);

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

OUR SPONSORS FOR THIS EPISODE:
Aperture Venture Capital
VC for the Multicultural MainstreamTM
Aperture is the new $75M fund that wants to amplify the voices of diverse founders
Share your story at aperturevc.com/founders

want to run like the champion
distance runners from Kenya?

 

Navalayo Osembo is Co-Founder and CEO of Enda, a company that is building on Kenya’s reputation as the global leader in distance running. With “Run Kenyan” as its motto, Enda makes running shoes in Kenya, for runners around the world.

Navalayo is the first guest we’ve had on from the place of my ancestral heritage – Kenya. She grew up with a military father and a teacher mother, which meant strong themes of discipline and excellence. Combined with her gifts of curiosity, intelligence, and grit, she set out to master accounting, law, and global development. But it was her return to Kenya from the US and UK, that helped her find the calling where she could make her impact. “Run Kenyan.” And so Enda was born.

Navalayo has a great story, you’ll want to listen in.

 

“I looked around…where are the Africans?
~ Navalayo Osembo

In this episode Navalayo and Dan discussed:

  • growing up in Kenya
  • convincing her dad to start farming fish
  • here experience working with the UN
  • How the Williams sisters inspired her to start a Kenya tennis academy
  • the power of “Run Kenyan”

 

 

“ You couldn’t convince me it was not possible…
~ Navalayo Osembo

 

“ In life, we don’t need to win the race. You just need to be in the race.
~ Navalayo Osembo

 

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.

Do Good while you shop DAILY

Jarrett Wright is the Founder and CEO of Higher Rewards, a company that offers nonprofits and faith-based organizations the ability to provide their members a self-branded credit card where a percentage of every purchase goes back to the organization.

Jarrett is from several generations deep in the San Francisco Bay Area. Jarrett showed drive and ability from an early age. Reading by 2 years old. Doing the family’s grocery shopping at 6. But the pace and structure of school frustrated him. So instead of putting his intellectual horsepower to work in college right away, he started a property development company at 19. And within a few years, he was nationally recognized and bringing in millions in revenue.

And that’s just the start of his story. The rest is amazing. you’ll want to listen in.

 

“Currently we have almost 700,000 people on our waiting list.
~ Jarrett Wright

In this episode Jarrett and Dan discussed:

  • growing up in Richmond California
  • the powerful influence of his family and his heritage
  • rapidly building a business that was decidedly not recession-proof
  • going to college with folks 10+ years your junior
  • the ‘aha’ moment for Higher Rewards during a conversation with a financial exec
  • the advantages within the UC Berkeley startup ecosystem

 

 

I’m building something truly incredible.
~ Jarrett Wright

 

And I convinced her to. Let me use her a home equity line of credit on her house to flip a home in Stockton. And I did, I was 19. It was my first flip and I was off to the races.
~ Jarrett Wright

 

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

OUR SPONSORS FOR THIS EPISODE:
Aperture Venture Capital
VC for the Multicultural MainstreamTM
Aperture is the new $75M fund that wants to amplify the voices of diverse founders
Share your story at aperturevc.com/founders

IS IT FINALLY TIME FOR VR?
Raxplay thinks so

 

Isaac Lymon is Co-Founder and CEO of Raxplay, a company that enables music artists to perform live real/time concerts via virtual reality. Raxplay puts fans in the front row, VIP, and backstage – all in the comfort of their homes.

Isaac was born and raised in Detroit. At an early stage, he felt called to music. But after a taste of the grind artists endure, Isaac gravitated to what made the music happen behind the scenes. It was then that he really came to appreciate the power that technology could have on the industry. And like many famous tech entrepreneurs before him, he made the tough call to pursue his startup dream instead of focusing on college. A hustled-for internship, a hack-a-thon, and a call from Google Startups followed, changing everything. And so Raxplay was off and running.

Isaac has a great story, you’ll want to listen in.

 

Stay humble, stay hungry, stay focused…
~ Isaac Lymon

In this episode Isaac and Dan discussed:

  • growing up in a Detroit suburb
  • how he relentlessly pursued an internship in music
  • perspectives on raising money in the LA ecosystem
  • his thoughts on the future of VR

 

 

“ I got into that accelerator, that’s actually when I met my co-founder…
and instantly we just clicked

~ Isaac Lymon

 

“I’m really big on the whole idea of  increasing artists’ earning power.
~ Isaac Lymon

 

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

Putting analytics into the hands of small business owners

 

Patrice Darby Neely, Founder, and CEO of GoLogic, a data aggregation and economic development platform helping small businesses accelerate growth and reduce failure, while increasing the capacity and capabilities of the organizations that support them.

