XRC Labs Launches Fellowship Program for Underrepresented Start-up Founders of Color

Lisa Lockwood
·2 min read

XRC Labs, a start-up accelerator focused on the retail technology and consumer packaged goods sectors, has launched XRC Elevate, a fellowship program that aims to bring resources and tools to underrepresented start-up founders of color.

The program will be offered twice a year and fellows will receive access to selected XRC Accelerator classes, working sessions and the XRC Labs Growth team, along with introductions to the accelerator’s mentor network.

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“XRC Elevate is the next step in our mission to help close the inequality gap in the start-up community,” said Pano Anthos, founder and managing director of XRC Lab. “The reality is that many communities don’t have the same access to connections or start-up mentorship as others. Our goal is for XRC Elevate to help even out the playing field. To date, 31 percent of our portfolio companies were established by founders of color and we are eager to continue building on this.”

XRC Elevate fellows will participate in the program with XRC Labs Accelerator companies, benefiting from being part of a community of like-minded founders. Additionally, as part of the program, the first XRC Elevate fellow (to be named next month), will receive a $5,000 grant. Underrepresented founders of any stage in the business lifecycle, whether pre- or post-revenue, are encouraged to apply.

While XRC Labs has traditionally focused on the retail tech and consumer packaged goods spaces, underrepresented founders of companies in all industries are eligible to apply. Applications for the inaugural fellowship will be accepted Tuesday through Jan. 24 at xrclabs.com/xrc-elevate.

XRC Labs launched in New York with founding sponsors Parsons School of Design at The New School and Kurt Salmon, part of Accenture Strategy. It has more than 80 accelerated start-ups in its portfolio and eight corporate sponsors, including MasterCard, The Estée Lauder Cos. and CVS, as well as more than 250 business mentors.

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