);

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

 

OUR SPONSORS FOR THIS EPISODE:
Trajectory: Startup – Ideation to Product/Market Fit
A brand new book by entrepreneur and investor Dave Parker.

This hot-off-the-presses publication is THE playbook for those at the earliest stages of the startup journey. Or even if you are just contemplating the jump to entrepreneurship.

To get this great resource, go to dkparker.com or find anywhere you buy books.

 

EMpowering coding school

grads for success

 

Stephen Ajayi is the Co-Founder and CEO of YearOne, a company that helps individuals coming out of code schools, land incredible jobs. But getting jobs for Bootcamp grads is not all they do. YearOne also supports new employees through their early careers within technology companies – setting them up for long-term success as well.

Stephen knows the journey of the YearOne community, intimately. He moved away from a pre-med track in college to pursue programming, all from the chance selection of taking an elective course in computer science. He went on to dive headfirst in a coding school and ultimately emerged as a Sales VP for a Silicon Valley startup. So, he’s seen from both sides the challenges and friction in the hiring process. And YearOne is particularly focused on coders coming from less traditional backgrounds. And to him, those backgrounds are a major strength. YearOne has a great journey – through the Portland tech ecosystem, to Techstars, and now with backing from great investors like Zeal Capital Partners and Black Founders Matter.

Stephen and YearOne have a terrific story.

Make sure to listen in.

 

“As a black founder just be yourself, you want people to accept you for who you are.
~ Stephen Ajayi

 

In this episode Stephen and Dan discussed:

  • growing up in an Oregon suburb
  • how a chance elective sent his life on a new path
  • working with his brother as co-founders
  • why a developer’s non-coding background matters

 

 

“My mom would always said, I want you to get a job where they have healthcare and air conditioning.
~ Stephen Ajayi

 

“70% of our candidates so far have been women or people of color
~ Stephen Ajayi

 

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

 

OUR SPONSORS FOR THIS EPISODE:
Trajectory: Startup – Ideation to Product/Market Fit
A brand new book by entrepreneur and investor Dave Parker.

This hot-off-the-presses publication is THE playbook for those at the earliest stages of the startup journey. Or even if you are just contemplating the jump to entrepreneurship.

To get this great resource, go to dkparker.com or find anywhere you buy books.

 

filling Units seamlessly
for property owners

 

Patrick Paul is the Co-Founder of Ikos, a start-up using data and information to allow property owners to execute and manage the vital, day-to-day tasks of investment property ownership. Patrick was raised with a strong Haitian heritage starting in New Jersey and ending up in Southwestern Florida. He grew up an athlete, ended up going to a military academy, then college, and into the world of finance and real estate. Now based in Pittsburgh, Patrick has helped to transform the modern rental experience with Ikos, along the way raising millions and weathering an industry hard hit by the economic crisis from COVID-19.

Make sure to listen to his incredible story.

 

“I’m a founder who happens to be black. That’s just always been my mindset.
~ Patrick Paul

 

In this episode Patrick and Dan discussed:

  • growing up in a Haitian household with 6 older siblings
  • serendipitous customer discovery in a coffee shop
  • the dynamics of a diverse founding team
  • the attraction of the Pittsburgh tech scene

 

 

“I would really say progress over perfection.
~ Patrick Paul

 

“ That summer cutting grass, single handedly made me get my degree. It was too hot out there!
~ Patrick Paul

 

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

 

OUR SPONSORS FOR THIS EPISODE:
Cascadia Cleantech Accelerator
powered by VertueLab and CleanTech Alliance
This 15-week program delivers mentorship, connections, funding opportunities, and more
For early-stage cleantech startups looking to launch and scale their business.
Check out today at cascadiacleantech.org

AfriBlocks
The global pan-African freelance marketplace and collaboration platform.
Tell them “Dan sent you” for 10% off your first order. More at afriblocks.com

 

RETHINKING HOW WE
CONNECT AT GATHERINGS

 

Ashlee Ammons is the Co-Founder of Mixtroz, a company that creates serendipity at live and virtual events using real-time surveying along with their unique algorithm.  Ashlee has an amazing journey – from Ohio to New York, Tennessee, and eventually to Alabama. She’s gone from interning with Lebron James to becoming one of the first few African American Women to raise over $1M in venture funding. She’s also been named as Entrepreneur Magazine’s “100 Powerful Women” of 2019.

To top it all off, Ashlee has known her co-founder literally her whole life (spoiler alert, they’re related!).

Make sure to listen to her incredible story.

