Visible Hands — a venture capital firm with multiple programs that funds and empowers underrepresented founders launching high-growth startups — announces its first cohort of 20 entrepreneurs for VHBOS, a hybrid, 10-week Fellowship for Boston-based founders. The Fellowship program, created in partnership with the Barr Foundation, will provide $10,000 in non-dilutive funding and hands-on, business-oriented workshops to the 20 founders who are representative of Greater Boston’s rich racial and gender diversity.
VHBOS, a new Boston-based, 10-week fellowship program has officially launched its first cohort. This inaugural group of 20 founders who are representative of Greater Boston’s rich racial and gender diversity will work over the next few months to take their startups to the next level in a hybrid-model fellowship program, with financial and hands-on support from the Barr Foundation and Visible Hands.
The Boston-based founders who were accepted into VHBOS will get the guidance and support needed from the Visible Hands team to hit their next major startup milestone. The Barr Foundation has granted each of the cohort’s entrepreneurs $10K in non-dilutive funding to financially empower them to work on their startups, and Visible Hands will be providing company-building services over the course of the fellowship, as well as the opportunity for additional venture capital funding from the firm after successful completion of the program.
“We are proud to partner with Visible Hands as it launches its VHBOS cohort, providing early-stage entrepreneurs greater access to capital, resources, and connections, so they can expand opportunities for prosperity,” said Lisette Le, director of Barr Foundation’s Racial Wealth Equity Initiative. “This kind of targeted investment in underrepresented entrepreneurs is a promising strategy for closing the racial wealth gap in Greater Boston.”
The new fellowship program will be led by Luke Lennon, Visible Hands Product Manager and ’22 Visionaries Accelerator alum. Lennon’s career has been focused on using creativity and collaboration to empower communities and push for change.
“As a fellow underrepresented founder in Boston, I know that while resources are ample, finding community I can relate to is a challenge.” Lennon said. “That’s why I’m proud that Visible Hands, alongside the Barr Foundation, is focused on bringing overlooked founder communities together and helping them leverage all that Boston has to offer.”
Many talented individuals applied for VHBOS’ first cohort, and Visible Hands is excited to partner with the Barr Foundation to create a Boston-specific program for 20 new founders. In the last year, Visible Hands has created additional fellowship programs beyond their core accelerator as a way to bring more opportunities for growth to overlooked founders in different sectors. Being able to focus on Boston, VH’s birthplace, is exciting for the team.
“We at Visible Hands are thrilled to partner with the Barr Foundation on this exciting new fellowship,” said Daniel Acheampong, Co-Founder and General Partner of Visible Hands. “Together, we can empower emerging entrepreneurs and drive positive economic and social impact in their communities. This fellowship represents an incredible opportunity to cultivate the next generation of change-makers and fuel a culture of innovation and progress in Boston.”
VHBOS is an extension of the Visible Hands mission to support overlooked talent, in partnership with the Barr Foundation’s efforts to create more inclusion in the Greater Boston startup ecosystem.
Here are the amazing 20 founders and startups who make up the inaugural VHBOS cohort:
Aarushi Wadhwa, Jammify AI
Jammify will dynamically personalize produced music to the user’s input music creation (a guitar melody, or a pop vocal chorus) based on the user’s stylistic instrumental, genre, and mood choices. Jammify will enable the user to customize the system’s output based on simple options that remain within the guardrails of music theory rules. Jammify’s solution will make full-track music production 90% more affordable and accessible for artists.
Adjoa Edzie, Gruuvv
Gruuvv is a technology startup that aims to revolutionize the way people book and experience music entertainment. It offers an all-in-one platform that simplifies the process of booking DJs and provides a platform for DJs to showcase their skills and build their careers.
Ayo Oshinaike, Glow Up
Glow Up is a mobile app that helps beauty influencers make money from their expertise. They can create personalized makeup tutorials and recommendations for users, and even do virtual makeup applications through video calls. This allows influencers to showcase their skills and make money based on the popularity of their content.
Benjamin Villa, OpenSpaces
OpenSpaces.me is a new platform for parks, public spaces and your favorite communities. It aims to strengthen local social fabrics in an age of increasing digitality by stimulating face-to-face interactions of unconnected individuals who share similar interests and concerns within discrete geographic locations.
Bobbi Wegner, Groops
For organizations that experience the high cost of employee disconnection, Groops helps teams deepen connection so they feel better, perform better, and stay longer. It brings experts in group psychology to the virtual office to lead ongoing guided conversations.
Chika Okafor, Todaydream
Todaydream’s mission is to empower the next generation by providing the largest community of diverse leading professionals — truly inspirational people — ever assembled who it trains to share their stories. Todaydream has built an online platform that allows schools, nonprofits, and families to enlist these professionals for engaging, high-value interactive online sessions with students.
Jorge Gamboa, Magellan
Magellan is a lightweight solution that assists project managers by facilitating workflows, meetings, and automation. It uses AI to automate manual and tedious aspects of a project, like documentation and follow-up. It additionally facilitates project workflows to ensure teams know their final destination and get there quickly, and use best practices — in real-time — so the teams do a better job completing their project and finish feeling stronger and closer rather than exhausted and frustrated with each other.
Karen Lee, Glou
Glou makes it faster, cheaper, and safer for consumers to buy/sell beauty products. It uses AI to enable anyone to become a power seller, while making it cheaper for customers due to low fees (but compensated via high frequency purchases,) and safer because Glou has verified sellers and authenticated products.
Richard Cadet, Ezly Rent
Ezly Rent is an equipment rental marketplace with a proprietary rental software that solves the complexity and frustration that 64% of users faces when renting or lending equipment for any event. Ezly Rent streamlines the process and provides a centralized platform to find and rent the equipment you need, while also providing a simple but powerful proprietary software so lenders can promote, manage, and track their inventory and revenue.
Richard Chen, Tarragon Systems
Tarragon is a demand forecasting and replenishment solution tailor made for fresh grocers. Moving beyond past sales trends, Tarragon trains ML models on real-time demand signals to help grocers place orders with greater accuracy, reduce the risk of inventory spoilage, and boost profit margins.
Sesha Kadakia, Tangify
Founders that need to protect IP but don’t know where to start can use Tangify’s web app to prescreen their invention, describe it in a patentable way, run a quick patent search, and click/classify/clarify their differentiators to generate a draft in one sitting.
Sid Desai, Rocket VR Health
Rocket VR Health is building an immersive Virtual Reality (VR) platform that helps busy professionals better manage their stress and achieve balance in body and mind. By combining cutting-edge technology with traditional wisdom and expertise, it aims to create a new standard of mental well-being that is both effective and enjoyable.
Stanley Rameau, Renavest
Renavest is a marketplace for chat communities that want to aggregate and manage their resources. It targets communities that focus on financial literacy, investing and building businesses. By aggregating chat communities on one platform, Renavest makes it easier to discover and vet through crowd sourced reviews that will help anyone get one step closer to obtaining financial freedom.
Ashwin Kumar, Stealth Mode
This startup is building something new in proptech.