Backstage Detroit Announces Results of First Cohort of Accelerator Program Sponsored by the Quicken Loans Community Fund

  • August 27, 2019

Quicken Loans Community Fund granted $50,000 to five startups headquartered in the city of Detroit

DETROIT (August 21, 2019)Backstage Capital, a venture capital firm that invests in underrepresented founders, recently issued a report on their first accelerator cohort, including the results of their Detroit-based program executed in partnership with the Quicken Loans Community Fund.

Backstage Capital has invested in over 100 underrepresented founders of high growth technology and product companies. The firm invests in founders who identify as women, minority, LGBTQ, or other underrepresented communities. The venture capital firm launched their inaugural accelerator this year in four cities across the world, including Los Angeles, Philadelphia, London and Detroit, and saw over 1,900 applications for the first cohort.

“Detroit is not only the home of entrepreneurial innovation, but a major technological hub with some of the best and brightest minds in the industry,” said James Chapman, Entrepreneur in Residence for the Quicken Loans Community Fund, the philanthropic arm of Quicken Loans. “Our investment with Backstage Detroit is a continuation of our commitment to Detroit entrepreneurs, as we seek to lift up and support promising startups in our hometown.”

The Backstage Detroit accelerator program previously announced an investment round of $100,000 for each of their seven startup companies this Spring. The seven companies received investment and twelve weeks of mentorship and programming to refine their business models for growth out of the accelerator located in Downtown Detroit inside the historic Julian C. Madison Building. Additionally, five of the seven companies will receive $10,000 grants to remain headquartered in the city of Detroit and continue to scale their operations.

“We’re thrilled to partner with the Quicken Loans Community Fund and have our accelerator in Detroit, a city full of talented founders who are often underserved by investors,” said Christie Pitts, CEO of Backstage Studio. “This partnership allows us to provide further support for our Detroit cohort to continue to scale in a city known for its entrepreneurial spirit.”

Companies who received grants include:

  • Alerje: A “Treatment x Lifestyle” medtech product that seeks to improve the overall quality of life of those impacted with life-threatening food allergies.
  • Gildform: A high-quality, on-demand jewelry design and manufacturing company that takes your ideas through concept, CAD, 3D printing and casting and assembly, redefining the relationship between brands and manufacturers.
  • CrowdFreak: A digital platform that provides up-and-coming artists with performance opportunities around the world.
  • Foodstand: An app that provides healthy eating and wellness information, and helps individuals and organizations joyfully turn wellness goals into lifelong habits through team challenges and behavior changes.
  • Naturalicious: A collection of patented, multi-tasking, non-toxic hair care products that help busy women rock fabulous hair in a fraction of the usual time.

Backstage Capital was founded by Arlan Hamilton and seeks to invest in entrepreneurs and early-stage companies led by those the firm considers underrepresented. Additional partners for the accelerator include Venture Catalysts and Bamboo Detroit.

For more information visit the accelerator program here: https://backstagecapital.com/accelerator/cities/detroit/.

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About the Quicken Loans Community Fund
The Quicken Loans Community Fund is the philanthropic arm of Quicken Loans, the nation’s largest mortgage lender. Its strategy aims to support thriving, resilient and inclusive communities through data-driven investments in housing, employment and public life. Through its For-More-Than-Profit model, the Quicken Loans Community Fund recognizes that business and community are inextricably linked, and it purposefully brings together all of the assets of the Quicken Loans and Rock Family of Companies business – team member talent, technology, policy advocacy, and philanthropic resources – to invest in comprehensive community development in Detroit and across the country.

Since 2010, the Quicken Loans Community Fund has invested over $200 million into addressing complex issues like tax foreclosure, chronic unemployment, and support the entrepreneurship ecosystem. Alongside financial investments, the Quicken Loans Community Fund has organized team members to provide more than 725,000 volunteer hours nationwide, including 400,000 in Detroit.

For more information, visit QuickenLoans.org or see its For-More-Than-Profit booklet here.

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