Apply By May 14th to Accelerator out of NYC

We interview Kirsten Horning of XRC Labs — NYC on the Startup Legends Podcast

Startup Legends Podcast Interview with Kirsten Horning of XRC Labs

Startup Program — Pre-podcast notes

Name: Kirsten Horning

Company: XRC Labs

Academic/Work Background:

  • Master of Arts, International Business and Public Policy @ Georgetown University McDonough School of Business
  • Key Accounts Manager at Nomad Goods
  • Operations Coordinator at Nexxus Holdings a family office in California
  • Currently she is the Principal at XRC Labs
  • Accelerator in the Greater NYC Area


Who are you and what is your background?

My name is Kirsten Horning, and I work in the venture capital space. Prior to joining XRC Labs I worked at a family office in California sourcing investments in the growing cannabis space. Additionally, I worked at Nomad Goods heading their wholesale channels and served as the liaison with majors like Best Buy, Urban Outfitters, Williams Sonoma, as well as a variety of specialty boutiques and distributors worldwide.

What is your organization and your role?

I currently work for XRC Labs, which is an NYC venture fund and accelerator focusing on the retail tech and consumer goods sectors. My title is Principal, and I lead XRC’s startup sourcing and diligence process as well as investor relations.


What resource/opportunity are you providing startups?

Startups which are accepted into the XRC accelerator program are given $135K in investment. They also have access to our partners, including T.J. Maxx, Mastercard, CVS Health, The Estée Lauder Companies, and GS1 US and to 330+ mentors from today’s most influential retailers and consultancies. Startups are also given strategic support in sustainable growth strategies, further fundraising, PR and marketing, and more.

What is the format of the program?

It’s your company, so you’ll be hard at work on your product or service. Two or three days a week, we’ll organize educational sessions with our mentors. In general though, you’ll be working on your product each day, and we’ll make sure you have lots of experienced mentors and XRC teammates around to help you.

What is your thesis and who should apply?

Startups that fall in these categories:

  • New materials/textiles
  • On demand manufacturing
  • Supply chain & warehouse tech
  • In-store tech
  • E-commerce tech
  • Next-gen commerce & marketplaces
  • Consumer brands
  • Consumerization of healthcare

What are the traction criteria you are looking for?

The pandemic demonstrated how crucial it is for businesses to create supply chain and e-commerce efficiencies. According to the Gartner 2021 CIO Agenda, 51% of CIOs foresee an increase in supply chain speed in 2021, so this is a current investment focus for our next cohort.

Additionally, great teams are worth as much or more than great products because environments change and great teams change with them. We will choose great founders proposing products that solve real problems or create meaningful innovations. For us, it’s about the team.

What are important dates for application, review, acceptance, and duration?

Startups interested in XRC Labs can check out our website at, and our program application is available on our homepage. We’re accepting applications from now until mid to late May.

In late May 2021 select applicants will be notified of XRC Labs’s interest and requested to present at a bi-annual Selection Committee in June 2021. From there, up to ten startups will be offered the opportunity to join the XRC Labs ecosystem. Each accelerator program lasts about four months.


Do you think the startup industry needs more diversity, inclusion and impact? (why or why not)

According to Axios, nearly 12.4% of decision-makers at U.S. venture capital firms are women. Not only are many of XRC Labs’ decision-makers women, the company has more women than men, with 13 women and 9 men on staff (including interns and part-time). Additionally, 53% of our portfolio companies have a female founder, and 40% have a founder of color.

This year we also launched our ELEVATE program which is designed to bring resources and tools to underestimated startup founders of color.

Guest Social Links

Application Link:


StartupFuel Profile:




Clubhouse: @kirsten

About Startup Legends Podcast

Interviewing startup rockstars:

Entrepreneurs, investors, accelerators, ecosystem leaders, consultants, and coaches.

We talk everything startups, entrepreneurship, innovation and more

We have a big passion around bringing more diversity, impact and inclusion in the startup and venture capital space.


All podcast inquires including how to be on the show, marketing, and sponsorships can be directed to:

Register your startup today to join our directory, gain exposure, keep up to date with the latest pitch competitions & more!