• Monica Wheat

    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.

  • Path to Venture

    1

    2006

    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

    2007

    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

    2010

    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

    2011

    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

    5

    2012

    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

    6

    2013

    Expands to Lead of Techstars Startup Programs and Ecosystem Development programs in Markets outside of Detroit

    7

    2014

    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

    8

    2016

    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 team

    9

    2017

    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

    10

    2018

    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

    11

    2019

    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 Tour

    12

    2020

    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 Michigan

    13

    2021

    Becomes Managing Director of Techstars Equitech Accelerator

     

    Joins Black Channel Partner Alliance as Consulting Lead

  • COVERAGE