Meet the Companies in Backstage Capital’s Detroit Accelerator

Backstage Capital, a Los Angeles-based venture firm seeding early-stage companies led by women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community, has announced the details of its Detroit startup accelerator.

Earlier this year, Backstage founder Arlan Hamilton announced the firm would host its first accelerators in four cities, including Detroit. The Motor City’s inclusion, unlike the other three cities, was determined by way of a public vote.

Monica Wheat, founder and partner at Venture Catalysts, is overseeing the Detroit accelerator. The intensive program will last about three months, with each participating startup led by a founder who is a member of one of the underestimated—Backstage doesn’t call them underrepresented—communities that the firm supports.

Each of the seven participating startups will receive a $100,000 investment in exchange for 5 percent equity. While in the accelerator, they’ll receive mentorship, introductions to investors, and a curriculum focused on the needs of underestimated founders. Corporate partners Microsoft and Mailchimp are providing access to Azure credits as well as other resources, according to a Medium post about the Backstage cohort.

Without further ado, meet the inaugural Backstage Capital Detroit accelerator cohort:

Alerje: Perched at the intersection of digital health and lifestyle products, Alerje is an app that helps users with food allergy management through alerts and avoidance suggestions. According to the company’s website, 220 million people worldwide have food allergies. The app aims to help them be proactive in order to lower healthcare costs and improve quality of life.

—Bippy: A monthly subscription service for eco-friendly “butt stuff?” You bet your bippy. We don’t know much about this pre-launch company, but the photo of colorfully wrapped rolls of toilet paper on Backstage’s Medium post make us want to learn more.

Casting de Khrysopoeia: On-demand, in-house, end-to-end custom jewelry design and manufacturing is what Casting de Khrysopoeia offers. Starting at $60, anyone can work with the website’s designers to create a 3D model of jewelry based on an idea or reference photo. The company can also manufacture jewelry from a 3D model or mold.

CrowdFreak: Up-and-coming performers can use CrowdFreak’s website to find opportunities to open for major artists—Young Dolph and Chief Keef are among the those currently looking for an opening act on the site. CrowdFreak also gamifies the search by allowing musical acts to pay a fee and enter to win an opening slot based on judges’ evaluation of artist submissions.

Foodstand: The company’s app helps individuals and organizations cultivate good eating habits—more veggies, less meat, and more whole foods—through digital team challenges, check-ins, and community affirmation.

Healthy Roots: A company on a mission to create toys that reinforce positive self-perception, Healthy Roots makes dolls that feature a variety of skin tones, hair textures, and facial features. Yelitsa Jean-Charles was inspired to create the company based on her childhood dissatisfaction with dolls that never looked like her. In 2017, she was recognized by Essence as one of 50 founders to watch.

Naturalicious: Made for women with natural hair by a woman with natural hair, Naturalicious has created a three-step haircare system called Hello Gorgeous that moisturizes and defines curls in 30 minutes. Founder Gwen Jimmere’s son Caiden serves as the company’s chief candy curator, as each order is shipped with a sweet surprise.

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