May 15, 2020

The Startup Runway Foundation is thrilled to announce Spring 2020 Showcase Finalists. These founders will pitch May 20 for a total of $20,000 in grants. Founders, investors, and innovators are invited to break out sessions, mentoring sessions, and competitive voting. The half-day virtual event brings together the inclusive innovation ecosystem. Startup Runway is the largest pitch event for underrepresented founders in the country.

“Do you think like a VC? I’m excited about the dynamic this year between the Cox Enterprises $10K Judge’s Prize, awarded by professional venture capitalists, and the American Family Institute’s Audience’s Choice Prize, awarded by attendees,” says Lisa Calhoun, Startup Runway founder and general partner at Valor Ventures.

Professional investors mentoring and judging Finalists include Marlon C. Nichols of MaC Venture Capital (Los Angeles), Brittany Henry of Impact America Fund (San Francisco), Allan Jean-Baptiste with KKR (New York), Tanya Sam of Ambition Fund (Atlanta), Richard Fraim of Knoll Ventures (Atlanta), Robin Bienfait of Valor Ventures (Atlanta), and Eller Mallchok of Jumpstart Foundry (Nashville).

The Showcase 8 Finalists distinguished themselves in a competitive process that involved reviews of hundreds of startups who have raised $100K or less and have not attended a national accelerator such as TechStars, 500 Startups, or YCombinator. Diverse teams return 30% more capital to investors on average, according to a Kauffman Fellows study of 20,000 startups over ten years.

The Finalists are Small Bites Adventure Club, WPClover, Pruuvn, ePerkz and Klippit of Atlanta, Georgia; Kynsho of Brooklyn, NY; Candi of Chicago, IL; Orchard of Gainesville, FL; FRSH of Los Angeles, CA; and Qardian Labs of Knoxville, TN.

Breakout sessions for attendees and Finalists are led by rising stars of the inclusive innovation ecosystem. For example, TK Petersen, co-founder and COO at The Gathering Spot, leads a discussion group on “Nailing it and Scaling it” for founders. Sheena Allen, CEO of Capway, backed by investors including Initialized, Maveron, and Valor Ventures, will lead a virtual discussion table on “How To Raise Your First $500k.”

Atlanta’s Spring Startup Runway Showcase is presented by Cox Enterprises, with sponsorship from American Family Institute for the Audience’s Choice Grant, Slalom Consulting as our mentorship sponsor, Goldman Sachs, Write2Market, The Gathering Spot, and Valor Ventures.

About Startup Runway

The Startup Runway Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, is the largest pitch event in the country for underrepresented founders. The mission of Startup Runway is to introduce top under-represented founders to their first professional investor. Under-represented founders lead 40% of all startups, yet receive less than 5% of venture capital. Since its inception in 2016, Finalists in the program have been six times more successful at finding funding. One in three founders who pitched at Startup Runway successfully raised at least a seed round. More here: