Cohort 8 graduate Maca Baigorria (she/her) took Avocademy to the next level in 2022.

The company is a career education program that helps people transition to the UX/UI design field. Since launching the UX/UI Foundations Program in 2020, Maca and her team have helped mentor hundreds of students, added new course offerings, and grown their team exponentially.

“It’s our goal to create an affordable way for newcomers from all backgrounds to join the next generation of UX designers. Our learn-by-doing approach helps students build portfolios and gain real-world experience,” Maca said. “We also offer a Career Jumpstart program which provides students with tailored job search assistance to ensure their long-term success.”

With Cohort 11 applications for the StartOut Growth Lab in full gear, Maca spoke with us about her experience. Founders who’ve graduated from the StartOut Growth Lab have helped raise $763M+ in funding and created over 3,650+ new jobs – a true testament to the impact of LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs.

Maca, how’s it been since graduating from the Growth Lab?

It’s been a full year since graduating but it feels like a lifetime. Numbers-wise, in October, we had like $130k a month in revenue, up from the average $30k we raised each month during Growth Lab. Today we’re averaging $700k a month, and I think a lot of that is based on how much growth we’ve achieved in a year.

We have a full-time team of 10 people now. I hired my first employee during Growth Lab after crunching the numbers with Chris Davidson.

What skills did the cohort provide you with?

Growth Lab gave me the community I needed. I grew up with little money and no experience with other founders. There wasn’t a network for me, so I didn’t know what success looked like.

I needed that consistent check-in with others telling me that “I could do this” every week. Growth Lab helped push me and push my company forward.

It also helped me learn about running a company I hadn’t thought about, like fundraising and legal advice. Ironically, but not by accident, my accountant and lawyer are references I received from other alums.

How did your experience help shape your future trajectory with Avocademy?

I feel more empowered to pursue whatever future I want with the company. I’ve spent time elevating employees, handing off responsibilities, and training people so that I can pursue more free time in life.

The outcome of Growth Lab is much greater than I thought it would be. I was scared of the time commitment, but it’s worth it and nothing to worry about. I didn’t understand the impact, but it’s crazy how much you can learn and grow in six months.

What advice would you give to folks wanting to apply?

Do it. Don’t hesitate to apply and when you get in, really prioritize the accelerator and the exercises you go through. Cherish the connections you make because some will last a very long time.

I think connections feel stronger when we bond over being part of the LBGTQ+ community – and it’s no different in the startup world. The founders and investors you meet through Growth Lab have a stronger connection because that personal connection bonds us.