Sustainable Tech Companies at the Forefront of Climate Solutions

Political leaders at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) have spent the last two weeks discussing a slew of issues, challenges and proposed solutions around water scarcity, rising global temperatures, the effects of war and more. Leveraging technology will undeniably continue to play a role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to reach net

Investors See Growth, Opportunity and Returns in Sustainability Tech Funding

KEY INSIGHTS: Venture capital investing in climate tech reached a record $56 billion in 2021 and experts say it will continue to grow in the coming years.  Funds like Include Ventures and Green Power Ventures are led by Black investors who focus on providing capital to underrepresented green tech founders, funds and communities impacted by

Health Tech Founders Have Been Revolutionizing Digital Health Care Long Before The Pandemic

KEY INSIGHTS: Funding for digital health companies reached $10.3 billion in the first half of 2022, a slowdown from the record capital infusion in the industry in 2021. The Plug has identified over 100 Black-founded health tech companies focusing on mental health, skin health and maternal mortality. The top-funded health tech area in H1 2022

The State of Black Maternal Mortality: A Funding Crisis Addressing Power, Privilege and Policy 

KEY INSIGHTS: Research firm Creative Investment Research launched an impact investing vehicle calling on the Federal Reserve to create a funding facility to reduce Black maternal mortality.  Almost $35 million in venture capital funding has gone to Black women-founded maternal health startups, but the number is negligible compared to investment in overall healthcare technology.  Maternal

Founders Are Creating Platforms to Bridge the Gender Gap in Financial Investing 

KEY INSIGHTS: The CryptoMom App, an investment management platform for women, aims to close the gender divide in cryptocurrency. Women only comprise 32 percent of crypto holders, but reports and surveys have found interest is increasing. Other women-founded fintech companies have emerged in the last few years including CapWay and EnrichHER. Although cryptocurrency was built

‘Agonizing’: Black Maternal Health Startups Struggle for Funding but New Crop of Black Women VCs Show Support

KEY INSIGHTS While femtech funding is on the rise, reaching $1 billion in 2021, SheMatters founder said raising for her health platform to support Black mothers was still a struggle. Kapor Capital and Fearless Fund have invested in Black maternal health companies like Cayaba Care and Villie. Black women are three times more likely to

Black Innovation Alliance is Using $10K Grants to Highlight the Importance of Tech-Enabled Small Businesses

KEY INSIGHTS: Black Innovation Alliance partnered with Google to give away a total of $50,000 to five Black-owned businesses. In Philadelphia, Black and Mobile, a delivery service that exclusively delivers for Black-owned restaurants, received the $10,000 grant. If the number of Black-owned businesses reflected the makeup of the Greater Philadelphia Region, there would be 30,924

New Food Tech is Coming in Hot to Philly

Key Insights: Philadelphia is a hub for food innovation with the new Philly Startup Leader accelerator amplifying the number of people in the space. Black and Mobile is amplifying Black-owned restaurants through its delivery service platform that has expanded to four cities in addition to Philadelphia. Philly-founded Grovara has connected natural and organic brands to

Fearless Fund is Making Major Moves: Investing in Gabrielle Union, Hosting Star-Studded Summit and Getting Ready to Launch Fund II

KEY INSIGHTS: By the end of this year, the firm will launch its Fund II which will be larger than its $25MM+ Fund I. In the past month, it has invested more than $2 million in women of color-founded businesses, including one co-founded by Gabrielle Union. Since launching in 2019, Fearless Fund now has at

HBCU-Based Center for Black Entrepreneurship Gains Another Multi-Million Dollar Corporate Commitment

KEY INSIGHTS: Cisco is giving more than $4 million in grants and specialized technical services to Clark Atlanta, Morehouse and Spelman for the development of the Center for Black Entrepreneurship. Part of the funding will go to endowed faculty positions at the two colleges and the establishment of graduate-level programming at Clark Atlanta. This academic

Visible Hands is Investing in Underrepresented Founders in Philly

Key Insights: Visible hands launched its second accelerator cohort to support 51 underrepresented founders, three of whom are based in Philadelphia. In addition to going through the 14-week program, founders receive an initial $25,000 investment and have an opportunity to earn additional investments from the VC firm. There was a 56 percent increase in the

New Dating App ‘NADA’ Set To Pilot in Philadelphia

Key Insights: New dating app NADA “Not Another Dating App” is launching in Philadelphia this month. The online dating market is projected to grow to $28.4 billion by 2027. NADA plans to partner with local businesses to curate date experiences for users. When Earl Knight set out to create a new dating app, he intended

​Analysis: What Black Women Tech Leaders Are Up Against and the Future of Governance of Their Companies

Following the removal of Black Girls CODE’s CEO Kimberly Bryant, it’s time to take a look at and determine the future of governance of Black-women led companies.

Two Years After Launching, SaaS Startup Stimulus Isn’t Slowing Down

Key Insights: Stimulus closed an oversubscribed $2.5 million seed round with Black Ops VC as its lead investor. The Philadelphia-based company has used the funding to grow to a team of eight. The growth of global logistic, now a nearly $8.6 trillion industry, has helped the supply chain SaaS startup grow during the pandemic. From

JvS Philadelphia Fund for Women is Giving Grants to Women-Owned and Led Businesses in the Region

Key Insights: JvS Philadelphia Fund for Women has committed $2 million to support women entrepreneurs in Philadelphia. The fund partnered with Ben Franklin to make nine investments in technology-based ventures led by women in Philadelphia. The JvS Fund is accepting applications for its next round of funding to support women-owned and led businesses positioned for

Black Web3 Founders Still See Growth and Opportunity in NFTs, Crypto

Key Insights: Twenty-five percent of Black Americans own cryptocurrency compared to 15 percent of white Americans. The price of bitcoin is down more than 70 percent from its peak in 2021, but Web3 professionals say this is part of the crypto cycle. VC funds for crypto-focused start-ups continue to grow as evidenced by a new

Research Fellowship

The Plug is looking for Research Fellows to help develop strategy and vision for research initiatives focused on Black innovation communities and technical talent. Fellows will receive mentorship, supervision, and support in cultivating data analysis and investigative skills, in addition to opportunities to write and contribute and publish stories via The Plug at

New Report Finds Progress in Pipeline For Acquiring Black Tech Talent Is Now Regressing

The current share of Black talent in technical roles has increased just 0.6 percent since 2018. Fewer Black students are earning computer science degrees than six years ago. The report suggests major changes in the private and public sectors to fundamentally change the system so that Black people are truly represented in the tech workforce.

New Friends & