Google for Entrepreneurs and Blackbox have once again teamed up to launch the Blackbox Connect Spring 2015 program, which will focus on helping female founders from around the world take their ventures to the next level.
Operating differently to many other accelerators in the United States, Blackbox runs programs that focus on non-US based startups looking to break into the US market. The Blackbox Connect program is a two-week whirlwind version of the larger program, and runs seasonally throughout the calendar year parallel to the main accelerator program.
Blackbox was founded in 2010 by entrepreneur and investor Fadi Bishara (founder and former CEO of techVenture). To date, over 128 startup founders from 40 different countries have participated in the Blackbox Connect programs.
Startups that have been selected for the program live in the ‘Blackbox Mansion’ for the duration of the program as they learn to “live and breathe entrepreneurship” touching on subjects such as scalability, investor pitching, building a team, how to set up companies in the United States and attend dinners and events with Silicon valley ‘players’ amongst a list of other valuable opportunities.
All reports from previous participants suggest that the program is an intense schedule of meetings, workshops and coaching with some of Silicon Valley’s most highly regarded entrepreneurs, investors, venture capitalists and executives. To qualify for the program, the female founders had to have launched a minimal viable product of their tech startup, have quantified feedback from early adopters or customers and most importantly the product must have a global outlook.
In this particular Female Edition of the program that begins on April 27th, there were 20 founders chosen from various countries around the world. Sydney-based founder Jessica Wilson was selected for her fashion application Stashd and will join other participants from countries as far as Uganda, The UK and Lebanon on an intense, but sure to be rewarding, journey that wraps up on May 8th.
Wilson is not the first Australian to be selected to participate in the Blackbox Connect program. Australian entrepreneurs are beginning to become a staple part of the Blackbox diet. Last intake saw Lime Rocket founders Michael Gardiner and Gretchen Armitage as well as founder of Pixc, Holly Cardew graduate from class 10 of the program. Other Australian participants have included Katherine Wood and Jonathan Hooker who founded Phonics Hero as well as Alex Bartzis and Raj Prasad, founders of Cookoo.
Blackbox has a network of global partners it works with that nominate potential participants for the program after a local application and selection process has been undertaken. In Australia, Fishburners is a Blackbox nominating partner.
Many startups that have participated in the program have gone on to raise funds, been accepted into other longer term accelerator programs, built solid advisory boards and taken their ventures to the next level. To date, there is also one well-known acquisition under the Blackbox belt with GoDaddy acquiring startup M.Dot, an application that lets users create their own mobile websites for a rumoured $15 million in 2013.
For those with zero connections looking to get a foot in the door of Silicon Valley, Blackbox is full of connections and has proven itself as a worthy avenue to explore.
Featured image: Pixc founder, Holly Cardew at a Blackbox event