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Mexican fintech company OCN, which offers car rental models for gig workers in Mexico and the US, has successfully raised $86 million in equity and debt. The Series A funding round was led by Brazil’s Caravela Capital, with additional contributions from Collide Capital and Great North Ventures on the equity side, and New York-based i80 Group leading the debt portion. Innovative Solutions For Gig Workers Launched in 2022, OCN provides gig workers with new car rentals on a weekly fee basis, inclusive of maintenance and insurance.  Users also have the

The National Park Service (NPS) has awarded $10.67 million to 15 projects across eight states under the Historic Preservation Fund’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) grant program.  This initiative is dedicated to repairing historic structures on HBCU campuses, ensuring that the sites are preserved for future generations. Preserving Historic HBCU Landmarks The grants will support the restoration of several significant buildings, such as Simmons College’s Steward Hall, Delaware State University’s Hope House, and Cheyney University of Pennsylvania’s Melrose Cottage.  Simmons College, the only private HBCU in Kentucky, will use

South Africa’s leading digital bank, TymeBank, has successfully raised $77.8 million in a pre-Series C funding round. The round was co-led by African growth-stage investor Norrsken22 and global impact investment firm Blue Earth Capital.  This increase of capital brings TymeBank’s total raised funds to over $260 million, marking a milestone in the bank’s growth and expansion plans. Existing investor Tencent, which spearheaded TymeBank’s $180 million Series B round in December 2021, also participated in this round, further increasing its stake to become the third-largest shareholder.  Strategic Investments and Growth Launched

Earlybird AI, a B2B startup that assists job seekers using innovative multilingual, voice-first AI technology, has raised £625,000 ($800,000) in pre-seed funding.  The investment comes from diverse backers, including Google, Resolution Ventures, and Ada Ventures.  Tackling Unemployment With AI Earlybird AI addresses a pressing issue: nearly 11 million people in the UK are unemployed, and the unemployment rate rose to 4.4% between February and April 2024. Founded by Claudine Adeyemi-Adams and Boris Bambo, the platform improves employment support by directly engaging participants through simulated voice-powered connections. Adeyemi-Adams, who experienced homelessness

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards recently unveiled a plan to establish a new diversity tech and innovation center in Long Island City, slated to open in early 2025.  Empowering Minority-Owned Startups Partnering with Pursuit, a Queens-based non-profit, the Queens Diversity Tech Hub will occupy a 7,000-square-foot space in the Pursuit building at 47-10 Austell Place.  This state-of-the-art facility will serve as a launchpad for up to 50 emerging startups, targeting minority-owned businesses seeking seed and Series A funding.  The initiative is set to address the funding challenges faced by startups

NASA has awarded $1.2 million to 23 minority-serving institutions (MSIs), including Spelman College, Fayetteville State University, Hampton University, and New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. This funding aims to enhance their science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), research and technology capabilities while contributing to NASA’s missions. Advancing STEM at Minority-Serving Institutions The awards are part of NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) Partnership Learning Annual Notification (MPLAN) initiative.  Each selected institution will receive up to $50,000 over six months, allowing them to work directly on STEM projects

Cadana has raised $7.1 million in seed funding this year. Launched in 2021, the startup allows global workforces to integrate payments and payroll management into their systems. Cadana According to the company, the world’s largest payroll platforms and talent marketplaces use Cadana’s APIs to build compliant hiring products in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Founders Albert Owusu-Asare and Ameer Shujjah, who are originally from Ghana and Pakistan, gained years of experience working at Amazon, Esusu, and Goldman Sachs before founding the company. Although the pair appreciated their version of the

Prósperos has successfully raised $3 million in seed funding to advance its mission of empowering Latine communities through innovative financial solutions.  This funding round saw investments from FEBE Ventures, BAT VC, Tekton Ventures, and Courtyard Ventures, among others. Revolutionizing Financial Services For Latine Communities Founded in 2023 by Vinay Pai and Salvador Chavez, Prósperos aims to transform the financial landscape for Latine communities in the USA and Latin America.  The Prósperos platform provides two bank accounts and cards: one for the account holder in the USA and another for their

Crowdaa, a French company founded by Vigile Hoareau and Jimmy Thomas, has secured €1.2 million ($1.29M)  in a seed round led by Apicap.  The company aims to make app creation accessible to non-developers, allowing them to release mobile apps quickly.  Initially focusing on music, Crowdaa expanded its services during the pandemic to cater to a broader audience, including sports teams, organizations, and political parties.  This new funding will enable Crowdaa to enhance its technology and embark on an ambitious US expansion. Innovative Solutions For Content Creators Crowdaa’s platform allows users

Black-led venture capital firm Harlem Capital is raising a $150 million fund, according to documents filed with the SEC. Harlem Capital, founded in 2015 by Henri Pierre-Jacques and Jarrid Tingle, aims to change the face of entrepreneurship by investing in 1,000 diverse founders. Harlem Capital’s Funds To Date The new fund, if raised, will be the firm’s third and most significant to date after raising $134 million in 2021 and $40 million in 2019. Its second fund focused on early-stage post-product companies from all sectors but a particular focus on consumer and enterprise tech.

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