San Diego Business Journal

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Cheryl Goodman

— MyStartupXX, one of the few local startup accelerators for women entrepreneurs, is partnering with Athena San Diego to match successful female mentors with budding founders.

MyStartupXX (that’s “XX” as in the female chromosome pair) is exclusively for women founders in STEM fields: science, technology, engineering, and math. The accelerator was founded by the University of California, San Diego’s Rady School of Management, and it offers women founders education, funding, and mentorship.

The mentorship offerings are about to receive a boost. By partnering with Athena San Diego, a professional development association serving women in science and technology, MyStartupXX is landing a wide network of successful women mentors.

“The killer secret sauce of all successful startups is access to mentors,” Cheryl Goodman, executive director at Athena San Diego, said in an email.

Karen Fisher, chairman of Athena, said Athena’s member base includes top technology and biotech leaders who are closing the gender gap for female founders in STEM fields.

“We intend to enlist our mentor network to support MyStartupXX and increase diversification in San Diego’s innovation economy,” Fisher said.

The MyStartupXX program, founded in 2012, is open to all UCSD undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral students, as well as alumni, with a business idea.

The accelerator has seen the successful exit of Cypher Genomics, which was led by life science rising star Ashley Van Zeeland (now the chief technology officer of Human Longevity Inc.).

“Our partnership (with Athena) is a strategic move to pair our teams with the best and brightest industry leaders for education, guidance, and funding,” said Lada Rasochova, executive director of the California Institute for Innovation and Development at Rady.