InnovateHER. InvestHER. IdeateHER.
Passionate about venture as the direct path to economic empowerment and improved communities.
Monica Wheat is a Strategist, Investor, Consultant, and Venture Developer.
Monica is currently the Managing Director of the Techstars Detroit Accelerator Powered by JP Morgan, part of a global seed-stage accelerator in 40+ cities worldwide. She previously served as a Techstars Startup Programs Lead for 10+ years leading programs globally and is the Founding Co-Director of Founders Boost, a global Pre-Accelerator and for Techstars program now live in 20 cities.
Monica is also the Founder and Executive Director of Venture Catalysts, a non-profit venture and ecosystem development group focused on investor/founder education and development, an innovation hub, and large-scale entrepreneurial initiatives for over 50,000 attendees. She served as a consultant for Backstage Capital, co-producing their multi-city live investment tour, and was the Detroit Managing Director of the Backstage Capital Accelerator, a 4-city global tech accelerator investing in scaling startups for underrepresented founders.
She is a global speaker, judge, and educator. 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.
Path to Venture1
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.2
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.3
Founds Pixel DSi LLC, a digital strategy consultancy that focused on digital strategy, social media and analytics projects for corporate, nonprofit and academic groups.4
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 youth5
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 Miami6
Expands to Lead of Techstars Startup Programs and Ecosystem Development programs in Markets outside of Detroit7
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 teams8
Co-Founds first Techstars 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 team9
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 program10
Selected as US Delegate for Global Entrepreneurship Congress in 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 Detroit11
Launches Venture Week, SEED | START | SCALE ecosystem accelerator
Launches 1701 Detroit, Tech Innovation
Launches #BLKTechInVenture ecosystem development series
Leads Techstars + HBCUvc 5-City Startup Week Tour12
Launches first virtual Techstars Startup Week in the world
Launches Catalyst Program
Co-Produces 12-City Investment Tour with Backstage Capital
Leads Global Entrepreneurship Week for State of Michigan13
Becomes Managing Director of Techstars Equitech Accelerator
Joins Black Channel Partner Alliance as Consulting Lead14
Becomes Managing Director of Techstars Detroit Powered by JP Morgan
Selected as US Delegate for Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia