Categories
Blog Startups The PISLA Beat

Helping Black Businesses Achieve Success

Owned by BLK The BYEH’s Trailblazer Program, a Bootcamp program for Black identifying Youth Entrepreneurs has been launched by HamOnt, a Black entrepreneur support network!
For entrepreneurs ages 18 to 39, BLK OWNED has designed a Bootcamp program to help Black entrepreneurs set up their businesses for success. This is an 8-week program that runs from March 5th to April 14th and covers themes like marketing, sales, and company digitization.

Read more. ➝

Categories
Blog Startups The PISLA Beat

Black History Month Campaign Honors Black Future Makers

Shania Accius, a Black Future-Maker started the Zawadi Cultural Collective to organize cultural events in the San Fernando Valley.

Acius leads an all-Black Girl Scout troop that emphasizes character, culture, and community. When she identified the need for a resource hub, she started a Black business Facebook group, which now has 4,000 members.


Read more. ➝

Categories
Blog Startups The PISLA Beat

These Black C.E.O’s turned obstacles into opportunities

The impact of Covid-19 was disproportionately felt by black company owners; a year into the epidemic, the number of black CEOs had increased by 38%. Surprisingly, 17% of Black women are in the midst of beginning or running their own business. Verizon news center met with a few of these business owners to learn more about their inspirational stories. One of these inspirational leaders includes Eben Rey, CEO of NEIO Systems in Los Angeles, CA.

Read more. ➝

Categories
Startups Uncategorized

Service-industry workers are quitting by the millions. These sisters launched a free Tinder-style app for job seekers to match with employers.

The hospitality industry, which employs over 15 million Americans, is at a crossroads: despite a large number of job searchers, restaurants and hotels are having difficulty finding personnel due to a combination of low pay and terrible working conditions. Deborah Gladney and Angela Muhwezi-Hall, two sisters, are hoping that their tinder-Esque app will be successful in finding new jobs that will be a better fit.

Read more. ➝

Categories
Startups Uncategorized

“Empire State of Mind”.

For a Billionaire like Jay-Z money is truly no object. Unless it’s a digital one. Jay-Z has now turned his head towards a real game-changer as of late, Bitcoin. Jay-Z and his Mercury Venture Partners are investing in spatial Labs (sLabs, a tech incubator that focuses on meta-verse and blockchain-related products.

SLabs was founded by Iddris Sandu, a Ghanian born and raised in Southern California at a young age Sandu showed an aptitude for tech. Sandu has worked with major businesses such as Apple, Google, and Facebook since he was 13 years old.

In a statement, Sandu said, “Aligning with Marcy Venture Partners supports our mission for uplifting the kids as it relates to access and a means to actual technical empowerment.” “This relationship’s long-term significance is characterized not just by the work we’re doing now, but by the immeasurable impact it will have on future generations of creators.” Sandu’s other credentials include Uber, Instagram, Beyoncé’s Ivy Park, Kanye West’s Yeezy, Rihanna’s Fenty brand, which are among the 24-year old’s very impressive partnership portfolio.

LNQ, the tech incubator’s first product, will be released next year. According to Billboard, Sandu’s goal with LNQ, a blockchain-enabled hardware platform, is to “give youthful innovators with better tools to leverage the metaverse when it becomes a reality.”

In a statement, JAY-Z said, “Iddris has a mindful world view and a youth-centric vision that is creative and refreshing to behold.” “We have similar ideas about how we want to affect people throughout our lives. Partnering with him on this journey and others is very exciting.”

This story was originally covered by our friends at Afrotech. Remember to subscribe to Urban Tech Connect Newsletter and get access to information, education, and people who can help accelerate your journey.

Categories
Startups UTC

“In the land of VCs these two Latinx members choose to break the mold”.

When Co-Founders and Co-Presidents Maria Salamanca and Rami Reyes founded LatinxVC they wanted to not only change the tech industry but overcome the statistic that only 2 percent of partner-level development professionals were Hispanic as reported by the Pew Research Center.

Early in his career, Reyes found himself in a situation when he was a freshly appointed partner. Reyes was at a Venture Capitalist convention he happened to meet two VCs at two different companies, At the end of their meetings with me, they asked me if I spoke Spanish. And they were super-shocked, as they said I was the first Latino VC they’d ever encountered. And they were much older than me so that was pretty shocking to hear.”

Only 14 percent of VCs have Latinx investment teams. A number not looked upon fondly by many. This is what inspired Reyes to launch an organization aimed at giving Latinx members a platform where they can finally take a seat at the table.

Salamanca had her beginning working at All Raise, a non-profit aimed at supporting female investment partners. Early they both noticed that there was not only a discrepancy with partners but with junior investment professionals as well, “One of the things we started to notice, from both pulling the data as well as from our own networks and understanding of what was going on, was the analyst and associate class is pretty light. We actually have a significantly larger number of folks at the partner level and up or founding GP partners,” Salamanca said.

Salamanca and Reyes though are choosing to combat this problem head-on. They plan on using capital acquired from the Silicon Valley Bank to staff fully employ their company which was managed by volunteers. It will also be used on other projects too like grow its existing fellowship program, job platform, and mentorship platform.

LatinxVC also has ties with the larger minority programs. They engage in Bi-monthly meetings with All Rise and BLCK VC to double up their efforts and engage in more thoughtful conversations that affect the community as a whole.

