During Black History Month, Y Combinator updated its Black Founder Directory to showcase more Black-owned companies that raised a combined $570 million in funding and $2.46 billion valuation. The business accelerator provides seed funding for startups to support their growth.
The directory features Black founders who opted in to appear on the list. Among the Black founders featured on the directory are Kemar Newell, founder of Flip, an app that is an answer to sneakerheads’ prayers. The mobile marketplace has changed the way kicks are bought and sold.
Also on the site are Reham Fagiri and Kalam Dennis, co-founders of Apt Deco, which streamlines buying and selling moderate to high-end furniture; Songe LaRon and Dave Slavant of Squire, a barbershop business management platform; Emamanuel Buah and Ama Marfo of Airfordable, which provides payment plans for airline tickets; and more.
The Silicon Valley-based Y Combinator provides support to national and international businesses. The business accelerator has been credited with helping many companies succeed and has an array of African-based companies on its roster. Among them are Stripe, OMG Digital, Releaf, Oolu, Instabug, etc.
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Industry insiders also said Airbnb wouldn’t have survived without Y-Combinator. They specifically point to Michael Seibel, partner and CEO, with helping save the business.
On its website, Y Combinator says, “At Y Combinator, our goal is to get you through the first phase. This usually means: get you to the point where you’ve built something impressive enough to raise money on a larger scale. Then we can introduce you to later stage investors – or occasionally even acquirers.”
Many founders expressed how critical Y Combinator’s support has been to them. The company accepts applicants bi-yearly and received thousands of applications. Seibel advised companies to clearly state what they do in two sentences when applying.
“Your ability to clearly say what you do makes you stand out against literally 50 percent of people,” Seibel said. “It’s this cliche that’s totally correct. If you can’t explain to your mom what you do in two sentences then you probably need to rethink those two sentences.”
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