Plexal unveils female-led tech startups joining first ever accelerator programme
Plexal, the East London Innovation Centre located on the Here East tech campus, has unveiled the lineup for its first ever Plexiglass accelerator programme, which will support and enable 12 female-led tech startups to grow their businesses.
The programme is being run in partnership with the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) and Barclays Eagle Labs.
The selected startups are all women-founded/run businesses focused on technology, including AI, VR, fashtech (fashion tech), fintech, healthtech and agtech (agricultural tech).
Startups joining the programme include Dual Good Health, founded by Anna Stoilova, which uses virtual reality to train more people on how to save lives; Safe and the City, founded by Jillian Kowalchuk, a mobile app that uses AI, data analytics, and a smart city approach to build a navigation system that allows users to rate and alert which paths are the safest to take.
Also included in the cohort is GrowUp Urban Farms, co-founded by Kate Hofman, which uses agtech to lower the environmental impact of agriculture by building and operating vertical farms that take unused urban space and use it to grow produce and connect them to local market.
Latest figures from Chartered Institute of IT found that only 17% of UK IT specialists are female, 8% are disabled, and 21% are over 50. Each of the 12 companies selected for Plexiglass is London-based, with 42% situated in East London, not far from Plexal’s base at Here East in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Around half of the startups joining the programme are currently pre-revenue and have launched within the past two years.
During the eight-week programme, each startup will receive free workspace at Plexal, which was designed as a mini-city, with its own high street, town hall, indoor park and Makers’ Yard.
Plexal was founded by Claire Cockerton and clients of specialist real estate investment advisory company Delancey.
Start-ups on the programme will also receive mentoring from the likes of Barclays and have access to the Plexal and wider Here East community, which includes academic institutions such as UCL and London College of Fashion.
The programme includes pitch training, founder fundamentals, go-to-market strategy, financing options, legal services and exit valuation.
The 2018 Plexiglass cohort features:
- Safe and the City
- MBDesign Tech
- Healthy Games
- Dual Good Health
- GrowUp Urban Farms
- Solely Original
- Prim & Clover
Claire Cockerton, Plexal founder & CEO, said: “We are very excited to be able to help these amazing women pursue their entrepreneurial visions. When we launched Plexiglass, we were originally going to offer ten places; however, the high quality of the entries meant the judges decided to award 12, which is a reflection of the incredible female talent out there.
“As we enter the 4th industrial revolution we need a diverse technology sector to make the most of the massive opportunities in front of us, which is why programmes like Plexiglass are so important.”
Lyn Garner, chief executive of London Legacy Development Corporation, added: “Plexiglass is a fantastic example of the opportunities for local people in and around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – a result of the exciting innovation and collaboration taking place here.
“This part of the city is fast becoming a hotbed for London’s emerging industries, and this scheme is a great way to develop pathways into tech for local female entrepreneurs.”