Patrice spent many years in childcare before starting her first startup, GoNanny, to address the fragmentation of care occurring with the busy schedules of families on the go. Timing wasn’t on her side, unfortunately, as her company fell victim to the whipsaw of the US economy that came with COVID-19. With GoNanny, Patrice had a front-row seat during the height of the pandemic and she saw how vulnerable small businesses are and how inefficient the ecosystem can be in connecting them with timely and impactful resources. And so GoLogic was born. Patrice is an alum of 1871 in Chicago, TechStars, and has been funded by the likes of Pipeline Angels and Google for Startups Black Founder Fund.

Patrice has a great story. Be sure to listen in.

 

“We had a waiting list of 5,000 families, and then it grew to 10,000.
~ Patrice Darby Neely

In this episode Patrice and Dan discussed:

  • growing up with two-parent entrepreneurs
  • what drew her originally into the childcare industry
  • the devastating impact of COVID on her first company
  • how GoLogic rose from the ashes of 2020
  • the beauty and power of data, even for the small business

 

 

“What I experienced that day. I will never forget for my entire lifetime.
~ Patrice Darby Neely

 

“…it’s not what you now, but it’s everything you don’t know.
~ Patrice Darby Neely

 

`

Listen in from your favorite 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.

 

helping tech tap into the talent emerging on the continent

 

Roger Roman, Co-Founder of AfriBlocks, the global Pan-African freelance marketplace and collaboration platform. They are building THE resource for devs, designers, and virtual assistants.

Roger hails from Chicago, and in his home neighborhood there the Roman name is well known. He was pre-ordained to be a lawyer, but Roger took a different path: business. He leveraged his degree from Howard University to immerse in industries as varied as construction, video game development, and eventually marketing. Roger has been spotlighted in The New York Times, Black Enterprise, and VentureBeat. But it was when co-founder Tongai Choto came calling that Roger saw a chance to take on a massive opportunity: the emergence of Africa in the global tech marketplace. The continent has over 450M Gen Z and young millennials, all eager, ambitious, and tech-enabled. Fertile ground for a startup like AfriBlocks.

Roger has a great story. Be sure to listen in.

 

“Things started to take off, but I had a reason not to go to law school.
~ Roger Roman

In this episode Roger and Dan discussed:

  • growing up in Chicago
  • how a chance encounter at graduation led to his first job
  • the opportunity for law school – avoided repeatedly
  • how one mentor changed his career
  • why Africa should be on everyone’s mind

 

“…our thesis is that the globe is going to turn to Africa to fill those jobs.
~ Roger Roman

 

“…he [said], ‘I started a WhatsApp group and it grew from 10 people to 600’…
~ Roger Roman

 

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.

A PLATFORM UNIQUELY DESIGNED FOR
BLACK-OWNED BUSINESSES

 

Melanie Akwule is Founder and CEO of MINWO, a DE&I tech company that connects companies with organizations that have a specific mission to support Black-owned businesses on their path to scaling.

Originally from Virginia, Melanie was an NCAA track athlete who did her undergrad at Georgia Tech. She worked and excelled in the corporate world with GE. But it was at the Haas School, Cal Berkeley where she built her startup muscle. She used her time in school to conceptualize and develop MINWOA. Melanie is off to a great start in 2021 completing the Techstars program and gearing up for the launch of MINWO’s flagship product Rialto.

Melanie has a great story, you’ll want to listen in.

 

“You appreciate the wins, definitely, but you can’t let the blows take you out.
~ Melanie Akwule

In this episode Melanie and Dan discussed:

  • life as an NCAA student-athlete
  • running in the Olympic trials
  • developing a passion for using tech to help businesses succeed
  • how one rejection led to her pursuit of an MBA
  • the highs and lows of early-stage entrepreneurship
  • the serendipity of the stumble

 

 

“…first pitch competition that actually accepted me, , ended up winning.
~ Melanie Akwule

 

“You feel like a mad scientist almost, right? There’s this vision in your brain!
~ Melanie Akwule

 

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.

USING TECHNOLOGY TO BETTER SERVE THE UNBANKED AND UNDERBANKED

 

Daricus Releford is the Founder and CEO of StoreCash, a company that provides mobile banking for teens, as well as for unbanked and underbanked adults.

Daricus is the twin son of a mom in the military. And as you just heard, he came home one day as a kid to find that his dad had taken everything from the house. Since that fateful event, Daricus has been on an entrepreneurial journey, that’s gone from cutting lawns to building a FinTech startup in Silicon Valley. Along the way, he’s had to persevere through college, hustle his first company into getting promotion by Steve Harvey, to landing roles with Google, Facebook, and Apple.

