Founders: Dogpatch kicks off new accelerator led by Silicon Valley veteran

31 Aug 2023

Heather Morris, managing director of the Founders accelerator. Image: Dogpatch Labs

Dogpatch Labs has appointed Silicon Valley angel investor Heather Morris as managing director of its new accelerator aimed at first-time founders.

As part of Dogpatch Labs’ latest Founders accelerator programme, 42 individuals from all walks of life will gather today (31 August) to begin their start-up journey.

The individuals, selected from a pool of more than 500 applicants, will meet for the first time and, over the course of the next three months, find co-founders and business ideas that will culminate in a €100,000 pitching event in December.

And to lead the first-of-its-kind programme, Dogpatch Labs has brought in Silicon Valley veteran and angel investor Heather Morris.

Starting 18 September, the potential first-time founders will work full-time at Dogpatch Labs to brainstorm business propositions using the latest tech.

As well as Morris’s support, they will have access to Irish tech stalwarts such as Manna Drone Delivery’s Bobby Healy, entrepreneur and broadcaster Áine Kerr, and Stephen Kinsella, co-director of the Immersive Software Engineering programme at the University of Limerick.

Dogpatch Labs CEO Patrick Walsh said that as the new managing director of Founders, Morris brings “a wealth of relevant experience” as an operator, advisor and angel investor.

“She has spent her career identifying high-potential, early-stage companies and founders in various capacities at amazing companies like Chegg and JP Morgan, and helping them overcome obstacles to get to the next level,” Walsh noted. “Heather’s experience and unwavering commitment to supporting founders makes her an ideal fit for this role.”

Dogpatch Labs said the Founders pilot programme is funded by returns from successful investments in Irish start-ups through the NDRC accelerator. Nearly a third of the cohort are women, while around half come from non-tech backgrounds.

Morris said that she has been “blown away” by the ambition, drive and determination of talent from across Ireland and wants to “unleash this untapped resource of talent” to help people become founders who can “create the next great thing”.

“In doing so, we can democratise access to entrepreneurship as a career choice. We have the opportunity and the privilege to be the first to say ‘we believe in you’ with our words, our actions and, importantly, our capital.”

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic