10 Black Tech Companies You Can Invest in Now
We have all heard the underwhelming statistics about the success of Black technology founders (men and women) raising money from venture capital investors.
A recent article in the Baltimore Business Journal states that “despite gains, most Black female founders still get no funding”, and the last ProjectDiane “State of Black Women Founders” report in 2016, found that since 2009, black women have collectively raised 0.0006 percent of all tech venture funding (yes 0 percent).
These numbers do not mean that Black founders are not starting innovative, game changing and potentially billion dollar companies, it just means that we are not securing funding proportionately to our “non-Black” peers by institutional investors. Because of this, now more than ever, start-up founders are looking at non-traditional ways to raise capital for their companies, including me.
I am a Black woman who has raised close to $1.5M in seed funding from VCs and angels collectively for my companies Flat Out of Heels and PopCom. I have some great investors on my cap table and a large network of investors across the country, however, when it was time to raise our next round I wanted to take a different approach, and thanks to our “forever President” Barak Obama, yes, I can.
In 2012, President Obama signed into law the JOBS Act that required the SEC to write rules and issue studies on capital formation, disclosure, and registration requirements. For the first time in SEC history companies can raise money using an exemption under this act called the Title III Regulation Crowdfunding (CF), which is an offering for the general public, meaning both accredited and non-accredited investors can participate in the offering up to $1,070,000 per year.
This means ANYONE (including you) can invest in a startup company. This is an example of group economics that we have never experienced before. The ability to offer my friends, family, and network an opportunity to get in on an early stage deal alongside major VC investors is why I decided to raise capital using the Reg CF exemption. I am excited about all of the possibilities now that many of the restrictions around raising capital have been removed.
To give you some context: too often, Black people and under-represented communities are left out of early-stage deals and can only invest when the company goes public because early stage deals are reserved for accredited investors (i.e. wealthy individuals and couples). The opportunity to invest early, take bigger risks for a potentially greater return is how the rich get wealthy. Investing early and exercising group economics is how we will build up our tech companies to rival the “unicorns” of Silicon Valley.
Are you in? Are you ready to invest in a Black tech company? You can start today. I have done the work for you by compiling a list of my favorite tech and tech-enabled companies that are raising capital right now, they are in no particular order. Here is the deal flow you have been looking for:
1. PopCom (Software, Hardware, Cannabis, Retail)
PopCom is an automated retail technology company that has built a software (SaaS) & connected (IoT) platform for vending machines and kiosks that provides deep consumer insights and engagement for machine operators. Founded by Dawn Dickson in 2013 as a hardware company, the company is currently seeking investment to help solidify its strong position in the industry as well as fund new development of new blockchain-enabled software that will enable consumers to securely buy government-regulated products (e.g. cannabis, pharmaceuticals, and alcohol) from vending machines and ensure retailers stay complaint. The company has two patents pending for a highly unique and innovative automated retail hardware design called PopShop Kiosks with solid software IP, has raised $960k to date from angel investors and VC funds, has secured paid pilots with Procter & Gamble and others, and has $3.72M in projected software annual recurring revenue in the pipeline. Dawn was featured on the cover of Black Enterprise magazine in June 2018 and recently named as INC Magazine’s top 100 Female Tech Founders. PopCom is raising $943,000 in the form of a secure token offering (STO) on Start Engine. The minimum investment is $252.
2. Breathe (Software, Apps, Cannabis, Retail)
Breathe is an on-demand cannabis delivery platform currently operating in Los Angeles, CA. According research conducted by the Arcview Group, over 13% of the population in California consume cannabis, the legal cannabis market in the state is expected to reach $3.4 billion by 2021. Storefront recreational cannabis dispensaries are not conveniently located in every neighborhood, making the need for on-demand delivery bigger than ever. The app is currently available under “Breathe California” in the App or Google Play store, the app allows customers can make purchases from dozens of products from dispensaries across the city with delivery time in 30 minutes or less and also provides valuable education around strains and dosage.
Co-founded by Carrington Harris, is currently raising a $2.5M seed round to further its technology, increase drivers, and expand outside of California. The round is 40% subscribed and accepting investments from angel investors debt or equity. If interested contact Carrington Harris at Carrington@globalcannabisculture.com.
3. Rubitection (Software, Hardware, Health Care)
Rubitection is a medical device startup modernizing early bedsore detection to keep our elderly and vulnerable family members free from unnecessary wounds. Founded by Sanna Gaspard, Rubitection spun out of Carnegie Mellon and is on a mission to eradicate avoidable pain and suffering caused by bedsores. The company provides caregivers with a patented, low cost, reliable early detection and monitoring tool that can be used in a home, nursing home, or hospital. The sale of Rubitection’s probe and digital app provides two recurring revenue streams which represent a $4.8 billion market opportunity. Rubitection is more affordable and easier to use than other products on the market and the technology can be used reliably on any skin tone helping to save lives, reduce cost, and improve the quality of care. Rubitection is raising $1.5 million to solve this global problem while building a sustainable business. The company is seeking angel investors and strategic healthcare partners interested in improving healthcare and joining their journey. Learn more at www.rubitection.com.
