Lunar Startups Announces its Second Cohort

Entrepreneurs to receive office space, development opportunities and other support as they grow early-stage companies

ST. PAUL, Minn., Feb. 20, 2019 – Lunar Startups today announced the companies that will comprise its second cohort, which will launch in March 2019 and run for 12 months. A program of American Public Media’s Glen Nelson Center, the St. Paul-based startup incubator will welcome seven early-stage companies that were selected from a diverse pool of entrepreneurs.

Funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Lunar Startups – dedicated to supporting top entrepreneurs building high-impact companies who often lack access to the support and resources they need to grow – will provide startup benefits to the following companies as part of Cohort 2:

  • Creatively Focused: empowering educators with innovative and intentional strategies and skills to do the meaningful and critical work of improving outcomes for students
  • Fruitful Fertility: connecting those struggling with fertility issues who are in need of emotional support with individuals and mentors who have had similar experiences
  • Maazah: transforming the regional and global food space with an Afghani-inspired, small-batch, gourmet condiment
  • Team Dynamics: helping organizations excel through strategy development, skill building, and coaching
  • Tedious: providing on-demand home services – lawn maintenance, snow removal, leaf cleanup – through an easy-to-use app
  • Virtue Analytics: offering educational and other institutions a platform for grant optimization, tuition discounting and enrollment yield improvement
  • Youth Lens 360: providing superior visual communication and product marketing and branding services through the lens of youth ages 14-24

The seven early-stage companies were selected from an applicant pool of 40 startups led by a diverse group of entrepreneurs. More than 70 percent of the startups selected for Cohort 2 are led by a person of color, and 60 percent are led by women.

“Our second cohort continues to demonstrate the breadth of innovators we have in our community,” said Danielle Steer, managing director of Lunar Startups. “These seven high-growth startups are tackling real problems from fertility support and homeowner services to the student loan crisis and improving outcomes for students living with disabilities. We’re excited to surround them with intentional, unique and targeted resources to help them drive growth.”

Lunar Startups’ Cohort 2 will have dedicated workspace in the Glen Nelson Center at Osborn370 in St. Paul’s downtown core. In addition to office space, benefits of the 12-month cohort include a $5,000 travel, marketing, and technology stipend; a dedicated peer support network; pro-bono services valued at $8,000; plus nearly $50,000 in access to resources and technology through their participation in Global Accelerator Network (GAN).

“Lunar Startups takes impressive local talent to the next level, boosting the entrepreneurial and small business ecosystem in St. Paul,” said Jai Winston, Knight Foundation director for St. Paul. “These startups not only drive new job growth, but they elevate St. Paul’s emerging profile as a vibrant hub for new ideas and creative activity. We’re thrilled to see the successes to come from Lunar’s second cohort.”

In addition to the new cohort, Lunar added two new members to its team in January. A former vice president of the Minneapolis NAACP, Jeffrey Aguy is a seasoned entrepreneur and will serve as Lunar Startups’ Program Manager. Debbie Aderinkomi is participating in the MPR internship program as the Marketing Coordinator for Lunar, dedicated to developing the Lunar voice and messaging.

“In addition to building our operational capacity,” said Steer. “Our new team members are expanding the voice and experience of decision makers driving the program. They bring critical, new knowledge to the team that is already adding immense value to the participant experience.”

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About American Public Media 
American Public Media® is the national programming division of Minnesota Public Radio® and reaches 20 million listeners via 1,000 radio stations nationwide each week. APM is one of the largest producers and distributors of public radio programming in the world, with a portfolio that includes BBC World Service, Marketplace®, and the leading classical music programs in the nation. APM offers a diverse array of podcasts featuring the best in food, culture, entertainment, business and investigative journalism. For more information on APM, visit americanpublicmedia.org.

Source: Data are copyright Nielsen Audio. Data are estimates only.

About the Glen Nelson Center
The Glen Nelson Center exists to explore, discover, and develop innovative ways to serve new and diverse audiences through entrepreneurial endeavors that support American Public Media’s public service mission. For more information on the Glen Nelson center, visit GlenNelson.org.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit kf.org.