The diversity challenge, announced last Fall by Captial Factory, focuses on giving a $100,000 investment to one startup from Dallas with a diverse executive team. The husband and wife team of Tye and Courtney Caldwell won with their startup ShearShare, founded in 2016, which has completed the 500 Startups program and is a Y Combinator Fellow. The company has raised $415,000 to date in two seed rounds, according to Crunchbase.
The award is from Capital Factory, a coworking and accelerator in Austin, in partnership with The Dallas Entrepreneur Center and DivInc, a diversity accelerator in Austin, to help minority and female-led startups in the tech industry.
Last year, Capital Factory’s Executive Director and Founder Joshua Bear wrote the Texas Startup Manifesto about Capital Factory’s plans to expand its accelerator program to include Dallas with a presence at The Dallas Entrepreneur Center. Last week, Capital Factory opened its new space. It has already been working with Dallas startups and has hosted office hours in Dallas. Since then, Capital Factory has also taken busloads of entrepreneurs and mentors from Austin to Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston to network and do office hours.
Also last year, Capital Factory awarded $100,000 in another pitch competition focused on gender and ethnic diversity. Kiss and Tell, an online wedding planning site, won that competition and is now based at Capital Factory.
“$100,000 isn’t all of the money you’ll ever need, but it’s enough for a scrappy team to focus full-time on building a minimum viable product and finding product market fit for about a year. We give you free rent, free hosting, a lot of other free stuff to make that $100,000 last as long as possible,” Baer wrote in a blog post.
As the winner of the competition, ShearShare receives $100,000 cash investment as a convertible note, access to accomplished technology and business mentors, one year of unlimited co-working at Capital Factory and The DEC, legal services and hosting credits.
The funds for the Capital Factory investment challenge come from angel investors and mentors.