Applications for DreamIt Ventures, the venture fund and startup accelerator program, kicked off yesterday, but Managing Partner Kerry Rupp is worried the news might be trumped by, well, by their other news: the Comcast Minority Entrepreneur Accelerator Program.
As TechCrunch shouted from the rooftops Thursday, Comcast Interactive Capital, the media giant’s investment division, has pledged $350,000 in supplementary seed funding, in addition to training, mentoring and other benefits, to five minority-led startups through the DreamIt program.
“There is an under-representation of [diversity in race, ethnicity and gender] in tech, particularly in incubation programs, and it doesn’t fit the people who run small businesses,” said Rupp. “This is not only an opportunity to help grow some strong companies but also to grow exposure in different communities about programs like DreamIt.”
DreamIt takes applications from startup businesses around the world. The founding staff of 15 companies are given limited seed funding, office space, housing, mentorship, direction and access to investors over an intensive three-month program.
Five of the 15 companies joining DreamIt this fall will be part of the Minority Entrepreneur program. In the past, DreamIt has been a summer program, but the schedule changed with its expansion to New York City.
In June, DreamIt will have news surrounding its interest in growing and retaining local companies, Rupp said. Many of the most promising startups incubated at DreamIt moved their headquarters elsewhere, like SCVNGR and SeatGeek.
DreamIt was a natural partner for Comcast, Rupp said, because proximity has helped fuel relationships between the two investment teams.
“This is a great hometown partnership that could grow to more,” she said, noting it was a one-year program that could likely become national. “Of course, we try to limit the restrictions so we can bring the absolute best companies, but we think it’s important to reach out to new communities and I’d bet it’s going to benefit Philadelphia.”
The early application deadline closes June 17 and the final deadline is July 8.