Profile 21 : GoodR


Goodr is a sustainable surplus food management platform that leverages technology to reduce food waste and combat hunger. The company views hunger as a logistics issue and not a scarcity challenge. 

“Powered by blockchain technology, Goodr provides a secure ledger that tracks an organization’s surplus food waste from pickup to donation, delivering the competitive advantage of real-time social impact reporting analytics. Goodr is the only food waste management company that is in compliance with the IRS through a blockchain-enabled platform and mobile app that empowers organizations to unlock significant tax deductions by donating surplus food that ends up in landfills, ultimately contributing to the environmental crisis.”

Founder Story Nugget

“What I remember most about that day, was this bright light, shining in my eyes, from this empty refrigerator. This is the day that hunger became deeply personal to me. I was shocked that one of my friends – someone who had defied all the odds – was the face of hunger. Savannah was college-educated, well-traveled, had led a successful career, and married the love of her life. She simply fell on hard times.”

~ Hunger is not a question of scarcity. | Jasmine Crowe | TEDxPeachtree017



Profile 20 : squire


Squire’s mission is to ease the hassles of getting in and out of your favorite barber’s chair, paying for their services, and exploring the best shops in your city. 

Squire has a booking and payment platform that connects people with great barbers nationwide. Squire is also the premier management platform for barbershops. Using Squire, barbers are able to better engage their customers, process bookings and payments and better market their business through Squire’s “barbershop discovery” capabilities.  With headquarters in New York and a presence in major cities in the United States Squire, has quickly become a market leader in technology solutions for the barbershop industry nationwide. The company recently raised an $8 million Series A round led by Trinity Ventures. 

Founder Story Nugget

“Songe LeRon and Dave Savant have been going to barbershops since childhood. In 2013, the friends recognized something about the beloved experience: it hadn’t changed in years. Though the service provided while in the chair is exceptional, barbershops have notoriously long and unpredictable wait times, they typically work as cash-based businesses, and they tend to lag behind today’s high-end salons in terms of technology.

“Men get haircuts every few weeks, and no one was addressing this space,” LeRon says. “We realized that if customers are going to get a haircut anyway, then we could find a way to make it a better experience.” “

~Diversity in Action, November/December 2017



Profile 19 : POPCOM


PopCom is an automated retail technology company providing software solutions for kiosks and vending machines to collect customer data. The company equips entrepreneurs and brands with future-ready retail solutions that allow rapid retail expansion, incredible customer experiences, and powerful sales data.

Founder Story Nugget

“Like many companies, PopCom is a company that was born out of necessity. Our founder and CEO, Dawn Dickson, created the company after her own struggles to find vending machines that could sell her roll-up flat products (flatoutofheels.com) at high-traffic areas like airports. Also absent was the data she relied on to track and monitor traffic and conversion rates through her website and shopping cart; analytics, email collection, retargeting, remarketing–arguably the tenants of successful sales growth–were not possible with traditional “dumb” vending machines. Dawn then assembled a team that came together to change automated retail forever: PopCom was born.”

~PopCom website



Tanya Van Court, Founder + CEO


  • Tanya Van Court, Founder + CEO
  • goalsetter.co, @goalsetterco
  • Founded 2015
  • Backstage Capital, Financial Solutions Lab, Pipeline Angels

Profile 18 : Goalsetter


Goalsetter is a goal-based savings and gifting platform, made just for kids and powered by those who love them.

Goalsetter was created to make the next generation of kids financially healthy and all-around happy. Parents and kids work together to create a savings account, set a goal, and save for it. And, research shows that kids who are early savers will be lifetime savers. 

Friends, aunts, uncles, and loved ones can help kids reach their goals by gifting GoalCards. Saving money is not only important — with Goalsetter, it’s also intended to be fun.

Goalsetter has been recognized as an awesome way to teach kids the power of saving.


Founder Story Nugget

Goalstarter’s Founder, Tanya Van Court’s daughter Gabrielle told her mom that she only wanted two things for her 9th birthday: a bike and enough money to start an investment account.

Tanya went from being an Executive at Nickelodeon to helping kids and families learn how to save money. Because, more than anything, she wants every kid to have a shot at a great life. 

~from the Goalsetter website


  •  Helen Adeosun + Madhuri Reddy 
  • careacademy.com, @careacademyco
  • Founded 2013
  • Backstage Capital, TechStars, Right Side Capital Management, Rethink Education, LuminaFoundation, Pipeline Angels

Profile 17 : CareAcademy


CareAcademy develops evidence-based online classes to help both professional and family caregivers provide excellent care at home so older adults can live independently.

CareAcademy provides home care agencies with a best-in-class online education platform that delivers engaging video-based classes and real-world scenarios that walk through aspects of the caregiver experience. 

Approved classes are based on state mandates, client needs, and your caregiver’s learning path.

Founder Story Nugget

“When Madhuri and I created CareAcademy, we saw that there was a lot missing in caregiver education. At CareAcademy, we sought to fill the void with fresh, relevant classes to engage learners, a dynamic platform that personalizes learning, and the extra set of hands home care agencies need to increase productivity.

So, we started CareAcademy in 2016 with a simple idea: to empower caregivers to learn how to deliver the best care to older adults with the support, guidance, and compassion needed to improve their quality of life.

