Listen in from your favorite podcast spots or read the full transcript here.


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Matching purpose with profit


Rod Johson is Co-Founder of BLK & Bold, the preeminent black-owned coffee company in America. Black & Bold was founded with the desire to unite coffee and tea lovers worldwide through a common interest of investing in community.

Rod grew up in the working-class city of Gary Indiana and eventually went on to Indiana University and a career in development and giving. But he soon developed a restlessness that only business ownership could fix. Along with lifelong friend Pernell, Rod set out to find their entrepreneurial calling, one that could match purpose with profit. 

And so BLK & Bold was born in 2018. Since then, Rod and Pernell have grown BLK & Bold into a national brand carried by the likes of Target and Whole Foods. They have a rare licensing deal with the NBA and have been celebrated by Dwanye Wade on the Ellen show. All this, completely bootstrapped from their headquarters in Des Moines Iowa.

Rod has a great story. You’ll want to listen in.


If we’re gonna do this, we can’t play it safe. We gotta take some risks.
~ Rod Johnson

In this episode Rod and Dan discussed:

  • Growing up in Gary and the Midwest
  • How a basketball hoop brought Rod and his Co-Founder together
  • Why starting a business built on giving back is so important
  • How the fire department was a part their early product development
  • Tradeoffs when doing a start up with a ‘day job’



take self inventory…all right, what is it that I really want?
~Rod Johnson


“We have that history and therefore it gives us the understanding of knowing this comes from a good place
~Rod Johnson


Listen in from your favorite podcast spots or read the full transcript here.




What an amazing three years!

Since we started in 2019, we’ve had 50 episodes interviewing 50 founders from 48 companies. As of mid-2022, our guests employ close to 500, and have collectively raised over $213M in outside funding. Incredible when you think about the challenges in fundraising that have faced all entrepreneurs, especially founders of color.

They would make a pretty great portfolio!

To celebrate our anniversary, we decided to go back to the beginning, 2019, and catch up with the 5 founders we had on the show that first year:

  • Stella Ashaolu of Wesolv
  • Kwame Boler of Neu (Spritz)
  • Ikechi Nwabusi of TRiBL
  • Bara Cola of Carbice
  • Coack AK Ikwuakor from E-LETE Styles

I wanted to find out what the world of 2022 looked like compared to 2019, from their eyes. Thanks to Stella, Kwame, Bara, Ikechi and Coach AK for catching us up and reflecting on their journeys.

Make sure to listen in.


“When a challenge arises, we’re always the ones arise to the occasion.
~ Kwame Boler

In this episode:

  • We review the last three year and where our past guests are collectively
  • Updates from the 5 guest founders who first came on the show in 2019
  • Insights from our 2019 guests on being a black founder in 2022 vs 2019



“Follow love, not fear, meaning don’t let fear drive your decisions instead.
Let it be love..

~Coach AK


“After the murder, I’m sorry of George Floyd, there was a lot of attention given towards the inequities and the disparities between black folks and others
~Stella Ashaolu