Top 36 Startups Compete for $250,000 in Cash Awards

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VVM Accelerator Program Expands 20% to Meet Demand

Valley Venture Mentors (VVM) Alumni generated nearly $10 million in revenue and investment and more than 100 jobs in 2015. Now in its second year, VVM is expanding its Accelerator program for startups to meet demand and reward the quality of applicants. "We had nearly 200 applications from 20 countries and an incredible breadth of creative, innovative, and inspiring startups," said Liz Roberts, VVM Accelerator General Manager.

VVM accepted 36 startups for the 2016 program, up from 30 in 2015’s inaugural class. "We had so many quality startups apply that even after expanding 20%, we had to turn away dozens that were every bit as strong as last year's cohort," remarked Paul Silva, VVM Executive Director. Roberts agrees, "It’s energizing to see the demand for our high-quality startup support."

VVM’s Accelerator program speeds the growth and success of startups and early stage companies, supplying four months of intensive training, mentorship, and rounds of competition as they take their ventures to the next level. VVM Accelerator participants develop relationships with funders and are eligible to win equity-free cash awards for their startups. "VVM’s Accelerator helps startups dodge pitfalls and get to revenue and investment faster and better prepared to succeed," says Silva.

Sponsors including MassMutual, MassDevelopment, The Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation, Mass Tech Collaborative, and the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts provide the $250,000 cash prize pool.

Several of the companies accepted to the 2016 VVM Accelerator are graduates of VVM’s Mentorship program, including AuthenFOOD, Name Net Worth, Need/Done Inc., Prophit Insight, Simple Diaper and Linen, and StreetLight.

2016 VVM Accelerator Cohort:

  • AuthenFOOD - Online marketplace where people can order healthy and affordable meals from local private chefs.
  • Backflip (2452489 Ontario Inc.) - Backflip - Awesome event experience.
  • BarterSugar - Marketplace connecting startups to fill needs by trading their resources instead of spending cash.
  • Beautiful World International - BWI Magazine is a luxury magazine you can watch and a TV you can read.
  • Beehive Sewing Studio - The Pioneer Valley’s first pay-by-the-hour sewing studio. Launched in 2012, Beehive Sewing offers beginning and advanced sewists access to sewing machines, tools, equipment, and well-appointed workspace.
  • Better.bike - Manufacturing a fully enclosed pedal/electric vehicle combining the utility of a car with the healthy, low cost, and fun aspects of a bike.
  • Bitupp - A multi-vendor e-commerce site for innovation and creation.
  • Celia Grace | Fair Trade Wedding Dress Collection|Social Enterprise - Exquisite ethical wedding dresses that give back and empower women around the world. Fair Trade Eco dresses in stores and online.
  • Clear Ecotech - A nanotechnology company with flagship product FogKicker, a biodegradable anti-fog solution made from nanocellulose.
  • Cultivate and Nest, Inc. - Family forward co-working space with integrated childcare options for entrepreneurial parents in Western Massachusetts.
  • DaVinci Arms - Designer and manufacturer of industry leading firearms suppressors and accessories for mission critical applications.
  • Dilaura Naturals - All-natural handmade personal care products based in Springfield.
  • Do+Make Business District - Online community and school for women who left the 9 to 5 to pursue their creativity through business.
  • GovBizConnect, LLC - Online professional network for government contracting professionals.
  • Homebody Holistics - All-natural and handcrafted, Homebody herbal cleaning solutions are purely safe and clean with a conscience. Healing begins at home!
  • iRollie - Phone case manufacturer and online retailer with flagship product the rolling tray phone case #rollwithit #iRolliefam
  • isongU LLC - A free, unbiased pathway to music stardom: Songs that rate high enough to beat our smart filters will gain mass acclaim.
  • Just Jane's - The Ben & Jerry's of jam. Unique, flavorful, low-sugar artisan jams and jellies made with all natural ingredients.
  • Lioness Magazine - The digital magazine for female entrepreneurs. We give women the latest news, tools and resources to launch and scale startups.
  • Livingua - An app that connects travelers to locals who know the language and culture wherever and whenever desired.
  • Name Net Worth - Connective platform that leverages trusted relationships to measure and strengthen a user's personal and professional networks.
  • NanoTechGalaxy, Inc - Web platforms that empower enterprises to analyze big data and make data-driven decisions.
  • Need/Done Inc - Instant help for kids and home from people your parent network trusts.
  • NextLevel.Healthcare - Bringing medical businesses and technologies together by providing medical dashboards for specialty practices.
  • On-Her-Own - Nationally scalable model of work-study at college startups in Ethiopia to empower low-income female students.
  • Prophit Insight - We help healthcare providers to expand their markets and drive top-line growth
  • Referral Resolution - Expedites referrals for mental health services to mental health agencies.
  • Robariah Farms - Local, pasture-raised, kosher meats, combining sustainable agriculture and animal welfare.
  • Simple Diaper & Linen - Do you recycle and compost? Simple can do the same with your diapers. Live your ethics; we’ll clean up the mess! Fresh commercial linens too.
  • Simply Wine, LLC - Delivers lower cost, immediately available wine for the consumer by implementing a smartphone app with retailer POS systems.
  • StreetLight - A real-time directory of specials and events for bars, restaurants, music venues and more.
  • Sumu - Helps you find and secure your next home.
  • Thaddeus E MacIntyre LLC Dba Scout curated wears - Scout Curated Wears is a designer, curator, and producer of thoughtful women's accessories.
  • Weaving for Peace - Creating income for youth affected by HIV/AIDS in Rwanda through fiber arts.
  • Whole Cooking - Your local supermarket's rotisserie will be replaced with a newly branded Whole Cooking all natural and organic rotisserie take-out counter.
  • Wizio Inc. - Wizio is an online apartment search, application, and leasing platform with virtual reality tours. A one-stop shop for leasing. #FindYourSpace

About Valley Venture Mentors (VVM):

VVM is building, supporting, and maintaining a community to launch an entrepreneurial renaissance in Western Massachusetts, starting in downtown Springfield. By nurturing startups, the organization impacts the employees startups hire, the customers they serve, and the neighborhoods they revitalize. http://www.valleyventurementors.org
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HTML version of this release (with links) available at: http://www.valleyventurementors.org/news/vvm-accelerator-expands-after-applications-soar/

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Paul Silva

Liz Roberts
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