We would then make it easy for caregivers to “upskill” and continue their education over time so they could better serve clients as needs changed and advance their careers.

The result is a better caregiver, a better home care agency and a better way to care.”

~CareAcademy website

CEO Brandon + COO Bradley Deyo, Co-founders


Profile 16 : Mars Reel


Mars Reel Media is a Mobile Sports Network that produces highlights, profiles and other content covering the high-school basketball world.

Mars Reel is designed for 13- to 24-year-old viewers and features, short highlight videos with cool music delivered to their mobile devices. Mars Reel reaches 25 million millennials every month.

Mars Reel also offers an Academy that lets young athletes workout with the best trainers in their region–with the opportunity to get discovered by Mars Reel scouts, trainers, staff, and videographers.

Founder Story Nugget

Brandon and Bradley Deyo founded Mars Reel in 2010, when they were themselves high-school basketball players living in Maryland.

“Bradley Deyo, co-founder and COO of Mars Reel Media, said the partnership with USA Today Sports has helped it significantly expand its reach to attract a whole new base of high-school basketball fans. “As we continue to expand our distribution network, we are particularly excited to be working with the team at USA Today Sports to produce unique, story-driven content,” he said.”


Dr. Carol Epsy-Wilson, Founder + CTO OmniSpeech


  • Dr. Carol Epsy-Wilson, Founder + CTO
  • omnispeech.com, @omnispeech
  • Founded 2009
  • Backstage Capital, Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship

Profile 15 : OmniSpeech


OmniSpeech is an innovative software technology company that aims to revolutionize the enhancement of voice communication in speech-enabled applications and in digital mobile devices.

OmniSpeech’s groundbreaking speech extraction technology, OmniClear, provides highest quality background noise reduction and speech enhancement, delivering superior voice quality and intelligibility in a software-only solution.

Founder Story Nugget

Founded by world-renowned electrical engineer, Dr. Carol Espy-Wilson, and based on decades of research into the physiology of human speech, OmniSpeech takes a novel approach to the challenge of ensuring clear speech in noisy environments.

“I became interested in noise problems while attending a workshop at NSF. People from various companies discussed issues with deploying speech technology over VOIP and dealing with everyday noise. Because of my training at MIT where we focused on understanding what’s unique about speech and understanding how it is produced. I could use my knowledge to deal with removing noise to help improve voice communications.”


Kellee James, Founder + CEO


Profile 14 : Mercaris


Mercaris is a market data service and trading platform for organic, non-GMO and other identity-preserved agricultural commodities.

Mercaris was formed to address this gap through two types of services. First, they provide up-to-date, accurate information on market conditions for organic and non-GMO commodities. Second, their trading platform allows buyers and sellers to meet online and trade physical commodities.

Founder Story Nugget

Prior to Mercaris, Kellee spent five years at the start-up company Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), the first electronic trading platform and registry for spot, futures and options on carbon, sulfur, clean energy and other environmental derivatives. In 2009 she was appointed by President Barack Obama as a White House Fellow and was Crain’s Chicago Business Magazine ’40 under 40’ rising leader. 

Kim and Tim Lewis, Co-founders


Profile 13 : Curlmix


CurlMix is a clean beauty brand for all types of curly hair. Their innovative take on clean beauty hair products has won them praise from top industry publications such as Refinery29, Essence Magazine, Ebony Magazine, and ABC TV.

Founder Story Nugget

After quitting her first job fresh out of college (2013), Kim threw herself into the beauty space. With a growing love of her new natural hair and a love for educating other women, her mission to empower other curly women began. Knowing they’d need some capital to start their first business, Kim had the bright idea to sign Tim up for Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. He went on to win $100,000 and invest in their first business. Crazy right?!

Their journey into entrepreneurship was born. After their first failed startup of a niche social network, she and her husband Tim launched CurlMix (2015), which started as a Do-It-Yourself box for curly hair. 

After two years of stagnation, Kim sought advisors and pivoted CurlMix with a newborn on her hip. They turned their best-selling boxes into a hair care line (Jan 2018).


Civic Eagle co-founders (from l to r) Damola Ogundipe, Yemi Adewunmi, Shawntera Hardy, and Ken Thompson.


  • Damola Ogundipe, Yemi Adewunmi, Shawntera Hard, Ken Thompson
  • CivicEagle.com, @Civic_Eagle
  • Founded 2015
  • Backstage Capital, Right Side Capital Management, Techstars, Higher Ground Labs

Profile 12 : Civic Eagle


Civic Eagle provides workflow solutions for public policy professionals to get the most out of legislative intelligence.

Civic Eagle’s SaaS platform leverages artificial intelligence to help organizations reduce the time and costs to identify, track, and analyze legislation and regulations from across the country.

Enview does the discovery work, so your team can focus on winning your policy campaigns. 

Founder Story Nugget

With home bases in Atlanta, Minneapolis, and Washington, D.C., Civic Eaglelaunched three years ago under the rallying cry, “Everyone deserves an educated point of view on democracy.” Its mobile-first platform beckoned users to engage in video conversations about topics of the day, while keeping fact-based dialogue and civility front and center.

“We recognized that a lot of advocacy groups — from national organizations like the NAACP to those in individual states — had a tough time understanding and keeping track of legislation, and we wanted to help [them] to advocate for legislation that’s good for society,” Ogundipe explained.