Kerry Schrader, Co-Founder + CEO

  • Ashlee Ammons, Co-Founder + President
  • mixtroz.com , @Mixtroz
  • Founded 2014
  • Steve Case’s Revolution Fund, Winterpoint Capital

Profile 44 : mixtroz


Mixtroz knows that event organizers work hard to create the right atmosphere for attendees to make strong connections. Yet, they just don’t mix at mixers. This phenomenon is known as homophily [huh-mof-uh-lee]. Mixtroz solves this. Their mission is to create valuable community whereever 50 or more are gathered. Connecting your attendees while gathering data becomes easier with Mixtroz: the only way to increase engagement & collect data in real-time. While attendees mix – organizers learn.

Founder Story Nugget

“In November 2014, while living in NYC, co-founder Ashlee attended a conference.  For a “networking’ opportunity during lunch, the event host suggested attendees “go up to someone with the same color dot on their name tag.” Ashlee deemed that networking activity awkward and enjoyed lunch with her smartphone, but made zero connections.

Later that same day, Ashlee shared this experience with her mother, Kerry, who ironically had had a similar experience that same weekend.  The soon-to-be founders discussed at length the awkwardness of meeting people at live events.

And following a four-hour conversation on November 9, 2014…Mixtroz was born!”

~Excerpt from Mixtroz website

” “We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here, but we are trying to change the way it rolls. We’re the first to market in this space—the first to drive people from the digital space to the physical space, in real-time, for purposes of networking,” Ammons said.”

~Excerpts from Forbes article, by Matt Hunckler, October 2017


Profile 43 : CHIPPER


Chipper Cash offers instant cross-border mobile money transfers as easy as sending a text message. The company considers itself “the largest mobile cross-border money transfer platform in Africa.” Chipper helps customers receive and send money to Uganda, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda and Tanzania for free (more countries coming soon). The company allows users to add cash to the chipper wallet from mobile money, and invite friends and family to send payments to each other with no fees. That’s right, they charge no fees for sending money to a user’s friends, family, and associates.

Founder Story Nugget

“The journey for Chipper Cash’s founders from Africa to founding a startup and pitching to Joe Montana passes through Iowa. Serunjogi and Moujaled met when doing their undergraduate degrees at Grinnell College. Stints at Silicon Valley companies followed: Facebook for Serunjogi and Flickr, Yahoo! and Imgur for Moujaled.

Chipper Cash was accepted in 500 Startups’ Batch 24 in 2018 and their demo day for the accelerator program gained the attention of Liquid 2 Ventures.

The VC fund’s Rocio Wu invited them to pitch to  Joe Montana and the team in March 2019.

“Africa is extremely fragmented with different languages, cultures and currencies, Chipper Cash is uniquely positioned to tackle cross-border mobile payments with interoperability,” Wu told TechCrunch on the investment.

As for Chipper Cash’s continuing relationship with investor Joe Montana, “Having access to someone with the leadership qualities of Joe to provide advice and guidance…that’s something that’s priceless,” said Serunjogi.”

~Excerpts from TechCrunch article, by  Jake Bright, May 2019




Esusu is a mobile platform designed to empower our users to better save their income, access larger sums of capital, and build credit and financial identity through community-based savings.

Across the world, millions of people use savings clubs to build financial resilience and plan for the future. These groups are formed from trusted family and friends who each contribute toward a single pot of money on a regular basis. Each group member then has the chance to withdraw the full pot and use it towards big-ticket items including education, launching a business, and remittances.

Esusu serves as the bridge between the formal and the informal financial economy for the 57% of American’s who qualify as financially unhealthy.


Founder Story Nugget

“For Wemimo, the idea behind Esusu comes from personal experience. Raised by a single mother, Wemimo attended one of the better public schools in Lagos, but he said he wouldn’t have been able to afford the tuition had his mother not participated in rotational savings. Now living in America, the 26-year old wants to help immigrants, students, and low-income families save.”

~Excerpt fromBlack Enterprise article, by May 2018


Neu Inc - founders Claudius, Rilwan, and Kwame - Founders: Claudius Mbemba, Rilwan Lawal, Kwame Boler Neu facilitates hotel-style cleans for Airbnb/vacation rentals, providing both hosts and cleaners with a stress and hassle-free experience

  • Kwame Boler, Co-Founder + CEO
    Rilwan Lawal, Co-Founder + COO
    Claudius Mbemba, Co-Founder + CTO
  • neucleans.com, @neucleans
  • Founded 2016
  • FedEx

Profile 41 : NEU


Based in Seattle, Neu is a marketplace that connects Airbnb hosts with local cleaners, enabling hotel-level turn arounds.  As a SaaS-enabled marketplace, the company provides a turnkey experience by supplying sheets, towels, and toiletries and scheduling cleans between guest stays. Neu’s operations team makes sure that turnover happens promptly, with fresh linens and supplies brought by vetted cleaners. This streamlines the process of preparing a unit for a new guest by the next scheduled check-in time.