 

“So we’ve done everything from, you know, a trade show to a TEDx
~ Ashlee Ammons

 

In this episode Ashlee and Dan discussed:

  • Interning for LeBron James
  • How an awkward networking event gave birth to Mixtroz
  • Working alongside her mom as Co-Founder
  • The journey from Cleveland to NY to Nashville to Birmingham
  • Where to find the best rollercoasters in the world

 

 

“Someone said to her in an open forum, like, Oh, I’ve heard of your little business, but you’re a black female in the South. This won’t happen for you…
~ Ashlee Ammons

 

“If you made it to 2021, you won because 2020 was all about survival.
~ Ashlee Ammons

 

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

OUR SPONSORS FOR THIS EPISODE:


Cascadia Cleantech Accelerator

powered by VertueLab and CleanTech Alliance
This 15-week program delivers mentorship, connections, funding opportunities, and more
For early-stage cleantech startups looking to launch and scale their business.
Applications are open until April 16th. Don’t miss out, apply today at cascadiacleantech.org

AfriBlocks
The global pan-African freelance marketplace and collaboration platform.
Tell them “Dan sent you” for 10% off your first order. More at afriblocks.com

 

 

Special Guest Co-Host:
Veronica Parks from Maveron (@VPinVC)

demystifying credit
one chore at a time

 

Evan Leaphart is the Founder and CEO of Kiddie Kredit, a mobile chore tracking app that teaches kids about credit. The company is out to demystify credit scores with fun, but analogous habits and rewards. They currently focus on young children but their goal ultimately is to serve anyone new to credit.

Evan grew up in the Baltimore area and is one of those founders seemingly born to be just that, a founder. His mom was a flight attendant and he was an only child. So Evan learned at a young age how to be self-sufficient and confident. From lemonade stands and snow removal to cleaning services and auto transport. Evan has been fearlessly taking on venture after venture.

He has called Miami home for over 15 years, so he’s definitely an OG in the newly blossoming Miami tech scene. In addition to Kiddie Kredit, Evan is a Co-founder of the Miami-based Black Men Talk Tech Conference.

Make sure to listen to his compelling story.

 

“…we’re aiming to simplify FICO. So you understand it before you actually need it.
~ Evan Leaphart

 

In this episode Evan, Veronica, and Dan discussed:

  • Growth from having side hustles as a kid
  • Why it took years to start Kiddie Kredit
  • Evan’s three filters to vet investors
  • How credit score has such influence but is so misunderstood
  • Whether Miami really is the next tech hub

 

 

I was really naive when it comes to building a backable business
versus a bankable business
~ Evan Leaphart

 

A year ago, it wasn’t necessarily cool to say you’re a Miami-based business. [Now] That’s the greatest thing you could say.
~ Evan Leaphart

 

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

OUR SPONSORS FOR THIS EPISODE:
The Plug

Delivering clear analysis and powerful insights on what’s shaping the Black innovation economy.
Get your annual subscription to The Plug at tpinsights.com

 

Healthcare inequities Too
Long Ignored

 

Ashlee Wisdom is the Founder and CEO of Health in Her HUE,  a digital platform connecting black women to culturally competent healthcare providers, health content, and community.

We’ve been hoping to get Ashlee on the podcast since last June, when she was part of our black women founders panel, right after George Floyd. Ashlee has Jamaican and Bahamian roots but grew up in New York where she diehard represents her home burrow – the Bronx. Her career AND startup reflect a deep passion and dedication to tackling healthcare inequity. It’s immediately evident in her voice, her writing, and all of her efforts. Ashlee’s work has been recognized by Female Founder Alliance, Vital Voices, and the one-and-only Serena Williams. A true founder to watch!

Make sure to listen to her compelling story.

 

“My first job actually really opened my eyes to the inequities in the healthcare system.
~ Ashlee Wisdom

 

In this episode Ashlee and Dan discussed:

  • Growing up in the Bronx – and still living there!
  • Her personal experiences with healthcare inequity
  • How her view working ‘inside’ healthcare moved her to launch her startup
  • The legacy of courageous and inspirational women in her family
  • How even Serena Williams was not immune to inequity in care

 

Episode Shout Outs:
Eddwina Bright (Co-founder)
Females Founders Alliance
Vital Voices
Dr. Ivor Horn

 

 

“ Within the first two weeks of launching  we had 34,000 people login
~ Ashlee Wisdom

MORE on Ashlee and Health in Her Hue

Ashlee:
linkedin.com/in/ashlee-wisdom-mph-7114a040/
twitter.com/AshleeWisdom
instagram.com/ashleejwisdom/

Health in Her HUE:
healthinherhue.com
twitter.com/HealthInHerHUE
instagram.com/healthinherhue/

 

“…then the problem that I’m trying to solve now really burdened me ”
~ Ashlee Wisdom

 

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

OUR SPONSORS FOR THIS EPISODE:
Multicultural Mainstream: Reimagining Humanity and Technology

A virtual venture conference hosted by the Columbia Venture Community. Access great content and breakout sessions with venture capitalists. March 5-6th 2021
Check out bit.ly/CVCMM for tickets. Don’t miss out!

