);

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

TRANSFORMING HEALTH CARE IN NIGERIA, FROM WELLNESS TO DIAGNOSTICS

 

Oluwasoga Oni is Co-Founder and CEO of MDaaS Global, a company that is building Africa’s largest network of physical and virtual diagnostic and primary care facilities, ultimately to provide quality and affordable healthcare for the continent’s next billion.

Soga, as he’s known, grew up in a rural town in Nigeria, surrounded by a family of doctors and medical professionals. And while he didn’t have the calling himself, he saw firsthand the gaps and challenges faced by providers. His love of tinkering and problem solving led him to software development and work in the US. But it was his time at MIT where he was challenged by one of his professors: come up with a business that will impact a billion people. And so MDaaS was born. 

Since inception the company has pivoted from a medical equipment supplier to a full stack of diagnostic and testing centers, where MDaaS focuses on patient experience on site, and prevention and wellness when patients are at home and on the go. The company is backed by the likes of Techstars, Google for Startups, and the Jack Ma foundation.

Soga has a great story. You will want to listen in.

 

I think that we can impact a billion lives…
~ Soga Oni

In this episode Soga and Dan discussed:

  • Seeing medical care’s challenges from his dad’s doctor office
  • Adjusting to life and college in the US from Nigeria
  • Why African healthcare has nowhere to go but up
  • Life as husband-wife co-founder team
  • Reading signals – from investors and customers

 

 

“When you are in Nigeria as a Nigerian, you’re not black, you’re a Nigerian. But when you get into the US, you become black…
~ Soga Oni

 

“ …my dad also has his own equipment graveyard, where he just shows all of the old medical equipment that he could not fix.
~ Soga Oni

 

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

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.

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 near you.

HELPING Teams and coaches reach potential with feedback and tracking

 

Francisco Baptista is Founder and CEO of TeamSportz, a company building an AI sports platform to help team athletes enhance their performance. 

Francisco was born in Angola, growing during a period of civil war in that country. He used basketball as an escape from this harsh environment, first by watching his mother play, and then finding sanctuary on the courts himself. Francisco moved to Brazil for his teenage years, then to Portugal, and finally now in the UK. All the while pursuing his dual passions for hoops and software development. It’s the meeting of these two loves where TeamSportz, with a zed as they say, was born. The company now boasts notable investors including Mark Gainey, co-founder of Strava and Rand Fishkin of Moz fame.

Francisco has a great story. You will want to listen in.

 

I’ve been acutely aware that I’m black since I started TeamSportz.
~ Francisco Baptista

In this episode Francisco and Dan discussed:

  • growing up in war and in different countries
  • how his upbringing matured him past his contemporaries while in school
  • how Portuguese differs from Angola, to Brazil, to Portugal
  • how asking for advice, led to an investor, and another, and another…
  • playing university-level basketball as a teen, by “being Francisco Sr”

 

 

“moving to Brazil – particularly moving from Angola…Brazil was a bit of a shock.
~Francisco Baptista

 

“…as a team there’s  and ever-increasing appetite for performance data
~Francisco Baptista

 

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 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.

HELPING COMPANIES SUPPORT EMPLOYEES WHEN THEY LOSE SOMEONE CLOSE

 

Keara Kindelynn is Founder and CEO of Foreverly, a company with a mission to make dealing with death–a little less stressful. Foreverly helps organizations support their employees who have experienced the death of a loved one. 

Kera was born to a family with deep roots to her hometown of Brooklyn. She emerged from college and business school, climbing the corporate ladder. Leading all the way to Seattle and Microsoft. But it was her calling to volunteering and service that led her to the world of hospice, end of life, and the underserved season of bereavement. Kera saw that the death of a loved one is an unguided, stressful, and lonely experience – for those grieving and for those who want to support them. It’s from this transformative understanding that Foreverly was born. We spoke with Kera recently just after finishing the Techstars program.

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

 

…casseroles are great, but there are many other things people need.
~ Keara Kindelynn

In this episode Keara and Dan discussed:

  • growing up in Brooklyn
  • parents who supported continuous curiosity
  • being mind-blown by her first experience with affluent black America
  • the “tragedies in 3’s” that spurred on starting Foreverly
  • pivoting from selling service to customers, to a benefit for companiez

 

 

“Dad said, “You’ll run the world…or ruin it!
~Keara Kindelynn

 

“…often people are sticker-shocked by the price of a funeral that’s on average $10,000
~Keara Kindelynn

 

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

technology to make growing easier, and small farming more profitable

 

Sabrina Williams is Founder and CEO of SEED, a company that helps consumers and underserved farmers grow smart and feed more by democratizing access to agriculture technology.

Sabrina is a native Californian, born and raised in Compton. Her curiosity and passions led her to pursuits in architecture, law, and urban planning. Through her non-profit, she dedicated herself to social justice challenges in urban communities. It was in this arena that Sabrina discovered the core issue that would lead to SEED: food insecurity amongst the most vulnerable, lower income populations. Now her company is bringing together technology, climate policy, and food equity to create more and better access to growing.

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

 

“I seek out the places where I’m welcome
~ Sabrina Williams

In this episode Sabrina and Dan discussed:

  • the journey from architecture to law to urban planning
  • how SEED started as a big idea and morphed into a huge one
  • the link from food equity and social justice
  • the connection between Elvis, Karl Marx, and the Blues
  • balancing the startup life by playing in a ska band

 

 

“ …if you can improve the soil in communities where there’s a high level of pollution, you’re immediately changing that environment
~ Sabrina Williams

 

“ One of those policies was no growing food in your [public] housing. Nothing on balconies, nothing in the little bit of soil you have out in the public area. Why can’t they plant a tomato plant?
~ Sabrina Williams

 

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

SELLING ONLINE MADE
SIMPLE AND PROFITABLE

 

Sean Bovell is Founder and CEO of Invidica, a company building a marketplace platform that is transforming the reseller economy one product at a time. 

Sean has an amazing background. Born in the UK, raised in predominantly white communities in Utah and Idaho, before landing in Oakland for his formative year. A natural at math and STEM, Sean has been drawn to tech from an early age. He built his first ecommerce company from the ground up, alternately celebrating and struggling with the highs and lows of rules and technology that seem to change constantly. But it was through this bootcamp of sorts that Sean zeroed in on the key insights that would lead to the creation of Invidica. With funding from 500 Startups, and comparisons to the likes of Aliba and eBay, it’s no wonder he has many investors filling up his inbox these days.

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

 

“Even in beta, we have somebody’s grandma buying and selling…
~ Sean Bovell

In this episode Sean and Dan discussed:

  • realities of being one of the few black kids in a white school
  • the spark of his entrepreneur ambition in college
  • starting his first ecommerce company from his bedroom
  • a lucky encounter with a mentor from 500 startups
  • how ecommerce today is broken, and why he wants to fix it

 

 

…all the things that piled up in life…helped build who I am today.
~ Sean Bovell

 

“ So he was like, you should probably just hire a white person to be the face of your company.
~ Sean Bovell

 

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.
To get Founders LiveFest 2021 tickets
Check out founderslive.com to join and to find a live event streaming from your city.

A FOUNDER AND AN INVESTOR
WALK INTO A BAR…

 

James Chapman is Founder and CEO of Plain Sight, a company that helps you make the right connections at events and workspaces, or connect online from anywhere.

James started as an aspiring NBA player from Chattanooga Tennessee. He made it to the NBA’s D-league, but that’s where that dream ended, and the next season began. Basketball’s loss was entrepreneurship’s gain. James started loading boxes for FedEx. His hustle led him to new opportunities, and eventually starting two different businesses. All along the way sharing his amazing hustle inspiration on Twitter, later turning the collection into a book, aptly named #TheHustle. But it was a chance to work with legendary Detroit businessman Dan Gilbert that led to his 3rd startup journey, Plain Sight.

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

 

…you got to keep showing up, no matter what…
~ James Chapman

In this episode James and Dan discussed:

  • growing up a passionate athlete
  • going from the basketball court to the warehouse
  • hard lessons from his first startup
  • insights from running a coworking space
  • his connection to Dan Gilbert
  • why Plain Sight has no profile pictures

 

 

“ we launched this five months before the starter was global pandemic.
~ James Chapman

 

“ there are some pretty crappy people in the world that legit do not like you because of something that is beyond your control…the color of your skin.
~ James Chapman

 

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

Accounting doesn’t Have to
Run finance anymore

 

Serge Amouzo is Founder and CEO of Finmod, a startup that helps companies forecast financials 10X faster. Finmod’s predictive-financial projection technology uses company data sources to give decision-ready data and actionable next steps for growth.

Serge was born and raised in Togo. He came to the US at age 12, determined and curious. He set out to master English and assimilate. He thought he would be a neurosurgeon, but a pursuit of coding and tech led him to a career of being a repeat tech founder, starting his first company while still in High School. It was a pain point he personally experienced at one of his past startups that sparked the idea that would become Finmod.

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

 

I want to attract investors that are running to fund us.
~ Serge Amouzou

In this episode Serge and Dan discussed:

  • moving from Togo to the US at 12
  • mastering English as a 3rd language
  • building his first coding company in high school
  • how the dream of being a doctor was overtaken by his startup chase
  • whether you should wear your ambition out loud

 

 

“ I only want to speak English because I wanted to quickly understand what’s going on. And within six months, I learned English.
~ Serge Amouzou

 

“ …the framework around perceiving black founders, as people who could build billion dollar businesses was not there.
~ Serge Amouzou

 

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