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StartOut and J.P. Morgan Announce Startups Selected to Join Growth Lab Accelerator

LGBTQ+ founders gain access to peer network, mentorship and business resources to support long-term growth

Today, StartOut and J.P. Morgan welcomed the newest cohort of companies to the Growth Lab Accelerator. With less than one percent of startup funding allocated toward LGBTQ+ founders in 2023, as found by a recent StartOut study, this five-month program is critical in providing resources and education to help entrepreneurs grow and compete.

Seventy-four companies have participated in Growth Lab since 2016, raising more than $892 million in funding and creating approximately 4,216 jobs. As co-lead sponsor of the program, J.P. Morgan provides Growth Lab participants with access to the firm’s network of global experts and resources.

“The founders in Cohort 13 are problem solvers, developing unique products and solutions across a range of industries, from technology and software to food and beverage,” said David Barbee, Head of LGBTQ+ Initiatives, J.P. Morgan Commercial Banking. “As they continue to scale, these companies will need access to resources like capital and banking solutions, investors and business advisors. We are proud to join forces with StartOut to provide mentorship and access to our firmwide capabilities to help them reach the next level.”

The companies selected to join Cohort 13 are:

  • (Washington, D.C.): Generates custom visual identities and marketing materials for startups.
  • Gay Water (New York, NY): Offers mission-driven lifestyle products that celebrate and empower the LGBTQIA+ community.
  • Growbie (Boston, MA): Delivers career support for international students in the United States.
  • Hera Solutions, Inc. (Atlanta, GA): Supports delivery companies’ operations with performance tracking, automated coaching and vehicle management.
  • Merify (Portland, OR): Empowers people managers through a community-based skills assessment platform.
  • Modica (Louisville, KY): Offers a superfood cocktail and mocktail mix for consumers.
  • PopViewers (New York, NY): Provides media consumers a platform to react and engage with TV and movies.
  • Rare Candy (New York, NY): Enables card collectors to trade cards on a digital platform.
  • Studious (New York, NY): Helps individuals study through an AI-driven, gamified learning assistant.

“Each Growth Lab introduces us to an inspiring new cohort of founders, bringing fresh ideas, breaking barriers and expanding our vibrant, global StartOut community,” said Brian Richardson, CEO of StartOut. “We’re delighted to continue this vital work with J.P. Morgan and look forward to another exciting five-month journey.”

To learn more about the StartOut Growth Lab, including details on the application process for the next cohort, visit:

For more information on the financial solutions available to guide business growth, visit:

Learn more about JPMorgan Chase’s commitment to the LGBTQ+ community at

About StartOut

Founded in 2009, StartOut, a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is the largest national organization to support LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs with over 28K members nationwide. Its mission is to accelerate the growth of the LGBTQ+ community to drive its economic empowerment, building a world where every LGBTQ+ entrepreneur has equal access to lead, succeed, and shape the workforce of the future. StartOut helps aspiring LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs start new companies; supports current entrepreneurs as they grow and expand their existing businesses; and engages successful entrepreneurs as role models and mentors, on its online portal and through targeted events nationwide. For more information, please visit

About JPMorgan Chase

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading financial services firm based in the United States of America (“U.S.”), with operations worldwide. JPMorgan Chase had $3.9 trillion in assets and $328 billion in stockholders’ equity as of December 31, 2023. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing and asset management. Under the J.P. Morgan and Chase brands, the Firm serves millions of customers in the U.S., and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients globally. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at


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