);

 

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

OUR SPONSORS FOR THIS EPISODE:
Founders Live
,
the global venue for entrepreneurs to experience events, content, and community.
Check out founderslive.com to join and to find a live event streaming from your city.

 

CAN PAYING RENT =
A BETTER CREDIT SCORE?

 

Abbey Wemimo believes emphatically: yes!

Abbey is the Co-founder and Co-CEO of Esusu, a revolutionary fintech platform transforming the connection between data, tenants, and property. Esusu empowers renters around the most important financial identity: the credit score. 

Abbey was born in Nigeria, and as he puts it, “raised in the slums” of Lagos. His mother sacrificed over half her salary to make sure Abbey was able to reach beyond and attend the best schools. He studied alongside the children of the country’s elites, taking him to the US, with stops and degrees from the University of Minnesota and NYU. His early career covered politics, finance, and international development. And his first entrepreneurial endeavor led him to provide clean water for over a quarter of a million people in developing regions.

Abbey and his co-founder Samir started Esusu with a major innovation at its core: using rent payments to enhance credit score. By tracking and using data, Esusu can transform the credit prospects for the 70 million Americans who have little or no credit history. Meanwhile, Esusu provides property managers with insights, analytics, and tenants who are motivated towards timely payments.

The company is now in half a million rental units, across 40 US states. Abbey and Samir have raised over $4 Million in funding from investors like Impact America Fund, Zeal Capital, and Global Good Fund.

Esusu is a word with origins in Nigeria. It essentially means a form of societal cooperation where groups of individuals together contribute for their mutual benefit. But if ask Abbey he will tell you a much simpler version:

“If you want to go fast, you go alone. But if you want to go far, you fundamentally go together”

Make sure to listen in to his wonderful story.

 

“We are now at half a million rental units in 40 States in the country.
~ Abbey Wemimo

In this episode Bee and Dan discussed:

  • Growing up in the slums of Lagos Nigeria
  • Key philosophies: fall forward + you are enough
  • The transition from balmy Nigeria to frigid Minnesota
  • his first startup which gave access to water for quarter-million people
  • Pitching 300+ investors

 

Episode Shout Outs:

Samir Goel (Co-founder)
Beth Noveck
Acumen
Global Good Fund
Sinai Ventures
Zeal Capital Partners
Impact America Fund

 

“ I walk into every situation knowing I can see the other side and be successful.
~ Abbey Wemimo

MORE on ABBEY AND ESUSU

ABBEY:

linkedin.com/in/wemimo-abbey-62382a2a/

ESUSU:

esusurent.com
esusurentrelief.com
linkedin.com/company/esusu/
twitter.com/getesusu

 

“Relationships matter. Invest in them.”
~ Abbey Wemimo

 

 

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

OUR SPONSORS FOR THIS EPISODE:
Black Women Talk Tech, a collective of black women tech founders that exists to identify, support, and encourage black women to build billion-dollar businesses. BWTT is hosting the Face of a Founder Summit on November 17th, bringing together entrepreneurs, investors, and partners for an exciting gathering. Registration is free, but spots are limited.

You don’t want to miss it! Sign up here!

 

A Marketplace to find and

license the perfect song

 

Kirt Debique is the Co-Founder and CEO of SyncFloor, a company revolutionizing discovery and acquisition of music for productions of all types – from advertising to podcasting, filmmaking to fitness, TV to eSports.

Kirt is an entrepreneur and a renaissance man. A native of Trinidad, Kirt started college at sixteen. He passed on grad school at Stanford to work at Microsoft. His career there paralleled some of that company’s major milestones, But after a successful 20-year stint at the tech giant, Kirt decided to take his career in a different direction. He founded Brick Lane Records, an Indie music label. He started Brick Lane with a set of principles that made the artist the priority – a key opportunity he recognized hanging out in the local Seattle music scene. Oh, and by the way, Kirt is also an artist on his label.

Today Kirt leads his own tech startup, SyncFloor, which is an amazing fusion of his expertise: music and technology. Listen in to hear more about Kirt startup journey.

