The University City Science Center and Drexel University have selected four local minority-owned startups for support by their Raynier Seed Fund for Minority Founders (RSF) program. The four startups, which are the second cohort selected for funding since the fund’s establishment in 2021, will each receive a $25,000 investment and mentorship from Raynier Seed Fund community partners.
The four companies selected for the Seed Fund are:
- VasoWatch is a health care company developing a non-invasive wearable device to improve postpartum hemorrhage risk prediction. Postpartum hemorrhage risk is a significant factor in rising maternal mortality rate and health inequity in the United States.
- Hidden Gems is a beverage company that is creating a more sustainable food system by finding creative ways to use the parts of food commonly thrown away. One example is a beverage Hidden Gems has created, called Reveal, which is made from upcycled avocado seeds. Close to 3 billion pounds of avocados were consumed in the United States in 2022, so these seeds are readily available and typically discarded.
- Naturaz is the creator of the Moisture Burst System, a lineup of 100% vegan, non-GMO conditioning shampoo, rehydrating mist and de-tangler, and hair moisturizer made with consciously and sustainably sourced ingredients.
- SnapRefund is a financial technology company that simplifies and expedites the claim payment process for the insurance industry.
“The Raynier Seed Fund’s mission is to improve access to capital for underrepresented startup founders in the Greater Philadelphia region and we are incredibly excited to work with these four startups and their founders in this cohort,” said Shintaro Kaido, vice provost for Innovation and executive director of Drexel Applied Innovation at Drexel.
“An investment in underrepresented founders is not just an investment in business but an investment in the inclusive growth of Philadelphia,” said Science Center President and CEO Tiffany Wilson. “These four founders represent some of the most promising startups in our ecosystem and we’re eager to support Drexel's efforts to scale this important source of capital in the region.”
The Raynier Seed Fund was established in 2021 as a joint venture between Drexel and the Science Center, supported by a gift from the Raynier Institute and Foundation, to improve access to startup capital for minority founders in the Greater Philadelphia region. The program invests $25,000 per company in up to four startup companies each year. A committee of community partners selected six finalist startups from an applicant pool of 36 this year. The final six live-pitched their startups to the judging panel and four were chosen to receive investments. Members of the cohort will also receive mentorship from the community partners.
Applications for the third cohort of the Raynier Seed Fund will be accepted later this summer. For more information about the program and to sign up for our mailing list, please visit: https://raynier-seedfund-phl.com/