EQ St Louis: Accelerator Participants Attest To Program’s Value

October 21, 2016  Written By Tanya Yatzeck

Since the Spring of 2015, the Prosper Women Entrepreneurs (PWE) Startup Accelerator has invested in women-led startups from across the globe with a focus on technology, healthcare technology, and consumer products. Entrepreneurs entered the four total cohorts to-date (two per year) with diverse needs and expectations, but they exit the accelerator with some common takeaways, lessons learned and advice for prospective PWE companies. We checked in with seven PWE grads on the most valuable lesson learned in the accelerator, advice they would give potential applicants and how they experienced St. Louis as a community during their participation.

Note: Applications close today, October 21, for the Spring 2017 cohort–apply today!

Craft Strong Messaging 

The clarity and perspective gained during the PWE accelerator will aid RippleNami as we tell the story about our innovative mapping solution that currently is like no other available in the marketplace.  This is a message that will now come through loud and clear in our communications tools. Meeting and connecting with like-minded, highly driven, intelligent women has been extremely inspiring.  The Midwest hospitality I was exposed to was warm, welcoming and motivating. I was introduced to a new community culture that I didn’t know existed in this area. The people of St. Louis and PWE were very hospitable, and I was fortunate to be introduced to nearly 50 potential investors–truly a robust group.

– Jaye Connolly-Labelle, President and CEO of RippleNami

Work on Your Company–Distraction free!

The PWE Startup Accelerator offers a different model than other business accelerators. The mentors and leadership team give a lot of their time–side by side with the CEOs, making introductions and providing expertise on anything that you might need. They are hands on every step of the way, while also giving you the space to run your business. The value of this accelerator is the mentors’ help, guidance and connections…the investment dollar amount should be the fourth or fifth priority for anyone looking to apply.  Of course, it was tough being in St. Louis (being from Romania) and having a team back home, but you are truly participating to WORK on your company. You have an opportunity to stand out (in STL) to be unique…people will be transparent and discuss specifics to help you succeed.

– Alexandra Anghel, CTO of Appticles

Build on What You Have

We aren’t a new company and we thought Business Development was something that we had nailed down, but PWE helped us hone in on WHO our target customer is and WHAT their persona (buying) is. We have a large inbound customer and PWE helped us to focus on how to strategically grow and go after our target customer. If you can answer the questions on the application, you’re ready to participate in the program!  But, be ready to have your foot on the pedal and work to grow your business… Things are in high gear but if you are ready to grow and gain traction, APPLY! St. Louis is a great community! The location was a big part of the reason we wanted PWE. We received so many valuable introductions, and these introductions will help our business grow and prosper.

– Amanda Greenberg, Co-founder and CEO of Baloonr

Expose Yourself to Success

You have the opportunity to work with entrepreneurs with mega-successful business ventures. You get real life advice and insights to propel your business forward. You walk away with much more than just funding. The programming, advice and life-long relationships provide guidance now and in the future.  This is a transformative experience. If you are unsure if you have an investable business model, start the application. You learn from the application; and you don’t know what you’re missing if you don’t apply.

– Pam Cooper, CEO of Boosterville

Leverage the Power of Being a Woman CEO

The spirit of PWE is the one of collaboration, support and encouragement. The mentorship and networking are exceptional. You have an opportunity to learn from a team of industry leaders (men and women) who see you as a strong, business professional.  I was told multiple times before doing the program that if I wanted to succeed I needed to hire a white Caucasian male to run the company. PWE not only helped with the hard business decisions, they also ensured me that I was making the right choices for my company.

– Alexandra “Sasha” Goodwin, CEO of Janus Choice

Prepare a Solid Pitch

I received tremendous support and mentorship from many members of the PWE team for preparing a solid pitch. The experience is like a business boot camp to learn, grow and thrive.

– Aarti Parikh, Co-Founder/CEO of Kitereaders

Improve Your Leadership and Communication Style

The input on how to present Precision Image Analysis to both investors and potential customers has been invaluable.  This is CEO school. Just like parenting, where there is no school, there is also no formal process to learn to be a CEO. PWE’s accelerator is a unique environment to learn how to be a better CEO from others who have succeeded in the role, especially women.  I’ve been impressed with the caliber of support from the St. Louis community. I had never been to St. Louis before and have enjoyed getting to learn the St. Louis startup ecosystem/culture.

– Mary-Pierre Waiss, Cofounder/CEO of PIA Medical

Applications close today, October 21, for the Spring 2017 cohort–apply today!

This story was created in partnership with the organization listed in the label at the top of this post. We work with a curated list of partners we feel are aligned with EQ’s mission to raise the visibility of and increase connectivity within St. Louis’ startup ecosystem. Read more about partner content here.


RippleNami, Inc. Selected by Prosper Women Entrepreneurs to Receive Capital Investment

Company One of Only Six Chosen to Participate in Program Designed to Help Advance Women-led Businesses

SAN DIEGO, Calif.  …  August 24, 2016  …  RippleNami, Inc., a provider of a map-based data visualization platform accessed via the cloud, announced today that it has been selected to participate in the fall 2016 Prosper Women Entrepreneurs (PWE) Startup Accelerator program, one of the first in the country designed exclusively to help advance women-led businesses.

As one of only six elite women-led companies chosen, RippleNami will initially receive a capital investment from PWE, with the opportunity to earn follow-on funding.

Under the PWE program, in addition to the capital investment, all of the carefully chosen participants gain access to world-renowned mentors, exposure to a network of experts and investors and receive a customized curriculum designed to advance business growth and raise follow-on capital. The Accelerator culminates on Demo Day — November 9, 2016 — when each of the entrepreneurs will have an opportunity to present their plan to business leaders, venture capitalists, angel investors and potential clients.

“RippleNami is honored to be selected by PWE to participate in this program, which was strictly designed to champion women-led businesses. This is a very exciting time in our growth phase and with the financial and educational support from PWE, we will put all these resources to use in helping take RippleNami to the next level. The competition was fierce – RippleNami was selected from hundreds of applications submitted, which demonstrates the viability of and opportunity for our dynamic mapping solution and innovative technology. We appreciate the support PWE is affording our fast-growing startup through their women-targeted program,” said Jaye Connolly-LaBelle, president and chief executive officer at RippleNami.

The PWE Startup Accelerator, which has already graduated 16 companies and invested nearly $1.5 million in their successes, is aimed at supporting women-led startup businesses engaged in the technology, healthcare/technology and consumer products arenas. PWE defines a women-led business as a company with at least one woman in a position of leadership with significant and meaningful equity. PWE’s criteria for startups are those companies that have a working product and preferably customers. Previous cohorts were selected from applications representing more than 31 states and 41 countries.

Other companies chosen to participate in the fall 2016 PWE program include: Lean Media, St. Louis, Mo., Mindset, St. Louis, Mo., Music Spoke, Lincoln, Neb., Precision Image Analysis, Seattle, Wash., and, Soozie’s Doozie’s, St. Louis, Mo.

PWE’s three-month program provides an intensive experience for women, solely focused on their business growth. Based in the heart of St. Louis’ innovation district, participants commit to staying in St. Louis for 15 days throughout the three-month program, allowing them to solely concentrate on the rapid growth of their entities and raising capital.

About Prosper Women Entrepreneurs (PWE)

Founded in 2012, PWE comprises two divisions: PWE Startup Accelerator is a for-profit organization focused on increasing women entrepreneurs’ access to growth capital and the number of women investing in early-stage capital markets. PWE Institute is a non-profit organization focused on training and mentoring women in the entrepreneurial community. PWE is a group of business leaders, thinkers, doers, innovators and students whose efforts help to ensure that women entrepreneurs are a vital part of the future. For more information, please visit

About RippleNami

An industry game changer, RippleNami believes that, empowered with real-time, easily accessible information, people around the world can connect and foster positive change.  RippleNami is redefining mapping with the first visualization platform that consolidates big data and provides information that really matters to users and their organizations.  The Company’s cost-effective, device agnostic cloud-based platform delivers millions of real-time actionable data points on an intuitive map to customers across enterprises, nonprofits and foreign government agencies, enabling critical decision making and enhanced collaboration.  With seamless integration, limitless customization and scalable architecture, RippleNami lets people chart their own world, streamlining communication and improving operational effectiveness. For more information about RippleNami, visit