 

“If I’m going to go do something, I go super deep on it so that I have a lot of empathy for the people involved.
~ Kirt Debique

In this episode Kirt and Dan discussed:

  • Growing up in Trinidad
  • Coming to the US to study computer science in college at 16
  • What gives him empathy for the indie music creator
  • His spin on creating a music label
  • How music fits in the creator economy
  • His approach to the chicken-and-egg of building a marketplace

 

Episode Shout Outs:

Kirby Winfield – Ascend VC
Brick Lane Records
Steven Wolfe Pereira

5-star reviewer: Jessica, sySTEMic flow

 

“I never told Stanford I wasn’t coming. So there’s somebody, waiting for their TA to show up still!
~ Kirt Debique

MORE on KIRT AND SYNCFLOOR

KIRT:

linkedin.com/in/kirtdebique/
twitter.com/katewayo
twitter.com/BrickLaneRecs
instagram.com/katewayo/

 

SYNCFLOOR:

 

songsforpodcasters.com
syncfloor.com
linkedin.com/company/syncfloor/
twitter.com/SyncFloor
instagram.com/syncfloor/

 

“We’ll start an independent music label.”
~ Kirt Debique

 

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

OUR SPONSORS FOR THIS EPISODE:
Founders Live
,
the global venue for entrepreneurs to experience events, content, and community.
Check out founderslive.com to join and to find a live event streaming from your city.

 

BUILDING THE SOCIAL
PLATFORM FOR FANDOM

 

Bee Law is the founder and CEO of Quirktastic (soon to be QuirkChat), a networking platform where geeks and hobbyists can join fandom communities and create collaborative social video. If you are into Manga, Marvel Universe, or Cosplay – they have a place for you.

It’s no wonder Bee created Quirktastic (from quirky + fantastic). She grew up in North Carolina as the only young black woman she knew who liked Anime and metal rock. Bee felt the sting of bullying and the struggle for acceptance. As an adult, she tapped into her uniqueness, and once online she realized there were large communities who wanted to connect and share the joy of their fandom. This epiphany led her to start Quirktastic – a community now 200,000+ strong. Bee and her company have been featured in TechCrunch, Essence, and Forbes. And she’s been backed by Digital Undivided, SoGal Ventures, and Snap Inc’s prestigious accelerator Yellow.

Come hear Bee’s journey, which goes from Anime enthusiast and non-profit pioneer in high school, to cytogenetic scientist and aspiring doctor, and now to fast-moving tech founder. Her energy and positivity are simply inspiring.

Listen in!

 

“Literally the day after I quit, I found out that next day that I actually got accepted into the incubator.
~ Bee Law

In this episode Bee and Dan discussed:

  • Being the only young black girl who liked Japanese Anime
  • What derailed her journey to be a doctor
  • How blogging uncovered a community and a business
  • Quirktastic’s reset from COVID-19
  • Working with HBO’s Lovecraft Country

 

Episode Shout Outs:

Digital Undivided
Snap’s Yellow Accelerator
UNC Charlotte

5-star reviewer:
Jean-Que, Artiste Pro

 

“…they opened the app about seven times a day…and they spend
about 78 minutes.

~ Bee Law

MORE on BEE AND QUIRKTASTIC

BEE:

twitter.com/bossassbee_
instagram.com/bossassbee
linkedin.com/in/bryanda-law

 

QUIRKTASTIC:

quirktastic.co
wefunder.com/quirktastic
twitter.com/QuirkChat
instagram.com/quirkchat

 

“We just want to talk geek with other people.”
~ Bee Law

 

 

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

OUR SPONSORS FOR THIS EPISODE:
The Plug
,
a media company that lives at the intersection of data and diversity for the startup and tech communities. Check it out tpinsights.com; Use code UNFOUND to save $10 on an annual subscription.

TRAINING TEAMS IN SECONDS

Tim Salau has that crazy positive energy. It comes through like a smile over the microphone. Tim is one of those folks…after a conversation with him, you just feel ready to go.

Tim’s mission is to aim his passion for design at building things that serve others. So it’s easy to see why he wears so many hats. He is a dynamic speaker, tech influencer, innovator, and content producer. And he’s known as Mr. Future of Work for his visionary perspective on the subject. He’s even got his own tea brand coming out!

On top of all that, Tim is co-founder, and CEO of Guide, a platform for bite-sized learning and talent development for Enterprise remote teams. Guide allows companies to put training and corporate learning directly and easily into the hands of the creators and the learners. How it began, and how it evolved is quite a tale.

Make sure to listen in.

