Angela Benton’s Trailblazing NewME Accelerator Has Been Acquired By Lighthouse

Written by Dana Sanchez
Angela Benton, considered a pioneer of diversity in Silicon Valley, has sold her NewME accelerator for underrepresented entrepreneurs to LightHouse, the parent company of the Cincinnati-based Hillman Accelerator program.
Recognizing a niche created by the lack of diversity in tech, Benton founded NewMe in 2011 in Silicon Valley. It was one of the first online programs dedicated to supporting and helping Black entrepreneurs find funding.
NewMe moved to Miami in 2017 and has helped Black entrepreneurs get more $40 million in venture funding.
Hillman Accelerator was launched in 2016 by Candice Matthews-Brackeen, former Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Dhani Jones, and Ebow Vroom. It provides underrepresented founders with seed funding, partnership opportunities, and mentorship.
Hillman alumni include SoLo Funds, a mobile-based low ­value lending exchange platform, and Excited, the first gay lifestyle, health and beauty brand in Latin America.


Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 05: Angela Benton
Angela Benton talks about starting NewMe Accelerator, whose black and brown founders have raised $42 million in venture capital. Super-early to Black tech media with BlackWeb 2.0, she discusses building her personal brand while being a single mother, battling cancer, and whether or not most of the “diversity” gains in Silicon Valley will go to privileged white women.

“I couldn’t be happier to see NewME’s evolution under Candice’s leadership,” Benton said in a blog. “I know it’s in good hands and I know all the founders that NewME had previously worked with and the founders NewME will work with in the future are in good hands.
“What I’m even more excited about is being able to sell my company to another Black woman… this rarely happens.”
Benton’s story and struggle to overcome adversity helped make her a media darling, earning her descriptions such as “multihyphenate business maven.”
She became a mom at age 16, studied graphic design, taught herself to code and became a CEO. In 2011, she landed in the national spotlight when she raised issues with diversity in Silicon Valley on CNN’s documentary, “Black in America: The New Promised Land – Silicon Valley.”

The original programming Benton created will continue through the acquisition, and she’ll stay on as an advisor, Blavity reported.

“Lighthouse’s acquisition of NewME is a win across cultures,” said Matthews. “Our accelerator expansion will enable us to reach even more underrepresented founders and their transformative businesses, which offers even more opportunities to connect all people with the disruptive technologies that enhance and define the human experience.”

Benton said on Instagram that she had to keep the NewMe sale a secret, and that was tough.

“This was probably the hardest secret that I had to keep! The sale closed in December and I’m beyond excited to see @candicebrackeenexecute on her vision.

Hillman was the first accelerator in the Midwest providing support to tech companies founded by underserved individuals, according to the company website.

Matthews’ entrepreneurial experience includes co-founding Hello Parent, a national safety technology partner of the Brady Campaign to Reduce Gun Violence and the American Academy of Pediatrics. She also pioneered partnerships with P&G, Miami University, and the University of Cincinnati.

Benton talked in her blog about how hard it was to let go of NewMe accelerator.
“When Candice reached out to me about purchasing NewME I knew the time was right but I still wanted to know if she was the right person … and being genuinely invested in the success of minorities in tech. After honest conversations with her about her previous work, what she was doing with Hillman, and also her vision for where she wanted to take her business it all made sense. The important lesson here is this: None of this actually transpired until I had fully let go and moved on to new things.”

The Hillman/NewMe program offers week-long accelerators in partner cities including Cincinnati, Columbus, Chicago, Indianapolis, and Miami. Free online resources are available for entrepreneurs.

The next accelerator begins Jan. 28. You can apply here.

NewME accelerator
Angela Benton,Tech Pioneer. Founder of 1st accelerator for Minorities @NewMEAccel.