Founder Story Nugget

“Neu’s CEO Kwame Boler and COO Rilwan Lawal know first hand the headaches and costs of cleaning and flipping Airbnb vacation rentals for new guests.

As Airbnb Super hosts with full-time jobs, the biggest headache Kwame and Rilwan experienced was getting their properties promptly cleaned and reset between guest visits– without breaking their margins.

What started as an idea to solve their individual challenge as hosts quickly morphed into the bigger idea for the startup that became Neu.

Fifteen minutes after discussing how they might pool resources to organize some professional cleaners for their apartments, Kwame called Rilwan back and suggested they solve this problem for everyone in the same situation.

“That’s kind of how everything started and we began the long journey of trying to create a system to clean our properties,” said Rilwan.

Neu’s third co-founder, CTO Claudius Mbemba joined the team after being highly recommended through the founders’ extended professional networks.

The camaraderie, respect, and gratitude the founders have for each other and their areas of focus and expertise are audible as they share their stories. Good chemistry, a shared vision and a sense of humor, and shared intentions for creating a company culture that supports a global team make them a solid founding leadership trio.”

~Excerpt Founders Unfound Blog, April 2019


Stella Ashaolu, Founder and CEO of WeSolv, a company that uses performance data and predictive analytics to help companies reduce bias and hire a more diverse workforce.

Profile 40 : WESOLV


Based in Chicago, WeSolv uses technology to help job candidates of all backgrounds access meaningful careers and infuse companies with diverse, high-performing talent that propels their businesses forward.

The company provides opportunities for professionals to develop and leverage their talents by solving real challenges for some of the world’s leading organizations. WeSolv then provides enterprises with in-depth performance analysis of each candidate, enabling them to reduce bias in their hiring process and uncover top talent.

The WeSolv user community is the largest network of diverse MBAs — reaching 30,000+ from over 100 programs nationwide — with 50% female and 70% underrepresented minority MBA candidates.

Founder Story Nugget

“…Even though she had started her own business and had worked for an entertainment law firm prior to her MBA, she initially had a difficult time because her corporate background didn’t match that of a lot of her peers and Stella didn’t look like a typical MBA candidate; nor did she have an extensive professional network to rely upon.

Ashaolu had to get creative and resourceful to find real projects as an MBA student. Case competitions enabled her to showcase her whole self and skills to the companies she sought to join after graduation. She discovered that when she performed well in a  competition, the same company she had directly approached before was now more eager to recruit her; and she got the offers she wanted.

…[Ashaolu says] “The reality is there are many roadblocks to building any viable solution whether you get funding and support, or you don’t. It’s always a difficult process. You never know how much you can actually achieve until you are forced to do it. It’s challenging to grow and scale as fast as you know you can when resources feel finite.” “

~Excerpts Founders Unfound podcast, March 2019


  • Rapa Thompson Ricky,
    Co-Founder + Director of Operations
  • safeboda.com, @SafeBoda
  • Founded 2015
  • CRE Venture Capital, GoJek, Allianz,
    Global Innovation Fund

Profile 39 : safeboda


SafeBoda is a community of entrepreneurs and Boda drivers working together to improve professional standards across the urban transportation industry in Africa. At the click of a button, they provide a safe, convenient, and mobile-first alternative to urban transportation for Africa’s booming young population. The company aims is to improve the industry for both drivers and passengers by increasing safe trips taken and making travel around cities stress-free.

Founded in the heart of Kampala Uganda, SafeBoda is truly an African business, designed for the African context.

Founder Story Nugget

“Ricky Rapa Thompson, the co-founder of popular ride-hailing app Safe Boda, was one such driver himself.

After a close friend and fellow driver died from hitting his head on the pavement, Mr. Thompson realized that boda-boda drivers and their passengers really needed to be wearing helmets.

“Our aim was to bring change into the boda-boda industry. People are dying as boda-boda drivers every day,” Mr. Thompson told the BBC.

“People like the fact that the details of the journey are stored somewhere, that someone is accountable for the drivers.”

He started Safe Boda to create a more professional ride-hailing service, where drivers were trained to meet better safety standards.”