 

“you don’t live where the world is, you live where the world is going.
~ Tim Salau

In this episode Tim and Dan discussed:

  • His journey from Nigeria to Houston
  • Tim’s passion for design and serving others
  • How he handled losing a co-founder
  • Guide’s ‘all-in’ pivot during COVID-19
  • Tim’s vision for where Guide can go

 

Episode Shout Outs:
Taban Cosmos
Backstage Capital

 

“[our] Facebook community has grown [to] over 300,000 people strong worldwide.
~ Tim Salau

 

MORE on TIM AND GUIDE

TIM:
@timsalau [TW], [IG]
https://www.linkedin.com/in/timsalau/
https://www.timsalau.com/

GUIDE:
guideapp.co
@GuideHQ_ [TW]
https://www.linkedin.com/company/mentorsmentees/

 

“The WHAT can look different but the WHY can never change.”
~ Tim Salau

 

 

 

 

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

OUR SPONSORS FOR THIS EPISODE:
VertueLab
,
a nonprofit fighting climate change by providing funding and holistic entrepreneurial support to cleantech startups.

This September their annual summit, Fuel 2020, is going digital. At Fuel 2020 you’ll connect with future-focused entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, and more.
Founders Unfound listeners: Use code FOUNDERSFRIEND for 20% off your ticket.
Learn more at 2020fuel.org

The Plug  Check it out tpinsights.com; Use code UNFOUND to save $10 on annual subscription.

 

Tackling Transit Deserts in
New York…AND around the world

Growing up, Su Sanni thought he was going to be a doctor. Once out of college, it was music entrepreneur. Then the world of sales came calling. Su believes all these experiences and aspirations led him to where he ended up…a tech startup founder. His first company: folded. The second, WeDidIt: acquired. So now he’s back at it for a 3rd time, with his biggest vision yet.

Su (short for Sulaiman) Sanni is Co-founder and CEO of Dollaride, a mobility company for communities that are under-served by public transit. Su points out that there are over 100 Billion trips globally every year facilitated by informal transit systems. These informal alternatives arose to fill the ‘transit deserts’ left under-supported by formal, public transportation options.

Yet, within the informal transit ecosystem, there aren’t tools to efficiently match rider demand with the supply of drivers and vehicles. Dollaride wants to change that with their new app. They are starting in Su’s backyard – the boroughs of New York City. And they are working with the well-known dollar vans who canvas the areas ‘between’ the subway stops. Guess where the company got its name?

Su is our second founder in a row who is crushing his fund-raise using crowdfunding!

Listen in to hear his story.

 

“I realized that there was a solution to this transit desert issue
~ Su Sanni

In this episode Su and Dan discussed:

  • His baby son (who joined us in the background)
  • Going from Brooklyn to the CA coast for high school
  • Having dollar van entrepreneurs in his family
  • Agency v. serendipity (aka making it happen vs. luck)
  • What he learned from startups #1 and #2
  • Why he chose crowdfunding

 

Episode Shout Outs:

Cate School
Boy’s Club of New York
43North
WeDidIt
Republic

 

over 100 billion trips are taken annually through informal transit systems.
~ Su Sanni

 

MORE on SU AND DOLLARIDE

SU:

@TheSuSanni [TW]
https://www.linkedin.com/in/sulaimansanni/
Startup Grind Fireside Chat

DOLLARIDE:

@Dollaride [TW]
@Dollaride [IG]
https://www.linkedin.com/company/dollaride/
https://republic.co/dollaride

 

“…and then that’s when the acquisition offers started to come in.”
~ Su Sanni

 

 

 

 

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

OUR SPONSORS FOR THIS EPISODE:
VertueLab
,
a nonprofit fighting climate change by providing funding and holistic entrepreneurial support to cleantech startups.

This September their annual summit, Fuel 2020, is going digital. At Fuel 2020 you’ll connect with future-focused entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, and more.
Founders Unfound listeners: Use code FOUNDERSFRIEND for 20% off your ticket.
Learn more at 2020fuel.org

BLCK VCConnect up at  blackvc.com or follow @BLCKVC

 

Finally…a platform that makes

video easy for influencers

 

Tiffany Kelly loves sports. And she’s a rock star data scientist. She combined these into a dream job with ESPN. She got to dig deep into the sports analytics and data that preoccupy teams, fans, and fantasy devotees alike. She even invented a new stat! It was while at ESPN, however, that Tiffany saw firsthand how brand and media power were shifting with digital and social.  Athletes were emerging as personalities with their own platforms and fan followings. But she saw a hole…video. It’s still too darn hard!! So she quit her job and launched her startup.