Why is Blockchain in farming important? We all eat!

 

Genevieve Leveille is the Founder and CEO of AgriLedger, a company that is revolutionizing the agriculture value chain using distributed ledger and blockchain technology.

Born in Haiti, Genevieve came to the US and New York for high school. She was a science major and researcher, and eventually found her way into banking and over to the UK. Genevieve burst onto the blockchain world with force a few years ago. And it all started with a crypto hackathon. She’s been nominated by the Financial Times to the top 100 BAME in UK technology and was a winner of the ComputerWeekly 2020 Women in Software. She is also currently the Vice-chairman of TechUK’s Distributed Ledger Technologies Working Group.

Genevieve is now building a company that is using distributed ledger to RE-distribute value and reallocate margin and wealth across our food supply chain. All with the source — the farmer — at the core.

Make sure to listen to her compelling story.

 

…this is not to me, a technology only. It is a movement.
~ Genevieve Leveille

In this episode Genevieve and Dan discussed:

  • Starting life in Haiti
  • How she’s combined science and finance into a career
  • The lessons of “timing” from 2000 and 2008
  • How distributed blockchain can INCREASE trust
  • What happens to mangoes shipped to the US

 

“ Wealth is not measured by how much money you have in your bank account. It’s how much happiness you have and how much you have made a difference in the world
~ Genevieve Leveille

MORE on GENEVIEVE and AGRILEDGER

Genevieve
linkedin.com/in/genevieveleveille/
twitter.com/GinouInLondon

AgriLedger:
agriledger.io
linkedin.com/company/agriledger/
twitter.com/Agriledger

 

“I do believe that the digitalization of information can lead to greater trust.”
~ Genevieve Leveille

 

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

OUR SPONSORS FOR THIS EPISODE:
Multicultural Mainstream: Reimagining Humanity and Technology

A virtual venture conference hosted by the Columbia Venture Community. Access great content and breakout sessions with venture capitalists. March 5-6th 2021
Check out bit.ly/CVCMM for early-bird tickets. Don’t miss out!

 

An open and inclusive platform revolutionizing radio

 

Ayinde Alakoye is the Founder and CEO of nēdl (as in ‘the haystack’), a company that lets anyone create their own live call-in talk radio station in seconds and make money while they broadcast. nēdl gives everyone a chance to grab the mic, and be live to the world in moments.

Ayinde proudly wears his name, which means “we gave praise and he came.” He grew up in DC in a single-parent household, after losing his father at an early age. From a young age, Ayinde has had a lifelong appreciation for the escape and ‘theater of the mind’ provided by radio. And his entrepreneurial spirit has been evident throughout his journey – from excellence in sales, to television, speech-writing for Obama, and a career spanning 20+ years in the radio media world.

All preparing him for the epiphany that would become nēdl.

The company’s app lets users set up their own radio stations – complete with instant share links, audience call-in support, and a clever feature that allows listens to tip. nēdl is Ayinde’s THIRD startup focused on mobile radio. He’s been ahead of the curve with each endeavor. And given the amazing growth of experiences like Clubhouse and Instagram Live, his timing for this latest effort seems right on the mark.

Ayinde has raised over $1.6 Million in funding from investors including Backstage Capital and Sweet Capital. Make sure to listen to his compelling story.

 

“Radio has always just been a means by which I stayed connected and learned about other cultures.
~ Ayinde Alakoye

In this episode Ayinde and Dan discussed:

  • Growing up in DC
  • How his name is as much an ‘American’ name as anyone else’s
  • That radio mimic mom’s voice in the womb (what!?)
  • nēdl as his THIRD startup in mobile radio
  • Crashing a private party for a shot at pitching a prospect CEO
  • His perspective on the latest Clubhouse hype

 

Episode Shout Outs:

WOTP
Backstage Capital
Sweet Capital

 

“ He loved the idea! Three weeks later, I was on a plane to their headquarters and meeting with their CTO.
~ Ayinde Alakoye

MORE on AYINDE and nēdl

AYINDE:
linkedin.com/in/nedlceo/

nēdl:

nedl.com/about
linkedin.com/company/nedlapp/
twitter.com/nedlapp

 

“…the moral of the story, always listened to your mom.”
~ Ayinde Alakoye

 

 

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 Abbey 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:
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