An Uber for salons, collapsable bike helmets for women and a service that connects home chefs with hungry eaters are just some of the innovations coming from Philly’s burgeoning startup community. But going from freshly-launched businesses to successful companies is a road paved with obstacles.
But Philly Startup Leaders has a plan to help. It launched it’s third accelerator program and has accepted seven companies into this year’s class after receiving 41 applications.
The class features lots of awesome innovations — like TresseNoire which helps African American women “create an amazing salon experience for ‘naturalistas’ in the privacy and convenience of their home.” Another one that jumped out at me was dlux, a company arguing that too much electric light is bad for your health. Their solution? Work with architects, engineers and sleep scientists to create lighting controls that give you the light you need, when you need it to maximize health and productivity.
Each team is matched with a mentor, like DuckDuckGo CEO Gabe Weinberg or Zoomer CEO Justin Goldman. The companies will hold meetings to work on their business plans and investor pitches. They’ll also get free space at Benjamin’s Desk.
Unlike many accelerators, this one doesn’t take any equity in the companies and does not provide them any financial assistance. PSL also runs a 90-day Startup Bootcamp, a free program that aims to help entrepreneurs graduate transform their ideas into actual business.
“If we help people connect them to the right mentors and right opportunities, then it’ll improve Philly’s startup ecosystem,” said Yuval Yarden, program director at PSL. “PSL has no agenda other than to get more successful startups to grow in Philly.”
Here’s a closer look at the seven companies accepted into the PSL Accelerator:
TresseNoire: On-demand luxury salon for natural hair.
RedQueen: Tool marketplace for video game toolmakers.
dlux: Light control systems for optimizing health, comfort and energy efficiency.
AnneeLondon: Collapsible bike helmets for women.
LocalStove: Connecting home cooks with hungry eaters.
Return Logic: Platform that helps retailers optimize product return strategy.
GuestNet: Advertising platform that harnesses geo-targeting.