Are you an urban innovator (think Uber and Airbnb) trying to get your idea off the ground? A new nonprofit accelerator wants to help. By Clara Brenner and Julie Lein (Co-Founders, Tumml)
Our company was born out of a women’s conference (no joke!). We founded Tumml in 2012 after working as co-directors of the MIT Sloan Women in Management Conference, the largest women’s event on campus that year, headlined by Marissa Mayer. We really loved working together, so we began looking for other opportunities to partner with one other.
After the conference, we met with one of the speakers, a venture capitalist based in Silicon Valley, who was interested in investing in the next generation of urban innovators (think Uber and Airbnb). Her passion for the space piqued our interest, so we started doing some research. After assembling a significant amount of information on the urban innovation space, we determined that these entrepreneurs are uniquely positioned to make significant positive impacts on our growing urban communities (81% of Americans now live in cities). But they also face a whole host of challenges unique to the urban space – for example, even though these companies aren’t looking to embed their products within a government agency, they still run up against a lot of regulatory-related challenges. We decided to start Tumml to address these hurdles and speed the growth of urban impact companies.
Tumml is an urban ventures accelerator focused on empowering entrepreneurs to solve urban problems. A nonprofit, Tumml's goal is to identify and support the next generation of Zipcars and Revolution Foods. Through its three-and-a-half month program, Tumml invites early-stage companies into its office space to receive hands-on support, seed funding, and services to help grow their businesses and make a significant impact on their communities.
We also connect the entrepreneurs in the program with our awesome group of mentors (who, incidentally, also help us pick the companies in our program). These mentors are civic and government leaders (such as the Chief Innovation Officer of San Francisco), successful urban impact entrepreneurs (such as the founder of Alta Bicycle Share), and investors (such as a Partner at Catamount Ventures).
We just opened the applications for our incubator, which are due April 30 (and accepted on a rolling basis). If you are interested in joining the first cohort, APPLY! If you know of someone who you think should be in our first cohort, tell THEM to apply! We are so excited to build a national network of urban innovators starting with this class. And, as a woman-run team, we’re excited to be opening doors for other awesome women (and male) entrepreneurs.
About the guest bloggers: Clara Brenner and Julie Lein are the co-founders of Tumml, a new urban ventures accelerator that empowers entrepreneurs to solve urban problems. Clara and Julie graduated in 2012 from the MIT Sloan School of Management. Follow them on Twitter @Tumml. Photo credit: [A25] via Flickr.