The Rundown: 2018 #PEAccelerator

#PEaccelerator, #PEAcceleratorClass, #PEClassOf2018, female founders, inspiration, UBS

Between June 11 and July 18, Project Entrepreneur hosted its five-week accelerator program for female founders. And for the first time, this year’s Accelerator Class included not only the five 2018 PE Winners who incubated at Rent the Runway Headquarters in New York City, but also five additional companies whose founders were placed at Birchbox, Jetblack, Samsung NEXT, The Knot / XO Group, and Thrive Global.

Over the course of the #PEAccelerator, these ten women, our #PEAcceleratorClass, visited local tech companies, met with venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, and connected with experts at Rent the Runway and UBS to gain insight and advice on topics critical to building and scaling a high-growth company.

Project Entrepreneur 2018 #PEAcceleratorClass at UBS Headquarters - Photo Credit: Amanda Gentile/ADG Photography
The 2018 #PEAcceleratorClass (from left): Katherine Clayton of OmniVis; Stephanie Conduff of Leche Lounge; Morgan Spenla of The Crafter’s Box; Christine Schindler of PathSpot; Mara Lecocq of Secret Code; Aline Sara of NaTakallam; Muhga Eltigani of NaturAll Club; Erin Janklow of Entrada ESL; Alicia Chong of Bloomer Health Tech; Eva Sadej of Floss Bar; Photo credit: Amanda Gentile/ADG Photography

 

We have been so fortunate to have these talented female founders participate in this year’s PE Accelerator. Past accelerator participants inspire us even now with their incredible progress, including closing rounds of funding and becoming thought leaders in their respective fields, and we’re looking forward to seeing how the 2018 Accelerator Class will leverage the tools and support they received in the Accelerator to disrupt their various industries.

The 2018 #PEAcceleratorClass had some amazing experience over the course of their very jam-packed five weeks in the program. Our founders learned firsthand from Rent the Runway Co-Founders Jenn Hyman and Jenny Fleiss, as well as Susan Lyne of BBG Ventures, Anu Duggal of Female Founders Fund, and Lisa Skeete Tatum of Landit, plus UBS executives and subject matter experts from Glossier, Refinery29, The Knot/XO Group and Rent the Runway.

 Keep reading for a quick recap of just a few of the opportunities these female founders were able to take advantage of during the PE Accelerator!

 

Week 1

The #PEAcceleratorClass hits the ground running. The female founders visited the Rent the Runway Dream Fulfillment Center and heard from the leadership team on site about how the operations at Rent the Runway have been perfected and shaped over time. The founders also had breakfast with Rent the Runway Co-Founders Jenn Hyman and Jenny Fleiss. Jenn and Jenny shared the Rent the Runway founding story, plus how they each felt at each stage of the journey, and the ways they worked together through the process of building Rent The Runway.

Week 2

The founders learned about PR from Carley Roney, Co-Founder of The Knot/XO Group. Carley taught the #PEAcceleratorClass that it’s totally okay to not answer certain questions and that reporters expect that. The founders also met with staff at Rent the Runway and met one-on-one with Rent the Runway Co-Founder Jenny Fleiss, who is also the Co-Founder and CEO of JetBlack.

Week 3

This week the #PEAcceleratorClass paid a visit to Glossier, the beauty company founded by Emily Weiss, and learned all about social media marketing and using social media to authentically connect and engage with their customers. The founders also attended a lunch-and-learn with Ron Cordes, Co-Founder of the Cordes Foundation, who shared some great advice on building an enterprise in its early stages and also shared insights about preparing for an exit.

Week 4

Project Entrepreneur, our founding partner UBS and the #PEAcceleratorClass rang the closing bell at NYSE this week! It was an amazing opportunity to showcase the power of women’s entrepreneurship and share the experiences of our female founders.

Week 5

The #PEAcceleratorClass had a whirlwind week to close out the Accelerator. A full day of workshops at UBS ended with the Project Entrepreneur Showcase, which introduced our female founders to staff and clients of UBS.

Photo credit: Amanda Gentile/ADG Photography

 

The founders pitched their companies and got amazing insight, advice (and connections!) from the UBS team, their clients and other supporters. The founders also made visits to the Refinery29 and Jet headquarters before closing out the Accelerator during a reception hosted by Ron and Marty Cordes, the founders of the Cordes Foundation.

Photo credit: Iain Toft


We had an amazing five weeks with our #PEAcceleratorClass, and we’re so grateful to Rent the Runway, UBS, and the amazing companies that were part of our accelerator program this year. It was definitely our best yet!

Are you a female founder interested in joining our Accelerator Class in 2019? Sign up for the PE newsletter to be the first to know when applications for the Project Entrepreneur Venture Competition open this fall: http://projectentrepreneur.org/stay-in-touch/