“The Crafter’s Box” Among Startups Tapped For Prestigious Techstars Anywhere Program

By Brittany Meiling The San Diego Union-Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) "The Crafter's Box",  founded by Morgan Splena, is a monthly subscription box that delivers all the materials needed to tackle an artsy project. 

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Techstars, one of the largest and most popular startup accelerators in the country, has accepted two San Diego companies into its virtual program called Techstars Anywhere.

The two local companies, Sekr and The Crafter's Box, are both founded and led by women entrepreneurs.

The Crafter's Box, an e-commerce company founded by Morgan Splena, sells a monthly subscription box for crafters that delivers all the materials needed to tackle an artsy project. From knit pillows to woven wall hangings to wooden cutting boards, The Crafter's Box has a new project for makers to create each month. The subscription comes with a digital workshop led by artists, teaching how to craft each project.

Sekr, a startup that makes an app for the "vanlife" movement, was founded by Brianne Acio and Jessica Shisler. Aptly called The Vanlife App, the software connects travelers with free campsites, gatherings, and other campers nearby. For those who haven't heard of "vanlife," it refers to a recent bohemian movement of travelers who convert vans into livable apartments on wheels (think of it as a do-it-yourself RV). Many vanlifers are also "digital nomads" who work remotely. The movement caught fire on social media, where twenty-somethings shared videos and pictures of their gypsy lifestyles — catching the imagination of many aspiring travelers. These two startups will join eight other startups from all over the country that were also admitted to the Techstars cohort. The other companies include Cabinet Health, Forecastr, Milkrun, Pangian, Symba, Tot Squad, Workfrom and Xmetryx.

Techstars, which was co-founded in 2006 by popular venture capitalist Brad Feld, has dozens of accelerator programs worldwide and is one of the most active startup investors in San Diego (and in other startup cities).

The virtual program, Techstars Anywhere, is meant to address bandwidth and geographical problems Techstars continues to be faced with. Entrepreneurs who are admitted to the program don't have to travel to a new city for months to participate.

Although the program is remote, it does have roots in San Diego. The accelerator is led by Ryan Kuder, a San Diegan and a former executive of EcoATM. Kuder said this recent cohort of startups is quite diverse.

"They are nomads and remote workers, finance and management experts, farmers and manufacturers, men and women, some are under 30, some are over 30," Kuder wrote in an announcement. But the one thing they all have in common, Kuder says, is that they are all building exceptional companies. Over the next 13 weeks, the founders and their Techstars mentors will work together to improve the startup's business plans with the goal of creating "enduring, scalable startups," Kuder said.

The program will culminate in a virtual demo day in April, where investors can evaluate the startups' progress. ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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