Gold House, the premier nonprofit collective of Asian & Pacific Islander (API) cultural leaders fighting for authentic representation and socio-economic equity, announced its Spring 2021 Gold Rush accelerator cohort and expansion to support even more API-led small businesses that have been the most adversely impacted by COVID-19 and recent API attacks.
Gold Rush, originally created in response to Harvard Business Review’s report that AAPIs are the least likely demographic to be promoted to management, was built for and by API founders to break the bamboo ceiling and foster greater economic equality. An all-star Selection Committee chooses the most promising API-led companies twice a year to participate in a 12-week program that offers 1:1 mentorship with industry-leading advisors, business development opportunities to find new customers and brand build, and an intimate community of the most promising founders across the API diaspora.
"Given our own experiences in fundraising and building a platform, it's rewarding to see Gold Rush building systems—from investor matchmaking to brand equity building to new customer acquisition opportunities—that will help the brightest AAPI founders take their companies from inception to IPO," said Stanley Tang, Co-Founder of DoorDash.
Since its inception, Gold Rush has amplified, educated, and connected more than 100 AAPI founders and 70 small and medium-sized businesses. While Asian-owned businesses were hardest hit by the pandemic last year, the 2020 cohorts were able to create 1,900+ new jobs and collectively raise an additional $20 million in funding after completing the program.
“In a time when API entrepreneurs–particularly women—are hurting the most, it is doubly imperative to invest in initiatives like Gold House's Gold Rush accelerator which has made unprecedented inroads in advancing API founders,” said Julia Gouw, Endowed Chairwoman of the Inaugural Female Founders Fellowship, Chairwoman of Piermont Bank, and former President of East West Bank.
With only 14.2% of female decision-makers in U.S. venture capital firms and 1 in 3 AAPI women business owners experiencing racism in the pandemic, Gold Rush is expanding its programming to include a new women’s track featuring: direct matchmaking with top venture capitalists for investment, structured mentorship from renowned alumni, and curated workshops such as navigating fundraising dynamics.
“I’m especially excited to see so many female-identifying founders being supported by this program. Let’s never underestimate the strength of Asian women. When Asian women succeed, we should all be inspired by their stories and encouraged to demolish old mindsets around what leadership can be or should look like,” said Deborah Yeh, Chief Marketing Officer of Sephora.
“We are so proud to see Gold Rush’s impact continue to expand. Offering more targeted programming with our new women’s track corresponds with our ongoing emphasis on improving participant diversity and success. It’s a testament to this commitment that our latest cohort is the most diverse yet: with 60% of founders identifying as female, 60% as East Asian, 13% as Southeast Asian, and 27% as South Asian,” said Megan Ruan, Co-Director of Gold Rush.
The companies selected for the Spring 2021 cohort include:
Brightland is a modern pantry essentials brand championing traceability, design and simple everyday moments at home.
Clipboard Health is an online marketplace offering no-commitment staffing for healthcare facilities and on-demand shifts for healthcare professionals.
Cresicor is a cloud-based software platform and data analytics engine that understands the world of trade management for indirect-heavy businesses.
Datasaur.ai builds a data labeling workforce management platform for Natural Language Processing.
Ettitude is a purpose-driven lifestyle brand offering home essentials that are soft on your skin and gentle on our planet.
Haldi is building the future of beauty commerce by creating 100% personalized stores for each user.
Jemi is a platform that helps content creators generate new revenue streams through memberships and an all-in-one digital store.
Kulfi Beauty is a premium beauty brand and digital platform celebrating South Asian beauty.
Lunar is the first and only Asian-American craft hard seltzer.
Meadow is an all-in-one cannabis point-of-sale, eCommerce, and CRM suite of software.
Moonship is a social ecommerce software platform that aims to help ecommerce products go viral via word of mouth.
Rosebud AI is an easy to use AI generated media to enable storytelling at the speed of thought.
Searchlight is a Quality of Hire platform that reduces bias in performance-driven hiring.
The Juggernaut is a media company and community for global South Asians and the South Asia-curious.
Umamicart is an online Asian grocer offering a curated selection that highlights the diversity of Asian American cuisine and culture.
Gold Rush will feature these companies in its culminating Founder Showcase to an audience of top API investors, entrepreneurs, and creative icons, in partnership with BMW of North America in June. The capstone event is a continuation of both organizations’ efforts to amplify APIs by driving commercial growth in addition to cultural understanding. For more information, please visit goldhouse.org/goldrush.
“Organizations like Gold House are important because they shine a light on marginalized and under-served communities, such as Asian and Pacific Islanders,” said Adam Sykes, vice president, corporate communications, BMW of North America. “Equality isn’t about one group or another, it’s about all groups of people being recognized, respected and celebrated on the same level for their own unique qualities and contributions.”
Gold Rush follows Gold House’s recent collaboration with GoFundMe, a single destination for all API victim attack and neighborhood relief as well as the AAPI Community Fund that invests in local grassroots organizations dedicated to restorative justice.