InnovateHER. InvestHER. IdeateHER.
Passionate about venture as the direct path to economic empowerment and improved communities.
Monica Wheat is a Strategist, Educator, Investor, and Venture Developer. A self-proclaimed #CapitalistCrusader, Monica is Founder and Executive Director of Venture Catalysts, a non-profit venture, and ecosystem development group focused on investor/founder education, an innovation hub, and large-scale entrepreneurial initiatives for over 40,000 attendees. She serves as a Consultant for Backstage Capital, co-producing their multi-city live investment tour and was the Managing Director of the Backstage Capital - Detroit Accelerator, a 4-city, global tech accelerator in investing 3 months and $100,000 in scaling startups for underrepresented founders. She is the Techstars Startup Programs Lead leading programs nationwide and Founding Co-Director of Startup Boost, a global Pre-Accelerator.
She is a global speaker, judge, and consultant. Past clients have included Fortune 10 corporations, non-profits, school districts, tech accelerators, venture funds, and start-ups. She regularly speaks and consults at corporations & conferences on topics of emerging ecosystems, venture capital, digital innovation, and women in technology.
Returns from working abroad in Engineering in Shanghai, China, and seeing the startup evolution in San Francisco first hand, returns to Detroit inspired; and becomes heavily involved in the startup & technology communities as an advisor and investor
Initial Angel investments suffered due to underdeveloped ecosystem and access.
Focuses efforts on creating a comparable Detroit venture ecosystem.
Leaves corporate engineering roles and shifts to path of increasing roles in digital media analytics, branding, web analytics, and global social media strategy for Fortune 10 brands - agency & client side.
Founds Pixel DSi LLC, a digital strategy consultancy that focused on digital strategy, social media and analytics projects for corporate, nonprofit and academic groups.
Becomes Lead of Techstars Startup Programs team ramping up efforts in Detroit
Launches Digerati Girls / Digerati Kids Non-Profit to feed pipeline and focus on increasing access to TechEd & Digital Entrepreneurship for young girls & K-12 youth
Launches Uncommon Conversations Think Tank series with guests from around the country
Assists in design & launch the National Newme Accelerator Popup Tour kicking off in Miami
Expands to Lead of Techstars Startup Programs and Ecosystem Development programs in Markets outside of Detroit
Founds Parallel Ventures, a consultancy founded on Corporate Innovation & Branded Startup Partnerships; Digital Ecosystems
Launches partnership with global non-profit Code.org and leads techEd professional development series for teachers at school districts across the State of Michigan
Launches PV Product series for founders & corporate innovation teams
Co-Founds first Startup Week and Techstars Startup NEXT Programs in Detroit
Becomes Adjunct Professor at the Center for Creative Studies teaching Digital Strategy & Social Media
Launches Venture Catalysts, a non-profit ecosystem development group focused on large scale initiatives and partnerships.
Detroit Startup Week becomes the largest inaugural Startup Week in the United States
Wins the inaugural Catalyst Award from Techstars Startup Programs team
Detroit Startup Week becomes the most diverse Startup Week in the United States
Becomes Entrepreneur-In-Residence helping Diversity & Inclusion programs at Grand Circus, Detroit’s lead techEd facility and Google Tech Hub; Launches beta Digital Boost program
Selected as US Delegate for Global Entrepreneurship Congress for first time (Istanbul, Turkey)
Continues trend of bringing National partners to Detroit and other ecosystems including AfroTech, Brazen Global, Newme, Backstage Capital, and more
Becomes Managing Director and Founder of Detroit’s Backstage Capital Accelerator
Wins Mixologist - Small Business Champion of the Year Award from TechTown Detroit
Launches Venture Week, SEED | START | SCALE ecosystem accelerator
Launches 1701 Detroit, Tech Innovation
Launches #BLKTechInVenture ecosystem development series
Launches first virtual Startup Week in the world
Launches Catalyst Program
Leads Techstars + HBCUvc 5-City Startup Week Tour