Mentorship, Fundraising, and Community: A Glimpse into the WXR Accelerator
Being a founder isn’t easy. Being a founder in emerging industries like VR, AR, or AI? This presents its own set of challenges! Behind early stage startup successes are a lot of no’s, pivots, and convincing others that new technology, while not yet mainstream, has the potential to make a big impact in areas like healthcare, education, and entertainment.
When you’re in the midst of this startup journey, it’s important to have a support network who is there to help guide you through the rough patches and celebrate the wins. An accelerator program is a great way to get access to this kind of support.
Since starting in early 2018, the WXR Accelerator Program has evolved into a tightly-knit community of founders, mentors, and investors helping women start successful startups in the VR, AR, and AI industries. We are excited to open applications for the third cohort and want to give you a peek into the program by hearing from founders themselves:
Why should I apply to the WXR Accelerator Program? The WXR Accelerator Program currently provides support through the 3 following areas:
When you join the WXR Accelerator, we match you with a mentor from the industry who has the expertise you need to advance your company. We’re excited to see that some mentors continue to work with founders even after the program concludes.
Julia Winter (right) with her mentor, Elizabeth Scallon (left)
Sarah Hill (left) with her mentor, Amy LaMeyer
“We became part of WXR in 2018, and we feel like that was key to when we really started to see traction and get excitement for what we were doing. I got my mentor through WXR. She ended up investing in our company. We were able to successfully close our round and oversubscribe by 40%.” — Lisa Wong, CEO of PopBase
“We, women in tech, need more support and more funds. WXR is doing an amazing job to help us and give us mentorship in terms of how it is to be a female cofounder in the tech world, and specifically in frontier technologies.” — Rosario Casas, Co-Founder of VR Americas
2. Supportive Community of Founders
It’s been incredible to see the WXR community continue to grow and support one another, even after the program ends. Although they are working on different applications of VR, AR, and AI, these founders bond through their shared experiences and help each other get connections to investors, pitch events, and speaking opportunities.
“My most memorable times in the WXR Accelerator are the virtual happy hours - hearing everyone's updates and what these incredible founders from our cohort are achieving against all odds, has been one of the most inspiring and motivating experiences of my entire startup journey.” — Neha Singh, CEO of Obsess
“This is a group of fairy godmothers, who’ve adopted a lot of women in technology, AI, spatial computing companies, and are doing really important things as it relates to opening doors and paving a path to women to investment. It is incredibly hard to raise. I’ve probably had about 100 no’s, and this is from a company that on paper looks like it’d be highly successful. But raising that capital from a women-owned business is incredibly tough. There are very few organizations out there that are supporting women in spatial computing like WXR is.” — Sarah Hill, CEO of StoryUP Studios
“My most memorable experiences have been working with Sarah Hill from Healium and Veena Somareddy from NeuroRehab beyond the WXR accelerator hosted events to grow our businesses in partnership with one another. Sarah Hill and I recently had a call with a shared customer who wanted to talk with us about how to scale up the use of Embodied Labs and Healium in their senior care communities. Veena and I have attended a handful of VR & Healthcare conferences together -and always support each other on as we pitch our businesses.” — Carrie Shaw, CEO of Embodied Labs
3. Access to Investors
The fundraising experience, especially for female founders, can be exhausting. Beast, Inc. CEO and WXR cohort member Vivian Tan described it as “running up an invisible force field”. The WXR Accelerator hopes to make the process a little less stressful by providing you with the chance to receive one-on-one fundraising advice through office hour sessions and mentorship.
“Martina and the WXR Fund have been instrumental in our fundraising efforts over the last 5 months, from getting us introduced to key people, opportunities to practice our pitches, as well as really key strategic advice that has saved me a lot of time and makes each one of my investor connections that much more effective.” — Angela Robert, CEO of Conquer Experience
“Fundraising has been the hardest task for us. We’ve had 68 no’s before we got our first yes by an investor who really believed in our vision. What WXR is doing is really impactful especially for founders like me, who don’t look like traditional founders, who don’t build companies like traditional founders. WXR creates a network of support.” — Arjita Sethi, Co-Founder of Equally
4. Speaking Opportunities and Broader Exposure
From virtual events (like the first WXR Pitch Showcase, held entirely in VR and live streamed to traditional devices), to remote events (like our cohort-only happy hours and office hours via video calls) to in-person events (from the Augmented World Expo in Santa Clara, CA to SXSW in Austin, TX to Verizon 5G Labs in Chelsea, NY), there are plenty of ways for the WXR founders to connect with each other as well as command the microphone onstage.
“The WXR team has helped Alchemie make connections to the right people to move our company forward. It's important with emerging technology to be able to "see around the corners" about what is possible for both hardware and software. That's WXR has done for us as we build new learning tools for STEM education with AR technology.” — Julia Winter, CEO of Alchemie
How can I apply to the WXR accelerator?
“Look at an accelerator as an opportunity to build relationships
and value over the course of several years.” — Carrie Shaw, CEO of Embodied Labs
If you’re an early stage startup working in VR/AR and/or AI and you have at least one woman founder or significant female ownership, we encourage you to apply. You have nothing to lose! Being part of this program will get you invaluable access to mentorship, investors, and an awesome family of female founders, or as Sarah Hill says, “fairy godmothers.”