4. 4D Healthware (Software, Health Care)
4D Healthware’s Virtual CCM™ helps clinics and health systems meet the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requirements to take advantage of new value-based reimbursement codes that are designed around Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM). RPM reduces the total overall cost of care by working with the patient to reduce ER visits and address socio-economic determinants of health to improve patient outcomes. Co-founder and CEO Star* Cunningham is a recognized expert on “Smart” (M2M Learning) systems and wearable technology. 4D is credentialed with more than 20 insurance companies including CMS (Medicare/Medicaid), Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Cigna, Aetna, Humana and others. 4D is currently raising a $250,000 equity round from angel investors. For more information on the investment opportunity, contact Star* directly via email on email@example.com .
5. EnrichHER (Women Business, Social Impact, FinTech)
EnrichHER is a financial technology platform founded by Dr. Roshawnna Novellus with the goal of fueling the growth of women-led businesses by enabling female founders to secure $30k-$70k of capital in an affordable and non-dilutive way. Similar to Kiva, EnrichHER provides investors with an opportunity to lend to small businesses. Dr. Novellus is a gender equality advocate who believes in economic empowerment and inclusive economic growth. Roshawnna served on the Commission on Women for the City of Atlanta and was honored as one of the Women Who Means Business by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, one of the 40 Under 40 by Georgia Trend, and as a Halcyon Fellow for Social Impact. EnrichHER is raising a $500k bridge round from angel investors. People can invest by contacting the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. The Mentor Method (Software, Social Impact, Enterprise)
The Mentor Method is an enterprise platform helping companies keep and develop their diverse talent using the proven power of mentorship. Founded by CEO Janice Omadeke, the company uses a double-blind algorithm to close the opportunity equity gap in the workplace. The Mentor Method won Capital Factory’s Women in Tech Challenge, is a MassChallenge Texas Gold winner, and has been featured in The Washington Business Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, is a Startup to Watch in 2018 from DC Inno, and a 2017 Startup Grind Global Exhibition selection. Janice served as a DC Ambassador at SXSW, was selected to attend the 2016 White House Summit on Building the Tech Workforce of Tomorrow, and a top 10 finalist in Rent the Runway’s Project Entrepreneur. The Mentor Method is raising a $750,000 seed round from angel investors. Current investors include Capital Factory and Backstage Capital. To invest, please email: email@example.com.
7. Go Together, Inc. (Transportation, Logistics, Software)
Go Together is delivering new, innovative and scalable transportation options to busy people through their trusted networks such as schools and sports teams/leagues. ‘CarpooltoSchool’, Go Together Inc.’s first product in the market, is currently utilized by 49 schools in 25 states, and has over 18,000 users on our platform. ‘CarpooltoSchool’ is providing schools and school districts alternative transportation options due to increasing costs of buses and maintenance, underutilized bus routes, and magnet and charters outside of student community are making it increasingly difficult to get students to school. Go Together, Inc. is raising capital targeting angel investors and family offices in a $500,000 bridge round that is currently 85% subscribed. These funds will allow the company to hire its first in-house lead engineer and aggressively market ‘Carpooltoschool’ to meet the goal of signing up 100 schools by September 2019. To invest contact CEO Kimberly Moore — firstname.lastname@example.org.
8. Ovamba Solutions, Inc. (FinTech, Software, Social Impact)
Ovamba Solutions, Inc. is a FinTech platform founded by Viola A. Llewellyn, that funds African SMEs in the trade & commodities sector with short capital. Much of Africa’s business landscape is populated by the informal sector which in turn mostly features women who are especially impacted by the exclusion from financial services. Ovamba is able to fund a business with up to $500,000 for the purchase of inventory as an alternative trade and asset backed solution that combines capital with logistics and warehousing support to push growth. Viola has led Ovamba to win awards from Finnovate Finance, the Africa Fintech summit and Innov8te Finance. She is also a World Economic Forum Tech pioneer and Global Ambassador Her opinions and policy advice have been sought after by the U.S. State Department and the British Commonwealth. Ovamba is raising $5 million for funding existing demand pipeline from customers. Contact viola.llewellyn@Ovamba.com or Ciana.h@Ovamba.com to learn more.
9. Sideline Society (Software, Transportation, Sports)
Founded in 2018 by sports mom of three and sideline guru, Shaki Varado, Sideline Society is a Washington, D.C. based startup focused on becoming a leader in the youth sports industry as the first community based ridesharing app for youth sports called ‘Sideline SOS’. In its flagship resource, Sideline Society presents an innovative, time saving, affordable alternative to other youth-focused ridesharing platforms; designed to provide a solution to a real-time, real-world problem. The company is currently raising $7,000 in a Kickstarter campaign to develop the beta product and also accepting private angel investments (email@example.com). You can invest now at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sidelinesos/sideline-sos-community-based-ridesharing-for-youth
10. Miracle Meds (Brick and Mortar, Cannabis, Retail, Social Impact)
Miracle Meds is a