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NewME's PopUp Accelerator kicking off Season of the Startup

Angela_benton-150x150The NewME Accelerator wants to bring some of the same access it provides in Silicon Valley to local markets around the country. That's a big part of the vision of founder Angela Benton (pictured at right) for the accelerator she launched in 2011 aimed at helping and promote entrepreneurial minorities and women. And as reported earlier here, NewME has decided Miami will host its first "PopUp Accelerator," bringing in VCs and entrepreneurs from California to coach and provide pitching workshops to South Florida's entrepreneurs. The dates are Nov. 12-14, concluding with a demo night competition.  

"Obviously Miami is a great location given the burgeoning tech industry there," explained Monica Wheat, NewME's national community and events leader. She said it was one of a few emerging startup cities nationwide that kept popping up in NewME's research, and its relationship with the Knight Foundation's Miami office helped seal the deal. The Knight Foundation, together with LAB Miami, the coworking space in Wynwood, will host the event.  

Scott_kupor-150x150What differentiates this program from others, Wheat said, is the high-profile experts it will be bringing to Miami to meet with entrepreneurs, including Scott Kupor, partner and COO of Andreessen Horowitz (pictured at left). Erik Moore, managing director of Base Ventures, will also be participating as will Benton, who has held entrepreneurial roles in design, marketing, development and digital strategy, and Brian Brackeen, the CEO of Kairos who went through NewME's program and is building his company in Miami.

Knowing that many startup founders have day jobs, most of the programming will be in the evenings, explained Wheat. There will be "Master Classes" on assembling a winning pitch deck from 7-9 p.m. Nov. 12 and 13. Participants will be given assignments ahead of time and between classes to help make the workshops more meaningful -- and prepare them for demo night Nov. 14.

Demo night, which will be held at The Light Box in Wynwood, will allow participating startups to pitch to the Silicon Valley judging panel. Prize for the winner: $25,000 in entrepreneurial services plus a space in NewME's accelerator.

Perhaps the high point for many entrepreneurs will be the one-one-one's with Kupor and the other coaches. Each participant will be given a 50-minute coaching session during one of the three days, scheduled at the entrepreneur's convenience. If a team of three attends, each team member will have a timeslot.

That's what enticed John Suarez of Miami-based startup iCare Intelligence to sign up. Suarez, who has been working on his investor presentation as part of Incubate Miami's current class, said he quickly saw the value in the chance to meet with a Valley VC one-on-one combined with the pitching opportunity.

Once the PopUp leaves, NewME plans to live on. It is working on establishing a "NewME Community" here, Wheat said, with regular local events tailored to the Miami startup scene.

For more information or to sign up for the NewME PopUp, which costs $99, go here. The PopUp is open to all, and one does not have to be a minority or woman to participate or win at demo day. There are also $25 tickets available for demo night only. 

NewME's visit will be the first of a half-dozen high-profile events rolling into town this fall, bringing in a host of tech thought leaders and startup stars. Watch Starting Gate for more on all the upcoming events.