Founder Fellowship
October 12, 2023

Newlab Announces Launch of New Founder Fellowship in Detroit for Climate Tech Founders

The Founder Fellowship program is now accepting applications and will choose 5 climate tech founders from underrepresented backgrounds in Detroit to support.

The Founder Fellowship is officially launching in Detroit. Newlab, in collaboration with the State of Michigan and Michigan Central will be supporting a cohort of 5 climate tech founders from underrepresented backgrounds with the resources they need to scale their companies. 

“At Newlab, we believe that diversity and inclusivity are critical pillars for fostering innovation and driving real change in the tech startup ecosystem. We are on a mission to create a more equitable landscape where all founders have an equal opportunity to shape the future,” said Katie Soven, Head of Membership for Newlab Detroit. 

The statistics speak for themselves: women, Black, and LatinX founders receive only a fraction of the venture capital funding compared to their white male counterparts. These underrepresented communities are confronted with systemic challenges that have not been adequately addressed by the traditional tech startup space. With this fellowship we aim to dismantle these barriers and foster an inclusive community that empowers all entrepreneurs to succeed.

Who should apply?

This fellowship will enable 5 founders from underrepresented backgrounds to advance their vision. Founders from all underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply. 

Their companies will fall in the categories of mobility, energy, and materials. 

  • Mobility: Companies advancing a future where mobility systems are electrified, autonomous, connected, and accessible.
  • Energy: Companies advancing an energy future that is clean, distributed, equitable, and smart.
  • Materials: Companies developing bio-based materials that are higher-performing, more sustainable, and more humane.
  • The team will also consider companies outside of these areas that fall on the “emerging growth” spectrum

Applications are open now through October 31st and the program activities will start in November of 2023. APPLY NOW >

About the Founder Fellowship: Detroit

In addition to Newlab, Michigan Central, and the State of Michigan; Newlab’s ‘Community Builders in Residence’ have played a pivotal role in building the Founder Fellowship program. They include Johnnie Turnage, with a focus on Black Founders, and Meagan Ward, with a focus on Women Founders. Both Johnnie and Meagan are founders themselves and passionate about building equity in tech. 

Those selected to be a Founder Fellow will gain access to the following: 

  1. Infrastructure that Accelerates: Founders will receive a Newlab full-time membership (valid for two individuals per company), which includes access to dedicated space, access to on-site prototyping and robotics labs, programming and additional benefits and support services.
  2. Storytelling: In addition to standard Member programming, Newlab will provide a series of storytelling workshops designed to arm founders with in-depth presentation skills and persuasive speaking techniques to enhance their ability to package and deliver strong pitches.
  3. Expert Advisory: Newlab will curate and manage a series of sessions with expert advisors who can provide strategic guidance on key issues such as navigating regulatory challenges, commercial deal structuring, product-market fit, climate impact analysis, growth marketing, strategic partnerships, hiring, and more. All the skills needed to grow an early-stage climate tech company, with an extra focus on the unique opportunities and challenges that face underrepresented founders. Newlab will bring in 1-2 speakers each month who are experts on one of the above topics, and provide direct introductions to potential investors, customers, partners, mentors, and hires who fit the needs and growth stage of the company.
  4. Community: Founders are encouraged to support one another via a shared Slack workspace and social events.
  5. Mentorship: Newlab will also match each founder with a mentor(s) who can provide individualized support; each founder will receive a minimum of two (2)  mentoring sessions over the course of their fellowship.
  6. Investor Connections: Newlab will align relevant institutional and strategic investors to provide office hours and pitch feedback sessions.
  7. Award: Fellows will be awarded $30,000 to enable them to focus on their venture for the 6-month fellowship. 


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