NewME Accelerator Event Coming to Town

By Jennifer Johnson Backer

In the last 16 years, the number of firms owned by minorities and women has grown, but they still lag behind all firms in terms of revenue and employment, according to a report commissioned by American Express OPEN.


Silicon Valley entrepreneur Angela Benton, the CEO and founder of NewME, created the residential technology startup accelerator to spur growth in technology businesses that are led by under-represented minorities (African-Americans, Latinos and women).

While the 12-week NewME program is based in Silicon Valley, the technology accelerator has partnered with Google for Entrepreneurs to bring a condensed version of the program to Memphis, and other cities across the country, including: Atlanta, Durham, N.C., Austin, Texas, Kansas City, Los Angeles and Oakland.

“Silicon Valley is definitely the epicenter for technology startups,” Benton said. “People always try to replicate the culture that technology startups foster here in Silicon Valley, but that’s not really accessible to everyone else around the world. That’s part of why we are going to all of these other communities.”

The three-day event will be held June 28 to 30 at the FedEx Institute of Technology at the University of Memphis. Entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to receive one-on-one coaching from NewME experts and participate in a two-part workshop on the art of pitching everyone from future employees and community partners to bankers.

On Demo Day, startups will network with guests from Silicon Valley and key players in Memphis’ technology industry, and ultimately, pitch their ideas to a panel of local and Silicon Valley investors, who will serve as judges.

The winner will have a chance to win prizes valued at $45,000 and the opportunity to participate in the NewME Accelerator in San Francisco.

The pop-up NewME program already has been held in Miami, Washington, D.C., and Detroit. Zoobean, the winner of the Washington program, recently closed a $500,000 seed round led by Mitch Kapor, the founder of Lotus Development Corp.

“Our mission with Google for Entrepreneurs is to grow entrepreneurial communities and to equip them with the resources and technology they need to tackle big ideas and build amazing companies,” said Mary Grove, director of global entrepreneurship outreach at Google.

Those previous NewME pop-ups showcased the local startup cultures, Benton said.

“In D.C. we had a lot of companies in education and the solar industry and other industries regulated by the government,” she said. “In Detroit, we actually had a nonprofit that registered. It will be interesting to see who attends the Memphis event.”

The NewME registration fee is $99 per startup and $49 for students. Visit