Three Charlotte startups — all of them run by women — are among just 10 companies selected for the prestigious Techstars accelerator in Austin this spring.
SkillPop, Milkful and The Waggle Company were chosen from more than 1,000 applicants for the 13-week program that puts companies in touch with startup bigwigs. These accelerators also put companies in front of big-money VC firms.
Founders Haley Bohon, Dina Carey and Meggie Williams will get the chance to rapidly grow and improve their businesses — and perhaps even to expand to more markets.
SkillPop is a platform for pop-up in-person classes. Some popular ones include hand-lettering, cross-stitching and watercolors.
Milkful produces nutritious snack bars that are good for breastfeeding moms.
The Waggle Company is an on-demand dog-walking service.
The announcement marks a huge achievement for the city’s startup community.
Acceptance into a program like this is an indicator that a startup has big potential. Having three companies in one class will be a clear sign that good things are happening in Charlotte’s startup scene.
There could easily be spillover effects. As mentors and funders come visit these three companies, perhaps they’ll take a look around at what else is going on in the city.
Mentorship is a big draw for Techstars.
All three founders said they’re most excited about the potential to find mentors — one of the key components of the program.
“As our company and team have grown, I’ve felt more and more stretched as a leader and I’m excited to learn from people who are several stages ahead of me,” Bohon, of SkillPop, said. She said the program will also give her a chance to focus in on key business metrics and rethink a long-term vision for the company.
“I’m super excited to surround myself and my business with this group that can really help to accelerate the growth of our business- as well as give us the tools to lead and manage that growth in a really effective way,” Carey of Milkful said.
Williams, of The Waggle Company, said Techstars will also help prepare the company to expand to new markets. “In addition to supercharging your business, Techstars aims to push your limits and expand your capacity as a leader,” she said.
The three founders will live in Austin for the duration of the accelerator, which runs from January 22 through April 20. All three both promised to return to Charlotte at the end.