WeWork and SoftBank unveil the first 14 startups in their Emerge accelerator for underrepresented founders

WeWork and SoftBank unveil the first 14 startups in their Emerge accelerator for underrepresented founders thumbnail

SoftBank Investment Fund and WeWork Labs say they’ve officially kicked off the first session of Emerge, an accelerator program designed for underrepresented founders.
In their press release, the companies describe Emerge as “launched by SoftBank with support from WeWork Labs” (that’s the co-working company’s global accelerator program), with a goal of bringing more equality to tech and venture capital.
It’s an equity-free, eight-week program that includes workshops, access to mentors from SoftBank and the WeWork community and sessions with SoftBank executives. It all culminates in a showcase event for investors and SoftBank partners.
The Emerge website describes the program as based in San Mateo, Calif. — but given COVID-19, the sessions and programming are all virtual.
“Supporting underrepresented founders is a top priority for us, ensuring we see more diverse startups across the tech ecosystem,” said Catherine Lenson, managing partner and chief human resources officer at SoftBank Investment Advisers, in a statement. “There is a lack of diversity in the sector as a whole, and we need to do more to address it. That is why we’re excited to launch this program and to see the positive impact that these inspiring founders will have.”
This is also a reminder that while the larger corporate entities are currently embroiled in a legal and financial dispute, WeWork and its largest investor remain closely intertwined.
Here are the 14 startups in the initial program:

Aquagenuity, which allows users to take any smart device and track water quality and monitor their environment in real time from any smart device
Bridge to College, which helps students choose colleges wisely by matching and providing data
Caldo uses flexible automation and mobile designs to power satellite eateries for restaurants
GameJolt, a platform for gamers to follow 100K+ games while they’re still in development
Koniku, which is diagnosing disease using breath
Mogul, which helps employers find diverse talent
Moment AI, which uses AI to understand the driver and improve safety
Node, which builds houses through a proprietary assembly kit
OjaExpress, a marketplace connecting immigrants and foodies to local ethnic mom and pop grocery stores
Proven, which offers personalized skin care products powered by The Skin Genome Project, winner of MIT’s 2018 Artificial Intelligence Award
Rebellyous Foods, a production stack for plant-based meat
ScriptHealth, which provides easy access to prescription medications
Shyft, which builds IoT hardware and integrated software to connect and intelligently manage distributed energy resources
SPS, a cross-border payments provider operating across all major U.S. states and Canada

        , <br>TechCrunch

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