Start.coop, First U.S. Co-op Accelerator, Launches its Inaugural Cohort of Startups
BOSTON and SAN FRANCISCO, May 17, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Start.coop, the first accelerator program designed to help scale cooperatively-owned startups and cooperative tech platforms, will celebrate the graduation of its inaugural cohort May 20-24 in San Francisco. The five startup teams are traveling from across the United States to present their companies at a series of Bay-area events, including:
-- SEED Conference (building a better impact investor ecosystem) -- Transform Conference (large-scale systems change and new funding connections) -- User, Worker, Owner! (building equitable ownership of workplaces and online platforms).
“Start.coop is the first accelerator specifically designed to support scalable co-ops and the growing cooperative platform community— businesses owned jointly by members who share in the profits and benefits,” said Greg Brodsky, Start.coop’s founder and director. “In the last few months, our inaugural cohort of teams made great strides in advancing their businesses and validated our accelerator model, too. We’re excited to shine the spotlight on this new generation of scalable, tech-based co-ops and share the insights, successes, and lessons learned from our first accelerator cohort.”
Start.coop participants completed an intense, 10-week, cohort-based program where they gained access to training, mentors, and strategic tools to help transform and scale their cooperatively owned businesses. With its cohort-based approach, the program helped the startups learn from each other, test their business models, and grow more quickly. The inaugural cohort includes:
-- The Staffing Co-op, a labor staffing platform owned by workers -- Driver’s Seat Data Co-op, a data aggregation platform owned by gig drivers -- Savvy Coop, the nation’s first patient-owned health data platform -- Expert Collective, a consulting platform that connects industry need to academic experts -- Arizmendi Roots & Return, a worker owned construction co-op building affordable housing
Graduating teams pay it forward by reinvesting a percentage of their future revenue back into the accelerator. This revenue-based financing model is a non-extractive investment model proven successful by hundreds of start-ups in the Fledge Accelerator network. Fledge is a global network of conscious company accelerators (including Start.coop) and investment funds, helping entrepreneurs create impactful companies and co-ops at scale.
“We believe that if you care deeply about wealth inequality, then co-ops should be your preferred ownership model. However people don’t always understand what it means to be cooperatively owned. So we’re focused on helping our individual co-ops scale, as well as updating the narrative,” said Brodsky. “ Large scale cooperatively owned businesses are all around us: REI, Ace Hardware, Cabot, Ocean Spray, Blue Diamond, Bob’s Red Mill. We know that co-ops create economies of scale, and level the playing field, especially for economically disadvantaged groups — women, minorities, immigrants, family business owners, and veterans. By investing in co-op startups and demonstrating their ability to scale, we have the potential to start reversing wealth inequality for the next generation.”
About Start.coop: Start.coop is a Boston-based accelerator that invests in early stage entrepreneurs who are looking for scale and social impact using shared ownership models. Start.coop is the first co-op accelerator in the United States focusing on scaling shared ownership. For more information on the accelerator program itself or how to connect with companies in their inaugural cohort, visit: https://start.coop.
About Start.coop’s Inaugural Cohort: The Staffing Co-op: This revolutionary staffing platform is owned by its workers and provides staffing services for companies ranging from food service to construction, and also provides an on-demand labor platform for tech and creative workers.
Driver’s Seat Data Co-op: Driver’s Seat is a platform co-op that helps rideshare drivers increase their earnings by collecting and analyzing their trip data. Driver’s Seat generates additional value for driver-members by marketing aggregated, anonymized data to industry and civic organizations.
Savvy Coop: Savvy is the nation’s first patient-owned health data platform. Savvy’s platform co-op connects patients and research companies to advanced patient-centered care via patient surveys, studies, and other “gigs”. Not only does Savvy share profits with its patient owners, it also provides patients with voting rights to make sure the company never loses its focus and remains accountable.
Expert Collective: Expert Collective is a two-sided marketplace that connects academic experts with industry needs across finance, biotech, healthcare, manufacturing, and software development. The platform is owned by its academic experts and serves to make accessing world-class knowledge a frictionless experience. The founders hope to tap into the US $241 billion consulting market.
Arizmendi Roots & Return: This new affordable housing co-op is looking to accelerate affordable housing development by creating Accessory Dwelling Units in the bay area. The team believes that building affordable housing can be profitable not only to investors, but also workers and homeowners. Arizmendi has a history of creating scalable worker co-ops, having created a network of worker-owned bakery locations around California’s bay area, and more recently worker-owned construction and landscape design companies.
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