ATLANTA, GA – Six high-growth tech startups led by Black and Latina women made their case for capital at the first-ever demo day hosted by digitalundivided’s BIG, the ambitious new accelerator program dedicated to growing startups founded by female entrepreneurs of color.
The BIG Demo Day powered by Capital One took place on Jan. 14 and showcased live demonstrations by each startup to a select group of investors, corporate executives, and tech leaders, as well as talksy leading investors and innovators from around the country including Dr. Freada Kapor Klein of Kapor Capital, Mark Walsh of the US Small Business Administration and Asmau Ahmed of Capital One.
The startups that presented at Demo Day were:
- Everist – Founder Tatiana Figueiredo
Clara is an AI-enabled career coaching platform. It makes career development accessible, affordable and more fun for the next generation of the workforce.
- Taeleur – Founder Christina Valdez
Taelur is an intelligent apparel discovery platform that uses a proprietary StyleHELIX™ style match algorithm and AI style bots to find options highly relevant to each user and then automates ongoing discovery.
- Zuvva – Founder Kelechi Anyadiegwu
Zuvaa is an online marketplace for African Fashion and Design that seeks to disrupt the 31 billion dollar African Fashion and Textile industry through content and community.
- Bloc – Founder Amina Yamusah
Our Bloc is a professional network for black collegians on the rise. Through events and an innovative web platform, Bloc connects ambitious college students with social capital and pipelines to access financial freedom.
- Mecaris – Kellee James
Mercaris is a market data service and online trading platform for organic, non-GMO, and certified agricultural commodities.
- ECreditHero – Nicole Sanchez
eCreditHero is an online tool that helps its users to fix their credit. It helps identify questionable negative items on credit reports and create personalized letters to challenge those errors with the credit bureaus.
Of 10,284 venture deals funded from 2012 to 2014, just 24, or 0.02 percent, were with startups led by black women, according to Project Diane, the landmark study on the state of black women in tech entrepreneurship that was released in March 2016 by digitalundivided. Founded in 2012, digitalundivided is national organization using innovation to promote the economic growth and empowerment of Black and Latina women entrepreneurs.
A direct response to the study’s findings, BIG aims to reverse those bleak venture capital numbers by helping women entrepreneurs of color develop sustainable businesses. The intense, 12-week accelerator program provided each startup with coaching on how to scale their ventures, mentorship by top industry leaders, office space for one year, and $20,000 in seed funding from the investment fund Harriet Angels Syndicate.
“BIG Demo Day was a major milestone in our mission to empower Black and Latina female entrepreneurs,” said Kathryn Finney, Managing Director, digitalundivided. “It was an exciting opportunity for investors to meet these phenomenal women, support game-changing startups, and play a critical role in advancing the influence and growth of women of color in the tech industry.”
“Capital One is proud to support digitalundivided’s BIG Demo Day as part of our continued commitment to diversity in tech,” said Julie Elberfeld, SVP, Shared Technology and Executive Sponsor of Diversity and Inclusion in Technology at Capital One. “Access to capital and resources is one of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs, especially women and people of color. We’re excited to be a part of digitalundivided’s crucial work to empower Black and Latina female entrepreneurs and help close the diversity gap in tech.”
The BIG incubator is housed at the BIG Innovation Center, a new 3,000-square-foot hub in downtown Atlanta dedicated to fostering innovation in diverse communities. BIG is a winner of the SBA Growth Accelerator Fund Competition and is supported by the Surdna Foundation and the Wells Fargo Foundation.
Founded in 2012, digitalundivided uses innovation to foster the economic growth and empowerment of Black and Latina women entrepreneurs. Its initiatives include the BIG Incubator, the BIG Innovation Center in Atlanta, and #ProjectDiane. For more information, visit www.digitalundivided.com.