~Excerpts from BBC News article, by Mary-Ann Russon, March 2019


Profile 38 :


On Second Thought is a messaging app that enables its users to undo and edit messages before they get to the recipient’s phone. It offers its application for iOS mobile phones to send and receive SMS and MMS messages, group messaging, and automatic synchronization of contacts and existing conversations. Over 80% of texting Americans use messaging in a professional capacity. Companies are making it easier to send money, confirm an order, or contact customer service via text. With more at stake in our messaging ecosystem, we want to update the user experience to match the new demands we’re putting on the medium. 

The company’s patented technology has been recognized at SXSW and at the AT&T-sponsored Innovator’s Classic.

Founder Story Nugget

“For Peterson…this idea came when she found herself caught up in a similar situation.

“I sent an ex a text that autocorrect changed and when I saw what got sent, I was so embarrassed and had to explain what I really meant to say,” she tells BET.com. Being her innovative self, a light went off in her head. “I did some research and found that there wasn’t an app that could take back your texts, so I asked my friends did they have the same problem and would they want technology that could help. And they all said ‘yes.’”

After winning first place in The Kauffman Foundation and Up Global SXSW pitch competition in March 2014, things started to heat up. And by December 2014, the app went from being an idea to the finished product.”

~Excerpt from BET.com article, by Kellee Terrell, May 2016


Profile 37 : WearWORKS


Based in New York, WearWorks is a haptics design company that designs products and experiences that deliver information through touch and vibration.

Their first product is a wearable haptic navigation device for the blind and visually impaired called WAYBAND. It guides users to an end-destination using only vibration. WAYBAND lets its users gain a sense of autonomy to explore new and unfamiliar environments.  Milestones for the company include: enabling a blind runner to complete the New York City Marathon and being a Fast Company Innovation by Design – Social Good finalist.


Founder Story Nugget

“Me and my two co-founders, we all walked into this [company] through different doors. My personal door was…I basically spent the previous year of my life trying to build this suit that you can download Kung fu into. And then the suit would teach you using vibration. So that was the door that showed me the opportunity of what haptics could do

…And so we realized we needed a language to communicate information through touch…that’s when we all came together and said, ok, let’s build out this product and let’s start it in a much simpler form of movement – navigation…”

~ from ZDNet Interview, by Tanya Hall, August 2019



Profile 36 : KÜDZOO


KÜDZOO offers a free mobile application that rewards students with deals, giveaways, scholarship opportunities, concert tickets, and once in a lifetime experiences based on students’ grades and achievements. KÜDZOO works together with schools and businesses to improve student engagement while bringing communities together with an educational focus.

Users earn “Küdzoo Cash” based on grades, grade improvement, and attendance, plus their answers to daily trivia and college-entrance-exam questions. They can use that “cash” to unlock discounts and deals on products and services.

Founder Story Nugget

“Chicago entrepreneur Trevor Wilkins remembers when his parents would give him $10 for an A and $5 for a B in high school. He used that as inspiration for a business.

…Wilkins, who’s based at the 1871 tech hub, said “Chicago is very near and dear to me. It’s so humbling to be able to influence people in a positive way, especially when there is so much negativity about Chicago Public Schools.”

In April, he received recognition for his work in Chicago Public Schools from the Jefferson Awards Foundation, which says it’s dedicated to recognizing local and national public service.”

~Excerpts from Chicago Tribune article, by Dong Jin Oh, May 2015


Profile 35 : QUARRIO


Led by repeat founder and United Nations Entrepreneur of the Year KG Charles-Harris, Quarrio provides a conversational interface that enables enterprises to get information from Salesforce in seconds. Sales teams have the power of instant knowledge and the IT teams get the freedom to stop wasting valuable time on ad-hoc reports. Customers can go beyond simply “searching” with a platform that lets them access and understand all their data by just naturally asking questions.

Founder Story Nugget

“…Securing funding from venture capital firms can be a difficult process for even the most qualified of minority and women entrepreneurs. For example, KG Charles-Harris, who is African-American and the CEO of two-year-old artificial intelligence startup Quarrio, has been working in tech for decades and has assembled a team of accomplished employees, many of whom hail from MIT and Stanford and have experience working for companies like Apple and Cisco.

Over phone calls and online demos, Charles-Harris was able to raise $200,000 from foreign investors, but after numerous in-person meetings with American venture capitalists (only one of which included an African-American), he has not been able to raise a cent in Silicon Valley. “If it’s difficult for me to raise money here with that kind of background, that kind of team and that kind of product, how difficult is it for other people?” Charles-Harris said.”

~Excerpts from IBM Times article, by Salvador Rodriguez , August 2015