 Tiffany is the founder and CEO of Curastory, a company that makes it easy to get started in video. They allow creators to upload, edit, find a sponsor, and distribute video with one click to their social channels, all 100% free. Curastory is launching with a target market where they have recent national approval and first-mover advantage – professional and NCAA student-athletes.

And Tiffany is fresh off raising her six-figure preseed fundraise using crowdfunding!

Listen in to hear the story.

 

“I feel like my entire life has been people betting against me
~ Tiffany Kelly

 

In this episode Tiffany and Dan discussed:

  • Her passion and connection to sports and data
  • Being one of only five to present to thousands at an MIT hackathon
  • Her journey through working at ESPN
  • How an NCAA new rule changed everything for her startup
  • Getting fuel from being underestimated

 

Episode Shout Outs:
Wefunder
Indie Hackers
MVP Institute [Travis Brodeen]
Y Combinator Startup School

 

…our crowdfunding raise has gone very, very well.
~ Tiffany Kelly

 

MORE on TIFFANY AND CURASTORY

TIFFANY:

@tiffmkell [TW]
@tiffmkell [IG]
https://www.linkedin.com/in/tiffmkell/

CURASTORY:

@CurastoryUS [TW]
@Curastory [IG]
https://www.linkedin.com/company/curastory/
https://wefunder.com/fundcurastory

 

“And so rarely anyone that I came across, looked like me.”
~ Tiffany Kelly

 

 

 

 

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

OUR SPONSOR FOR THIS EPISODE:  BLCK VC, a focused community built for and by black investors
Founders Unfound listeners: If you ever thought about getting into Venture, you definitely want to connect up at  blackvc.com  or follow @BLCKVC for more about their exceptional programs and events.

STORYTELLING TO IMPROVE PATIENT
HEALTH and experience

 

Kistein Monkhouse is the founder and CEO of Patient Orator, a platform that uses a mobile app and storytelling to improve patient experience and population health. As a child, Kistein was inspired by Oprah Winfrey – not to be in entertainment but to make an impact in the world. It took a long grind to help her see exactly how she could and would. Kistein spent her days pursuing her education and her nights working at various roles in healthcare. Her studies showed her just how powerful policies could be on outcomes. Her jobs – from in-home health aid to the emergency room – revealed the reality of care disparities. She decided to dedicate herself to attacking healthcare inequities and fighting for those who are underserved, ignored and disregarded. It’s from this spirit and commitment to ‘humanize healthcare” that her company Patient Orator was born.

 Listen in to hear the story.

 

“…everything that I touch will be about humanizing healthcare.
~ Kistein Monkhouse

In this episode Kistein and Dan discussed:

  • Her childhood dream to change the world
  • How she became a New Yorker
  • Her inspiration from Oprah
  • Coming to terms with when and if to raise funds
  • Her personal experience with the fallibility of US healthcare

 

“Now we’re in an era where everyone is aware suddenly that healthcare disparities exist.
~ Kistein Monkhouse

 

MORE on KISTEIN AND PATIENT ORATOR

KISTEIN:
@KisteinM
linkedin.com/in/kisteinmonk45/
Documentary: vimeo.com/ondemand/humanizinghealthcare

PATIENT ORATOR:
patientorator.com
@PatientOrator
linkedin.com/company/patientorator/

 

“the actual fact is…it takes a doctor 11 seconds to interrupt the patient.”
~ Kistein Monkhouse

 

 

 

 

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

OUR SPONSOR FOR THIS EPISODE:  BLCK VC, a focused community built for and by black investors
Founders Unfound listeners: If you ever thought about getting into Venture, you definitely want to connect up at  blackvc.com  or follow @BLCKVC for more about their exceptional programs and events.

 

Sustainability meets

workforce development

 

It’s rare when a startup can impact one market challenge successfully. And even rarer…two at once. Well, that’s just exactly what Kameale Terry and ChargerHelp! are doing. Kameale’s company is tackling a major pain point in electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure – repair and maintenance. At the same time, she’s committed to workforce development and economic mobility. ChargerHelp! is creating an entirely new career role – part technician, part electrician, part IT support. And she wants to prioritize training those from her own community. 

Kameale has the energy, passion, and drive you just want to get behind. The company story is compelling and she’s pretty good at pitching it. So much so that she’s earned hundreds of thousands in grants and pitch competition wins. Now that’s a way to fund a startup! The journey that landed Kameale as a startup CEO is unique and fascinating.

