What We Accomplished Together in 2017. Looking Forward to 2018.


With 2017 coming to a close, I wanted to say “thank you” and share some thoughts with you about what we have accomplished in 2017 and where we’re headed together.


When our judiciary gets filled with originalists, polarization is gaining ground everywhere, and supposedly religious values trump basic human rights – we are more determined than ever to protect and advance our community. Economic empowerment is our best bet to effect lasting change. In this holiday season, we want you to know how thankful we are to have members like you, on whom we can count in our joint fight for equality.


It hasn’t been an easy year, to put things mildly. I hear inspiring, heart-breaking, compelling, awesome, and challenging stories every single day – stories that continually remind me how vital our work is at StartOut. We have made great progress lately, but we have a long way to go, and it is you who plays the most critical role in our quest.  Thank you for your engagement!


2017 was a year of building out our services at StartOut and setting them up for growth. Here’s what we accomplished together:

  • We hosted close to 4,000 members at our in-person events in six chapters. Thanks to all the local boards who put on these events!
  • We introduced our Mentorship Program, sponsored by AT&T, teaming up 180 mentees with experienced mentors
  • We launched our investor portal which features over 80 LGBTQ-founded companies
  • We created The Global LGBTQ Entrepreneurial Network, powered by Citi Ventures, which already includes over 2,000 members
  • We opened the StartOut Growth Lab, sponsored by Nixon Peabody, the first-ever LGBTQ startup accelerator startup with a Cohort of successful startups graduating this month
  • We revved up our Visibility program to promote you, our members and your activities. Members were covered widely via email features and on social media, and then  in the Washington Post, San Jose Mercury News, USA Today, the SF Chronicle. Our monthly member Spotlight series with Edge Media Network and StartOut Snippets are in full swing.


But we are not stopping as we view 2018 as the year for major expansion. We are adding more talent to the team to:

  • Massively expand our reach nationwide, including to the 28 States where it’s still legal to fire someone for being LGBTQ
  • Accelerate powerful connections  in our Forums, Global Network and at in-person meetings
  • Double mentorship pairings and accelerate opportunities to make direct connections with investors to get your companies funded
  • Promote your journeys, successes and challenges, throughout all media to inspire others, and build up the respect our entrepreneurs deserve
  • And finally, generate actionable data to showcase our impact on the US economy. (LGBTQ startups and our Community that supports them are not to be messed with!)


We’ll want to start the new year strongly, and continue the spirit of giving back to our community, from the aspiring to the most accomplished serial entrepreneur. As a non-profit, we can’t do our work without your financial support. Our plans for the future are exciting but we can’t do it alone. Please help us by making a personal tax-deductible contribution before the end of the year. All donations go directly toward our programs. On behalf of all the entrepreneurs who need our support, Thank You!

I am grateful for your unwavering support and the opportunity you are affording me and my team to make a difference on your behalf. You are invigorating us every single day, and it is a terrific privilege for me to lead this organization. We are engaged in a long term battle for equal access for our Community, and together we will get there.


With deep gratitude and my very best wishes for the holidays to you and your families,



Andres Wydler

Executive Director