AWS boosts women-led startups
Nessle co-founder and CEO Carly Buxton and her chief technology officer have passed up salaries and dipped into their savings to keep the Richmond-based tech business running since its 2019 launch.
The Nessle platform connects new parents with real-time tailored support. To keep Nessle running, Buxton applied for grants and participated in two previous accelerators. Now, she hopes that Nessle’s inclusion in Amazon Web Services’ Impact Accelerator for Women Founders will provide the startup with a needed boost.
Nessle and Alexandria-based Cleare, which started out developing software to consolidate state and local daycare compliance regulations into an interactive dashboard, were among 25 women-led startups announced in September that won spots in the AWS accelerator’s second cohort. More than 1,200 companies applied. The accelerator’s first cohort, announced in June, focused on Black founders; the third cohort, for LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs, will be announced in early 2023.
For the second cohort, companies had to be more than 51% women-led, with a CEO and CTO. They must also have a launched or fully developed product, be fewer than 5 years old and have raised no more than $500,000 from investors. Participants receive $125,000 cash and $100,000 in credits for AWS’ cloud computing platform.
The accelerator began Oct. 3 in Seattle with a week of training for CEOs and CTOs on topics including customer growth, product road mapping and storytelling.
It culminates in an investor pitch event Dec. 9 in San Francisco. In between, the cohort participated in remote workshops two to three times a week for up to six hours. Businesses also heard from investors and successful company founders and were matched with technical and business mentors. They also can book time with other experts.
Through the accelerator, Buxton has been able to work on upping Nessle’s game in cybersecurity, branding and social media, and pitching to investors. “We’re [also] really exploring … trying to develop a partnership playbook and what that looks like for us,” Buxton says.
Cleare co-founder and CEO Tisia X.V. Saffold started her company with the goal of expanding the platform to assist other industries beyond child care. AWS’ accelerator has allowed Cleare to test and build its product. Saffold says it also sharpened her thinking about her customers, their behaviors and her go-to-market strategies.
“It really has just given us a lot of cushion to be able to spread our wings,” Saffold says