From The Newsletter: Building Upon the Black Unicorn

Key Insights: 

  • Black-led unicorns are on the rise as Esusu secures a $1 billion valuation for it’s alt-data credit history service. 
  • As the company celebrated its status another Black-led unicorn faced criticism for its calendar scheduling service. 
  • The Plug predicted the industries in which the next Black-led unicorns may arise.

Esusu, a fintech company that uses a non-traditional metric of on-time rent payments to evaluate users’ creditworthiness and report it to bureaus reached a billion-dollar valuation last week.This was a big win for the company as it joins a growing class of Black-led unicorn companies. 

On the enterprise-facing side, Tope Awotona’s scheduling platform Calendly was abuzz last week from complaints lodged by some users about the power dynamic of referring someone to a Calendly link as others defended using the platform.

While there will always be detractors, these founders have had a knack for fitting solutions to  fundamental needs. Technologies like Esusu’s and Calendly’s both serve a niche and a universal problem. 

In 2020, The Plug predicted the rise of the Black-led unicorn and cast bets on the industries in which these companies would emerge. The Plug had identified more than half a dozen Black-led companies that were well-positioned to be worth over $1 billion. These companies represented a wide range of industries including SaaS, consumer technology, sustainable meat alternatives, enterprise tech and transportation.

The company trajectories of what Awotona and Esusu’s cofounder Abbey Wemimo have built will serve as a blueprint for other Black-led companies on this same path.

Monica Melton

Monica Melton is the managing editor of The Plug Insights. She previously covered innovation, technology, and venture capital at Forbes. She has also covered politics at POLITICO, entertainment for Time Out New York, but her most fascinating beat has been covering the intersection of technology, finance, and entrepreneurship. She is an alumna of CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and the University of Washington.