Diversity & Inclusion
Investing / POC in Tech / Venture capital

Why WowMii is vetting investment-worthy startups

It's about exposing more founders — especially entrepreneurs of color — to potential investors. “The biggest issue isn't a lack of ideas; it's a lack of access to funding,” said WowMii founder Eric Hicklen.

WowMii is slated to launch for D.C. area startups in May. (Screenshot via wowmii.com)

Say you have a shiny idea for a new startup, but only empty pockets.
Eric Hicklen’s WowMii is here to help — within certain limits, of course.
His new investment fund will help up-and-coming entrepreneurs get access to that elusive angel investor — after a thorough vetting process.
WowMii is currently raising funding of its own and is slated to launch in D.C. in May.
Besides performing due diligence and checking that the startup is real, Hicklen said, WowMii will ensure that founders “have a stick-to-itiveness with making the company work.”

Eric Hicklen

Eric Hicklen. (Photo via LinkedIn)


Meanwhile, VCs will have access to a list of judiciously chosen startups, initially centered around the D.C. and Philadelphia areas.
Once a startup is on the site, each investor will be free to become involved — or not — with the  company.
And WowMii will help smaller VCs get in on those so-called “unicorn” deals.
“Investors will also get to see investments that some of the bigger VCs are working on,” said Hicklen, and will have the opportunity to invest along side of them.
Hicklen, who is based in Philadelphia, chose D.C. as his focus market because, he said, it’s a good area for technology investments in specialized fields like healthcare and education.
But another factor drew him here, too: the city’s large and business-savvy minority population.
D.C. is “highly populated with minorities looking for a way into technology,” he said. “The biggest issue isn’t a lack of ideas; it’s a lack of access to funding,” he said, echoing what Technical.ly DC has heard from several other black entrepreneurs.
“We want to educate some minorities on how to become angel investors and get involved in the technology boom,” Hicklen said, and encourage others to become founders or cofounders of startups.
In addition to gaining access to a network of VCs, WowMii portfolio companies will also have the opportunity to participate in a flexible mentorship program.
Hicklen is not going for the traditional accelerator approach: “[We] don’t want to bring everyone into a building and watch over your shoulders,” he said.

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