Success isn’t gender-specific.Opportunity Shouldn't be Either.

Upstart is one of the nation’s first accelerators dedicated to women-led tech startups. Our curriculum reflects the way women work, learn, and lead — and equips female founders with the skills and confidence to level the entrepreneurial playing field.

We invest in up to 6 startups per session, hosting a rigorous but rewarding program.

By the end of your experience, you’ll emerge with a working business model, a sales pipeline, connections to the right investors, and a global network of other female founders. You'll also earn a chance to pitch at our investor events in Memphis and Silicon Valley.


Upstart is like a startup MBA on steroids. We focus on the unique needs of women-led tech startups and invest in teams that have at least one female founder on the executive team. Our curriculum covers customer discovery, product development, user testing, marketing, financial modeling, pitching, and more. Additional emphasis is placed on personal and professional development for women founders.


With a network of VCs and angels, your $25,000 in seed-funding is only the beginning. Our validation fund, angel network and other investment partners have a special interest in supporting gender diverse startups.
Funding Opportunities >

Customer Access

With the unique partnerships available to you through Start Co., you will get access to a network of business leaders ranging from mid-sized businesses to Fortune 100 companies. We will host meet and greet events, and work to introduce you to a variety of companies willing to serve as both customers and test subjects for your business.

Services & Resources

As a Start Co. founder, you’ll have access to an unparalleled suite of technical services perks and partners, as well as legal, financial, marketing, and talent-development resources.
Services & Resources >


True success relies on guidance. The kind that comes from mentors who have experienced and overcome every triumph and setback you’ll likely encounter. Mentoring is central to everything we do. Our community of industry experts, creative professionals, and seasoned founders is passionate about helping you on your journey toward success.


Start Co. Lab is ground zero for our accelerators, workshops, training sessions, and more. Your startup will receive a dedicated workstation and area to start building your company culture. Accessible 24/7, our modern, open office provides plenty of room for your big ideas to grow. And our location in the core of downtown Memphis offers limitless walkable options for dining, entertainment, offsite work, and housing.

Key Partners

The JumpFund logo Springboard logo AWE Logo

The JumpFund mission is to invest women’s capital in female-led companies with growth potential. They work closely with Upstart to advise founders and source opportunities for follow-on investment.

Springboard Enterprises brings a network of highly-vetted women leaders and executives to the table as mentors and connectors for Upstart founders.

The Academy for Women's Empowerment (AWE) provides workshops and executive coaching to the female founders participating in the accelerator.

Upstart 2016

Seed Funding:



May 2 – August 11

Demo Day:

August 11


August 11 – November 18

Deadline: March 1 / Notification: April 1


Feel free to contact us at before you apply.

Mara Lewis

Mara Lewis
Managing Director

Claire Coulter

Claire Coulter
Program Coordinator

Eric Mathews

Eric Mathews
Founding Partner

Andre Fowlkes

Andre Fowlkes

Start Co. Partners

  • archer malmo inc
  • Baker Donelson
  • SendGrid
  • Mosaik Solutions
  • American Airlines
  • Marston Group
  • AutoZone