Athena San Diego and the UCSD Rady School of Management Partner on mystartupXX, San Diego’s First Accelerator Focused on Women in STEM

Partnership aims to champion female innovators and help close the gap on funding through Athena’s expert mentor network supporting mystartupXX

Athena San Diego Logo

Athena San Diego, a professional development association serving women in science and technology, and the Rady School of Management at the University of California San Diego, announced today the establishment of a partnership to support mystartupXX, Rady’s female-focused technology and biotech accelerator. 

mystartupXX is the only local accelerator exclusively for women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). It promotes the next generation of women founders and technology companies through education, funding and mentorship. The four-year-old program has garnered recognition from the White House three years running and has seen the successful exit of Cypher Genomics, which was acquired by genomics frontrunner Human Longevity, Inc.

mystartupXX is open to all UCSD undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students, as well as recent alumni, with a business idea. At least one founder must be a woman. Up to 10 teams are accepted into the program at one time. Each startup works with a mentor and meets regularly with advisors.

“Mentors are the key to success in developing exceptional female founders,” said Karen Fisher, chairman of Athena. “Athena’s member base includes top tech and biotech leaders who are actively closing the gender gap for female founders and leaders in STEM careers. Many of our members donate their time and expertise as mentors to help women realize their true potential within STEM industries. We intend to enlist our mentor network to support mystartupXX and increase diversification in San Diego’s innovation economy.”  

Accelerator teams will be mentored by select individuals from Athena’s member base of connected and influential women to help guide its young entrepreneurs. Athena members come from all sectors of STEM industries, including life sciences, healthcare, defense, engineering and related industries, as well as select service providers who support them.

“Athena has a longstanding reputation for bringing together the most powerful women in STEM so we’d be hard-pressed to find a greater network of mentors,” said Lada Rasochova, Executive Director of the California Institute for Innovation & Development at UCSD’s Rady School of Management. “Our partnership is a strategic move to pair our teams with the best and brightest industry leaders for education, guidance and funding.”

Individuals and businesses are encouraged to support the mystartupXX program. For more information, please click here, call 858-481-0710 or email

Athena San Diego is a 501(c)6 professional development association serving women in science and technology. Athena is a community of dynamic women that provides inspiration, education, networking and leadership programs that empower women to realize their true potential within STEM industries.

Athena represents senior executives, entrepreneurs, educators, and emerging executives, Athena supports members at the top of their field while paving the way for those on their way up. Offerings include programs, mentoring, workshops, annual Pinnacle Industry Awards and scholarships for women in STEM (through the Athena Foundation). 

For more information:

The California Institute for Innovation and Development (CIID) at the Rady School of Management was founded to support and catalyze the University of California’s innovation leadership and entrepreneurship initiatives. For more information:

Go Back

Virtual Tour