Communitech’s HYPERDRIVE puts focus on women in tech for its fifth cohort

Catherine Dahl Beanworks

Communitech has made changes to HYPERDRIVE’s focus ahead of the accelerator’s fifth cohort. Located in The Tannery, at the heart of the Kitchener-Waterloo startup community, HYPERDRIVE said in a blog post that it has modified its investment thesis to support and grow the KW’s strengths.

To that end, HYPERDRIVE will prioritize startups building in the fields the Kitchener-Waterloo region is known for: education, advertising, finance, and web-enabled hardware. HYPERDRIVE is also making revenue growth its primary performance metric for startups in its cohort, and will not accept companies without early user or revenue growth, or those not looking for specific help to accelerate that growth.

For its fifth cohort, HYPERDRIVE will give priority to startups with female co-founders.

The narrowing focus might seem strict, but should allow HYPERDRIVE to simplify and accelerate its support of startups. In one key way, however, HYPERDRIVE’s revised mandate is intended to make Kitchener-Waterloo more inclusive. For its fifth cohort, HYPERDRIVE will give priority to startups with female founders or co-founders.

Obviously, the topic of women in tech is important, but also one that is generally discussed in nuanced terms. Speaking with Steve McCartney, VP of the Startup Services Group and Communitech, I discovered that HYPERDRIVE’s decision to embrace that conversation as part of its mandate stemmed from a frustration with the slow progress being made.

“There’s substantial data that verifies companies with women co-founders out preform companies that do not have them,” he told me. “Communitech wants to encourage the success that comes with these diverse teams and wants women in tech to be better reflected in our successful startups.”

Communitech already has a strong selection of startups with female co-founders in its portfolio, including Beanworks, Bithound, Plum, and Plasticity Labs. HYPERDRIVE’s new commitment to female founders and co-founders should only accelerate the process.

The window to apply for HYPERDRIVE’s fifth cohort closes November 30th. Go here for more information on how to apply.

(Above image features Catherine Dahl, CEO, Beanworks, who participated in HYPERDRIVE’s second cohort. Courtesy: Anthony Reinhart)

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys is the Editor-in-Chief of BetaKit and founder of BetaKit Incorporated. He has worked for a few failed companies and written about many more. He spends too much time on the Internet.