 Listen in to hear the story.

 

“…I am a native to Southcentral Los Angeles.
~ Kameale Terry

In this episode Kameale and Dan discussed:

  • Her persistent desire to make an impact
  • How the need to return home made her career flourish
  • How in 2 years at another startup, she went from customer service rep to leader
  • Why she keeps ending up surrounded by smart black women
  • What attracted her to sustainability and EV

 

Episode Shout Outs:

Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI)
Grid110 South LA
Startup Grind LA
EV Connect

 

“Oh, I want to find the best people for these positions. And it just all just so happened to be black women.
~ Kameale Terry

 

MORE on Kameale AND chargerhelp!

KAMEALE:
@KamealeC
linkedin.com/in/kamealecterry

CHARGERHELP!:
chargerhelp.com
@ChargerHelp
linkedin.com/company/chargerhelp

 

“And that has been The most life-giving experience I’ve literally ever had.”
~ Kameale Terry

 

 

 

  

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

OUR SPONSOR FOR THIS EPISODE:   Valence, a new community built for black professionals
Founders Unfound listeners: get free membership and priority access here
Sign up for the Valence BOOST Challenge

 

Leveraging CRYPTOCURRENCY TO

SPEED UP CROSS-BORDER PAYMENTS

 

Wole Ayodele is an entrepreneur on a roll. Wole is classically trained as an engineer but began his career in marketing. It’s a chance to shift into banking, however, that helped Wole find his passion for finance. He is on his SECOND fintech startup with Fliqpay, a company that uses cryptocurrency infrastructure to help businesses send and receive payments globally. The Fliqpay platform cuts transaction time from days to minutes which is significant when their clients are waiting for payments to settle. With Fliqpay, literally time is money!

Listen in to hear the story.

 

“…it took me about 15 minutes to make a decision 
~ Wole Ayodele

In this episode Wole and Dan discussed:

  • Startup life in Nigeria during a pandemic lockdown
  • How cryptocurrency is more than a speculation tool
  • Wole’s career arc through engineering, marketing, and banking
  • a quick tutorial on cross-border payments and the macroeconomic impact
  • Raising money globally in a COVID-19 world

 

Episode Shout Outs:

Techstars Bangalore

 

“Over the next one month, we had over 800 businesses that joined the wait list
~ Wole Ayodele

 

MORE on WOLE AND FLIQPAY

WOLE:
twitter.com/AyowoleOA
linkedin.com/in/woleayodele/
Fliqpay Pitch on Techstars Demo Day

FLIQPAY:
fliqpay.com/
twitter.com/fliqpay
linkedin.com/company/fliqpay/

 

“I told my friends…I want to do something different.”
~ Wole Ayodele

 

 

 

 

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

OUR SPONSOR FOR THIS EPISODE:   Valence, a new community built for black professionals
Founders Unfound listeners: get free membership and priority access here
Sign up for the Valence BOOST Challenge

REAL TALK ON THE 
POWERFUL EVENTS OF JUNE 2020

 

In this special episode, Dan brings together former podcast guests from across the US and Canada. These founders process in real-time how they feel — as black men and as entrepreneurs — in the wake of the senseless killing of George Floyd and the subsequent protests sparked all around the country. These savvy entrepreneurs and leaders dive into what they think we and others can be doing to address police brutality, racial inequality, and the outcry for justice and social change.

Kahlil Ashanti, Bara Cola, AK Ikwuakor, and Claudius Mbemba…keep it real, as the conversation covers everything from exasperation to optimism, and everything in between.

 

…just as much of an anomaly for her to hear that I’ve been pulled over 60 times, it was crazy for me to hear that she’s never had interaction with police 
~ AK Ikwuakor

In this episode the round table discussed:

  • How it feels to be a black man in America right now (June 2020)
  • What it’s like to be a black entrepreneur in the midst of two American crises
  • What steps are they taking, in light of the protests, George Floyd, and their own mental health
  • Recommendations for others, including allies

 

“It’s been an exhausting last couple days. As a black man, it’s kind of numbing to have to experience this over and over again… 
~ Claudius Mbemba

Reader Resources:

 

“…it’s true that this has been happening, but the difference is it’s being filmed.
~ Bara Cola

 

“I’ve always hoped they could  be alive to see that change because of everything they went through.”
~ Kahlil Ashanti