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Startups

Mentor Connect is a mentorship program that eliminates the loneliness of being an entrepreneur.  The mentorship program, sponsored by Ben Franklin Technology Partners and Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT), currently has over 200 mentees and 130 mentors in its network.  The network aims to provide a positive community for entrepreneurs to grow and connect with like-minded people. Not only does it give them space to share their concerns and issues, but it also helps provide them with a reliable network they can lean on in their time of need.  “We always say

Black-owned startup CourtRoom5 is a platform dedicated to providing everyone with access to the courts and justice available to all. Founded in 2017 by Sonja Ebron and Debra Slone, CourtRoom5 works to help civilians navigate the judicial system and offers affordable legal advice to people from marginalized communities who can’t afford legal aid. Navigating the judicial system Sonja Ebron PhD is an electrical engineer and entrepreneur with a background in AI. She co-founded CourtRoom5 with her wife Debra Slone PhD, a former library school professor and qualitative data analysis expert. Motivated by their own

Olympic gold medalists Lauryn Williams and Sanya Richards-Ross, also of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, are embarking on a new journey in the venture capital space. As Debut Capital company investors, Lauryn Williams and Richards-Ross have become two of the first venture capitalists to invest in the Black-owned hiring platform Us In Technology (UIT). “We are incredibly excited about helping UIT connect many more people of color, women, military veterans, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ+ community to life-changing opportunities within the tech industry,” said Richards-Ross. From Athletes

Miami-based property tech startup, BLCK, is offering a new solution to the average person hoping to earn passive income.  The startup founded by Samella Watson, is one of the first organizations in the rental trading sector to break into the technology world.  Through the use of technology, BLCK hopes their platform will help streamline the process of bidding on long-term leases, allowing anyone to become a rental host and grow their business.  “BLCK is the first to tap into the rental arbitrage sector via technology,” said founder Samella Watson.  “While

Lenovo has partnered with multi-award-winning actor, producer, recording artist, label president, and entrepreneur Queen Latifah to support small businesses. Launched last year, the tech giant’s Evolve Small program provides North American small businesses with financial aid, tech resources, community support, and business mentorship. “I understand the hardships small businesses face and how much more challenging those hardships can be for businesses owned by women and minorities,” Queen Latifah explained. “Knowing how the support I received back when I got started helped me get to where I am today – I’m excited to

Workbnb is on a mission to become the one-stop solution for workforce rentals, providing comfortable housing for traveling workers. Founded by Yeves Perez and headed up by Daj’Anique Staples, the startup is part of Techstars, one of the largest pre-seed investment programs in the world. A gap in the market  At the height of the pandemic in 2021, while working for his mother’s company, Perez noticed a gap in a multi-billion dollar industry. Businesses often need to provide their employees with temporary accommodation for extended periods. However, Perez realized that the travel rental industry largely neglected

Venture capital (VC) investment in African startups has seen a 33% increase compared to this time last year, according to gathered by The Big Deal. This follows similar reports of funding for African startups hitting new records in the first half of 2022. So far this year, more than 800 investors have contributed to at least one $100K+ startup deals on the continent.  Investors have also been far more active than in previous years. For example, 250 firms made at least two investments (45% more than in 2021), and 60 partook

Serena Williams is making big moves in the venture capital world. After announcing earlier this year, that she would be stepping away from tennis, Williams has embodied the phrase ‘put your money where your mouth is, by investing over $100 million in early-stage startups.  Ugandan-based fintech, Numida, is the latest business to benefit from investment from Serena Ventures. The fintech recently raised $12.3M in a pre-series A funding round led by Serena Ventures. Participation included the Pan-African VC fund, Launch Africa, Breega, Soma Capital, Y Combinator, and MFS Africa.   What is

Nigerian startup Stears has announced a $3.3 million seed round led by MaC Venture Capital which included Serena Ventures. What started as a written media publication by a group of Nigerian graduates is now a growing data insights company with its sights set on rivalling the likes of Bloomberg. Backed by Serena Ventures Serena Williams was playing in the US Open when the seed round for Stears came together. Nevertheless, according to Serena Ventures’ founding general partner, they were keen to invest and fought “tooth and nail” to get in.

Amazon has announced the launch of Amazon Catalytic Capital, a $150 million commitment focused on investing in Black, Latinx, Indigenous, women, and LGBTQIA+ builders in tech.  Amazon Catalytic Capital The initiative will provide capital to funds, venture studios, accelerators, or incubators committed to backing startups led by underrepresented founders. Recipients will also receive 1:1 mentorship from Amazon executives and unique business opportunities for partnerships, technical support, and scaling resources. Amazon Catalytic Capital aims to support at least 10 funds and 200 companies through the next year. So far, recipients include Collide

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