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UrbanGeekz Lands Coveted Spot on Washington DC’s 1863 Ventures Accelerator Program

UrbanGeekz has won a place on the highly competitive 1863 Ventures accelerator. Aptly named the Pipeline Program, the four-month intensive program accelerates New Majority entrepreneurs from high potential to high growth.

The thesis of 1863 is that there is an ample number of programs focused on startup businesses. However, few address how to specifically sustain and organically grow. This is significant because as new ventures come into the market, the number that remains diminishes. By year five, half of all these businesses no longer exist. 1863 led by Melissa Bradley and her dedicated team wants to reduce that risk of failure.

“We are thrilled to host the Pipeline Program to support emerging entrepreneurs across diverse sectors to help them scale,” said Bradley, Managing Partner of 1863. “The program is highly competitive with over 250 applicants for 20 spots. Success for graduates has included capital investment, joint venture opportunities, and distribution partnerships with large retailers,” added Bradley. “We are excited by our goal that Pipeline participants will contribute to $100B of new wealth by and for the New Majority entrepreneurs over the next ten years.”

Melissa Bradley, Managing Partner at 1863 Ventures

Melissa Bradley, Managing Partner at 1863 Ventures

The accelerator, formerly Project 500, has been running a variety of programs for just under four years. The Pipeline Program, now on its second cohort, is industry agnostic but works with companies that have customer traction, market validation, and evidence of revenue. The program is also focused on scalable businesses that have been operating between one to five years.

UrbanGeekz CEO Kunbi Tinuoye

Kunbi Tinuoye, the CEO of UrbanGeekz, one of the participating businesses on the 1863 Ventures Pipeline Program 2019 Winter Cohort

While the accelerator is mainly remote, training kicks off with a hands-on mandatory weeklong intensive residency from October 27 in Washington, DC. The culmination is a graduation ceremony taking place on November 2. All successful participants receive a Certification from Georgetown University McDonough School of Business. Select members will receive capital after completing the cohort. The program ends in late January although founders will receive continuing support and networking opportunities.

“We are a few days in and I’m blown away,” said Kunbi Tinuoye, CEO of UrbanGeekz and Pipeline Program participant. “The quality of teaching and learning materials have been exceptional. We’re also being exposed to top-notch lawyers, venture capitalists, and talented entrepreneurs. Pipeline is a safe space for ambitious women and founders of color to focus on building sustainable and scalable brands.”

At the core of the cohort-driven training program is an emphasis on solid execution to increase the odds of success for the New Majority. This is what 1863 calls historically overlooked and underserved communities represented primarily by women and founders of color.

“We are so fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a part of the Pipeline accelerator, having 6 days of hands-on intense training and mentorship on Church Space,” said Day Edwards, the CEO and founder of Church Space. “As the only startup geared toward emerging tech, churches, and the community, Church Space is a unicorn that needs special and particular advisory, and coaching.”

In addition to exposure to rigorous MBA-style coursework, cohort members receive individual coaching and access to vetted investors and experienced entrepreneurs. They also gain advice from corporate mentors through partnerships and access to subsidized services from an in-house professional services support team.

Like the Emancipation Proclamation the company name references, 1863 seeks to empower entrepreneurs of color. The team believes a cultural shift in how these diverse innovators see and identify themselves can change lives, communities, and generations. And they believe wealth and economic resilience through sustainable business development is key.

1863 Ventures Pipeline Program 2019 Winter Cohort 2

Participating founders of the 1863 Ventures Pipeline Program 2019 Winter Cohort 2

Meet the 20 companies who made the cut to participate in the 1863 Ventures Pipeline Program 2019 Winter Cohort:

Alexander Perry, Inc., a construction management company that also features interior design and architecture for commercial projects.

Bquate, a full-stack SaaS music platform and API-based solution for independent music companies.

Church Space, a SaaS marketplace designed for churches to earn passive income by simply renting their unused Church Space.

Coffee & Cornbread, all-natural cafe also featuring vegan food options.

Equus Striping, a full-service pavement marking company serving the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area.

Fiveable, a platform to prepare students for AP exams

Jidan Cleaning, a company with a state-of-the-art quality control inspection system that enables clients to be involved in the progress of their own projects.

MatTea, an innovative product that features a proprietary vocal luxury elixir for lecturers and entertainers from all genres.

Moisture Love, a collection of high performing plant-based products offer a higher degree of moisture for women with textured hair.

Nuekie, an innovative health and beauty company for people of color.

RoziSweets, an online African gourmet food and dessert company.

Rupi Virgin Hair, a Los Angeles based company that offers high quality, unprocessed natural hair extensions promoting hair growth.

Sotere Medical Solutions, the developer of the world’s only noninvasive platform for diagnosis and monitoring of early-stage atherosclerosis.

SpenDebt, a fintech company designed to assist people to pay off debt through everyday transactions.

Oratory Glory, a storytelling and human development agency.

Pain Stopper’s Inc., a CBD product line for pain management.

Premedly, a learning platform that tracks performance to help recruit top talent for health care roles.

UrbanGeekz, the first to market African American, Latinx, and multicultural digital news platform focused on technology, business, science, and startups.

Vioure, a professional property management company for short term rentals.

Wanderstay Hotels provides private and shared accommodations catering to budget-conscious travelers.

Main Image: Day Edwards, CEO and founder of Church Space



    Carlyn Pounders
    Carlyn Pounders
    Carlyn Pounders covers technology, business, and entrepreneurship at UrbanGeekz. She joined in 2017 after graduating from Georgia State University, where she was News Director at Georgia State Television.