibited by previous mentees speak to the program’s impact. Mati Energy has raised more than $1M and opened its own facility to make tens of thousands of cans of energy drink a week. Sweetie Pie Organics got its toddler snack foods into 450 Whole Foods stores across the U.S. Tom & Jenny’s won several startup pitch competitions which brought in capital and elevated the healthy candy brand.
The program continues to iterate and improve, taking best practices from prior years and tweaking sessions or topic areas covered to better prepare mentee companies for success. The third year kicks off the first week of September with a new cohort of four to six startups. They'll be announced in August.
Applications can still be submitted until tomorrow, July 1st at 9:00 AM. The two requirements are that applicants be female and a leader of a startup that plans to raise money in the coming year.
Here's more of what to expect from Soar:
A structured program designed to help female entrepreneurs learn new skills
What began as strictly a mentoring program, now has an added layer of structure aimed to better prepare the teams to raise capital and scale faster.
Much like Groundwork Labs or The Startup Factory, SoarTriangle’s program offers group sessions led by the program’s principals and advisors. Experts in specific fields are also brought in to pass on their knowledge and expertise. For example, Jonathon Prinz, a locally based branding consultant, leads a session on branding and Ricci Wolman, CEO of Written Word Media, leads a session on digital marketing.
Michelle Harper (pictured top), founder of Savii Inc., and member of the most recent cohort says these sessions, “provided tools to accelerate growth” for her company.
Austin says roughly 80 percent of the sessions will remain the same for the incoming cohort, but tweaks will be made to the other 20 percent to make the sessions more relevant for the companies.
SoarTriangle will also continue hosting networking and educational opportunities like a new annual series called, “ELSI Talks.” The ELSI Talks—shorthand for, “Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Success, and Inclusion,” are sponsored by SAS.
Last year’s inaugural event focused on the topic of diversity in technology-based companies and included speakers like Red Hat’s DeLisa Alexander and Shaw University President Dr. Tashni-Ann Dubroy.
One-on-one mentoring with top startup advisors
Tangible progress from most Soar mentees
But Austin is careful to add that the SoarTriangle program is just a piece of the puzzle in building these businesses.
“For all of these, we don’t take credit for their success—it’s not like Akili Software came to Soar and therefore raised money,” Austin says. "But we think we’re a piece of the puzzle, and hopefully we were able to have some impact.”