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Startups

Yonas Beshawred, the CEO of StackShare and countless other ventures, is a man not afraid to tell it as it is and this skill has worked in his favor. His venture, StackShare, a platform that allows software developers and tech companies to share their tools and how they use them, has gone from strength to strength since its launch in 2014. What first started as a side project on a WordPress blog, StackShare has raised $7 million and reached 1M developers, engineers, CTOs, VPEs, architects, and founders. Although the journey

Arlan Hamilton has paved the way for hundreds of underrepresented founders for just over half a decade. Her firm, Backstage Capital, one of the first Venture Capital companies to invest solely in start-ups led by minorities, now celebrates its 6th year. With 180 deals already – the firm has invested in a range of startups since its launch on September 15, 2015 – from online beauty retailers to satellite internet companies. Outside of Backstage Capital, Arlan has committed personal capital to more than 20 emerging fund managers. And since the

Nigeria’s one-click checkout platform OurPass has raised $1Million during its pre-seed round to help it scale its business across the country.  The West Africa e-commerce market is still heavily reliant on cash on delivery, according to a recent survey conducted by Jumia. As of 2019, 70% of Nigerians said they prefer cash on delivery options to make online payments. But for those who do try to buy online – yearly, about 75% of shopping carts are abandoned because of how difficult the checkout experience can be with long forms and

Issa Rae keeps her private life to herself, but when it comes to business, she’s all about “getting her bag.” As she prepares for the return of Insecure season 5, a show about navigating through adulthood from an African-American female perspective, POCIT has decided to take a deep dive into her several startup investments. We break down which companies the producer, actress, and writer has invested into and how the businesses are thriving. Streamlytic – Founded in 2018 It seems Issa’s first investment was in a tech company that aims to

Minority Equality Opportunities Acquisition Inc, known as MEOA for short, is now the first Black-led special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) traded on the Nasdaq Capital Market. The news on the milestone move comes after MEOA, which will continue to focus on historically undercapitalized minority-owned or controlled businesses, closed a $126.5 million upsized IPO of units on August 30. Its founders – chairman Shawn Rochester and CEO Robin Watkins – believe “the mission and purpose of MEOA will help catapult minority enterprise in this country.” Mr. Rochester told the Seattle Times that as a

London-based digital-first car insurance provider Marshmallow has just become the UK’s second Black-founded unicorn after raising an $83million Series B – valuing it at $1.25 billion. The start-up’s founders Oliver and Alexander Kent-Braham, who are twins, first launched the platform in 2017 – initially set out to serve ex-pats who struggled to find affordable insurance. But since its boom and rapid scale in business – the firm now describes itself as a “mass market.” According to Sifted, it is one of only two UK insurance start-ups to be granted a license

Nigeria’s Prospa has just closed a $3.8 million pre-seed round that will allow the fintech startup to offer small businesses banking and software services. The West-African-based firm caters to freelancers and entrepreneurs acting as the “operating system” for their businesses by providing bank accounts, tax support, advice on creating a unique name, and more. The start-up, launched by trio Frederik Obasi, Chioma Ugo, and Rodney Jackson-Cole, has already had some success over the last few months – in March, it was one of the 10 African startups participating in Y Combinator’s (YC)

It’s not easy being a Black founder – there are many hurdles you have to climb before getting to the top, and one example includes the funding and investment process. Just 1% of Venture Capital (VC) firms financially back founders from the Black community in the US – while in the UK, that number sits at a ridiculously low 0.24%. According to BLCK VC, a nonprofit organization that equips Black investors to accelerate their careers in VC, more than 80 percent of venture firms in America don’t even have a single Black

Nigerian automotive tech company Autochek has announced the acquisition of Cheki Uganda and Kenya from Ringier One Africa Media in what has been described as a “milestone” move. Cheki, which first launched a decade ago in Kenya, has grown into a well-known car dealer site – spearheading the industry with 700,000 users and over 12,000 vehicle lists monthly. The start-up eventually expanded its operations to Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania before ROAM was acquired in 2017. But now, according to a statement on ROAM’s website, the business where people can

Following the first detection of the coronavirus in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, COVID-19 has reached pandemic proportions, affecting students and schooling at all levels.  In a March 2021 press release, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) claimed that the temporary closure of educational institutions affected over 168 million children worldwide who stayed home as countries worked to flatten the curve. Consequently, schools transited to online learning.  International human rights organization, Amnesty International, reported that students were cut off from schools when the COVID-19 pandemic hit South Africa, leaving hundreds and

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