Categories
Blog Startups

Tech Companies, let’s grow!

2020 saw new challenges that many of us have never faced before. Part of these new challenges offered new solutions that required innovation and outside-the-box thinking. At the forefront of this is the tech industry.

Thanks to a report done by Crunchbase. A record $137 Billion was invested into startups in the first half of 2021 alone. Sadly amongst that number, only 1.2% went into startups led by black entrepreneurs. This report was put together by Crunchbase over 1,393 contributors. The contributors are made up of Crunchbase Venture Program Partners, tech-journalists, Crunchbase’s data management team, and venture capitalists themselves. The Crunchbase researchers also added that Black entrepreneurs in the U.S raised nearly $1.8 Billion in the first half of 2021.

Within the decade tech companies have been scouting the city of Atlanta for its brightest and best. Atlanta has seen numerous startups within the last few years. Georgia also takes the cake with the highest record of funding with 8.4% of the venture funding going to founders of color. Georgia has become a hotspot for the industry with Silicon Valley and other high-profile companies now recruiting out of Atlanta.

Crunchbase’s senior data journalist provided ZDNET with some insight on this report,

“There is an increased interest and awareness around issues of racial justice in the venture world. Some positive signs are that more Black-led firms and funds have invested in Black and other underrepresented startup founders, more Black investors at traditional firms are being promoted to partner level, and a greater percentage of VC funding to Black startup founders is going into early-stage rounds, several of which have been quite large.”

Despite these disadvantages, Black startups have still been providing crazy numbers in funding. 1.2% is an increase from last year as black startups in 2020 raised approximately $1 Billion. The field for diverse and black-run tech companies is growing with expediency. The next step is getting these companies the materials to help support them.

Categories
Startups UTC

“Google awards $100K in funding to secure diversity in tech industry.”

The emergence of COVID-19 brought a lot of deterrents in development, careers, and our personal lives. But with those negatives, there were some positives. We learned new ways to connect with each other. Devin Dixon is one of those people who are bringing about positivity during these challenging times. An entrepreneur, tech developer, and community connector is taking the bull that is the tech industry by the horns.

Starting to code at the age of 12, Dixon then went on to start his first business at the age of 19 while in college at UNC Wilmington, where he graduated with a degree in computer science and business. The serial entrepreneur, developer, teacher, and prodigy is now undergoing his next venture. Devin has been awarded the cash reward in Google’s “The Google Black Founders Fund”. The fund, which is designed to bring $100K in non-federal funding to startups to aid during the unexpected COVID-19, Google pledged $10 Million to be spread across 126 startup companies and their founders. Dixon, who is now the founder and C.E.O of “BingeWave”, is now a recipient of this award. Their crystal clear business model being, “Short Form Content That Generates Revenue For Short Films and Web Series, Have Revenue Generating Premieres”.

BingeWave is a live-streaming platform meant for marginalized content such as film to thrive, prosper, and be monetized. BingeWave also caters to web series, documentaries, book tours, podcasts, and musicians. But at the heart of all of Dixon’s many ventures is a heart for community growth. Dixon’s longing to bring people together is apparent in all his ventures. More recently Dixon has acted as a mentor in the Plug-In South LA Accelerator – Cohort 2 whose mission is to stimulate opportunities for businesses and their owners in Black and Latinx communities. At the heart of them is the drive to empower founders, entrepreneurs, and leaders who are under-represented in their fields.

Categories
Startups The PISLA Beat

The Pill Club is Revolutionizing Women’s Health with $41.9 Million in Funding

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 19 million women living in the United States are in need of publicly funded contraception and live in contraceptive deserts. Of the 19 million, about 1.3 million of these women live in a county without a single health center offering the full range of contraceptive methods- making it even more difficult to gain access to the birth control they need.

To assuage this, The Pill Club was launched in 2016. This online resource offers a prescribing service, medication fulfillment, and free delivery of birth control care packages, according to their website. Today, the company announced that they have raised $41.9 million in Series B funding.

“The idea of creating more choice and flexibility across healthcare is long overdue,” CEO of the Pill Club and former Uber exec, Liz Meyerdirk told TechCrunch.

For our regular curation of must-read tech and innovation articles, the Plug In South LA Beat, we take a look at how The Pill Club plans to use this funding to make women’s healthcare accessible to all:

The Pill Club takes on primary care with $41.9M in fresh funding

Photo Credit: The Pill Club

Categories
Startups The PISLA Beat

Inside Bahiyah Yasmeen Robinson’s Quest to Solve VC’s Diversity Problem

In an entire venture capital industry worth almost $70 trillion, only 1.3% of assets are managed by women and POC, according to the nonprofit Knight Foundation.

To bridge this gap, Bahiyah Yasmeen Robinson created VC Include with the goal of accelerating investment into diverse managers: women, Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and LGBTQ. Her platform demonstrates that inclusion can promote higher return rates.

“Empowering organizations to utilize diversity as a driver for success needs to become a must-have feature for institutional investors,” Robinson told Forbes recently.

In today’s Plug In South LA Beat, we dive into how this innovative CEO is building a diverse VC ecosystem:

Meet the Female Founder and Impact Investor on a Mission to Expand Investment Opportunities for BIPOC and Female Venture Capital Managers