Technista Angela Benton Sells NewME Accelerator
In March of 2018 I decided that the upcoming accelerator would be my last. It had been seven years and NewME had already become, and made far more impact, than I had ever imagined. It started out as a project that took on a life of its own that I had to develop into a self-sustaining business. I learned a lot of life lessons but, most importantly, I learned a lot of business lessons from that process.
I’m proud of the path we paved but, in 2018, looking at the landscape of activity around black tech, the work seemed duplicative. Also, after fighting cancer, I had a broader outlook on life and business. I was able to look at the landscape and see that, frankly, there were a lot of people doing the same thing.
It was no longer intellectually challenging for me and there were a lot of options for people to get the help they needed. Still, even with this awareness, I felt committed to helping several people who had reached out to me repeatedly. In an effort to help, I did a small private accelerator in September but I told myself… “This is it.”
I knew that even though I had moved on from NewME in various ways, the community wouldn’t ever actually let me move on. I decided to draw a line in the sand and stay true to the direction that I had been going in for most of the year. I updated NewME’s website to state that I was no longer active and removed any access to our online platforms that were self-guided and seemingly the lowest effort possible for me.
What I learned by doing this is important: That we have to let go. We have to be transparent when you’re ready to move on or even when that business might be ready to move on from you. In a startup ecosystem that is largely focused on the nascent part of business; the launch, the raising money, and the scaling, people rarely discuss when it’s time to move on.
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 mainly from the standpoint of acknowledging what NewMe had done for the community (versus buying it) 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 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. I’m hoping this transparent post from entrepreneur to entrepreneur resonates with some of you.
I couldn’t be happier to see NewME’s evolution under Candace’s leadership. 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; and let me not forget to mention this: to see how she plans to shake-up the ecosystem.