Accelerator to focus on women-owned startups

Elizabeth Kraus, left, and Sue Heilbronner.
Elizabeth Kraus, left, and Sue Heilbronner.

BOULDER – Two serial entrepreneurs have started a newbusiness accelerator with a focus on women-led companies.

MergeLane, founded by angel investors Sue Heilbronner and Elizabeth Kraus, aims to bring more women into the startup community and generate returns for investors through the acceleration of high-growth, gender-diverse companies.

“Data overwhelmingly shows that venture-backed, female-run companies produce higher returns,” said Heilbronner, MergeLane’s chief executive, in a prepared statement. “MergeLane is set up to be on par with the leading accelerators in the world.”

For its first 12-week program beginning in February, MergeLane will accept eight companies. It offers a guaranteed investment of $20,000 per participating company with up to $100,000 of discretionary investment upon completion of the program.

MergeLane takes a 6 percent equity stake in the chosen companies, similar to that taken by Boulder-based TechStars. Reflecting the increasing competition among startup accelerators in the region, TechStars in September announced an equity-back guarantee.

MergeLane is accepting applications through Dec. 1. Applicants must have a business with some evidence of traction and a proven or implied ability to scale. MergeLane is located at Galvanize in Boulder at 1035 Pearl St. fifth floor.