Daricus has a great story, you’ll want to listen in.

 

“I do not think that people are racist in Silicon valley. I just think that they haven’t seen it from us.
~ Daricus Releford

In this episode Daricus and Dan discussed:

  • driving hours with his mom to buy a hotdog stand
  • getting through Penn State, initially without a dorm room or place to sleep
  • finding a crafty way to get his products on the Steve Harvey show
  • working for THREE or the big five tech giants
  • how a chance request from his nephew led to his current startup

 

 

“This new generation, they have not been in a physical bank location.
~ Daricus Releford

 

“You are normally right. And believe in yourself. Don’t second guess and move fast.
~ Daricus Releford

 

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

OUR SPONSORS FOR THIS EPISODE:
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

redefining BEAUTY AND SKINCARE
TO REFLECT MORE INCLUSIVELY

 

Ezinne Iroanya-Adeoye is the Founder and CEO of SKNMUSE, the premium beauty brand dedicated to elevating the beauty experience for the modern black woman.

Ezinne was born and raised in Nigeria. After graduating from high school at 15 and ace-ing her SATs, she came to the US for college. She thought she was going to be a petroleum engineer. Lucky for the rest of us, that didn’t happen. Ezinne never forgot the joy she found in the soothing remedies her mom and grandmother prepared for her dry skin. She’s paying it back now, with her luxurious balms, oils, and body butters. For Ezinne, beauty is culture, and she’s on a mission to make the beauty counter reflect more inclusively.

Ezinne has a great story, you’ll want to listen in.

“I can speak for black women. And if anything, beauty is culture for us.
~ Ezinne Iroanya-Adeoye

In this episode Stephen and Dan discussed:

  • Changing majors 3 times in college
  • How her brand wants everyone to feel like “Omalicha Nwa” (‘beautiful one’)
  • The day her brand was featured by Beyoncé
  • How her mom is even more of a fashionista than she is
  • Her vision to create a space that re-imagines beauty for black women

 

 

Stand in your truth and the world will make one for you.
~ Ezinne Iroanya-Adeoye

 

“I called my mom after and I remember her saying, ‘God bless Beyoncé!’
~ Ezinne Iroanya-Adeoye

 

Listen in from your favorite 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 you represent yourself in court?
IT Just got a whole lot easier

 

Dr. Sonja Ebron Co-founder and CEO of Courtroom5, a company that makes an automated legal toolbox that helps people represent themselves in court.

Sonja has one of the amazing backgrounds, engineering academia, a repeat entrepreneur, but it took a challenging experience of our own with the legal system to unleash your mission and passion for the startup life. She has a strong conviction that fairness and the justice system shouldn’t depend on inequitable access to knowledge or resources and our conversation. She talked about the allure of engineering doing a startup in Durham, North Carolina, and so much more.

Sonja has a great story. Be sure to listen in.

 

“We’re dealing with a broken business model in the legal profession.
~ Sonja Ebron

In this episode Sonja and Dan discussed:

  • growing up in Durham NC
  • The call to engineering
  • The career arc between academia and entrepreneurship
  • Why the legal system can feel rigged
  • How African Americans are, by necessity, innovative and entrepreneurial

 

 

“ I am always trying to find a way to do things simpler.
~ Sonja Ebron

 

“The average cost of a lawyer is $300 [per hour].
Right now, the average American makes a 10th of that.

~ Sonja Ebron

 

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

BRINGING THE STYLE, CULTURE, AND
STORIES OF AFRICA’S DESIGNERS
TO THE REST OF THE WORLD

 

Amira Rasool is the Founder and CEO of The Folklore, an omnichannel platform that is bringing luxury and emerging designer brands from Africa online for the first time.

Amira has that fearlessness that just draws you in. She says it got her in trouble when she was younger, but we’re betting it will help her succeed as a founder. She and The Folklore have been featured everywhere from Forbes and Fast Company, to Vogue and Essence. Amira has just recently completed the Techstars program here in Seattle. Dan sat down with her to talk about The Folklore and how she sees it as so much more than a fashion brand.

Amira and The Folklore have a terrific story.

Make sure to listen in.

 

“…the currency that black people have…that cultural currency is valuable itself.
~ Amira Rasool

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

 

 

“ Scared money don’t make none.
~ Amira Rasool

 

“Tell yourself in the mirror, like ain’t nobody doing this better than me, and then go make sure that that’s true.
~ Amira Rasool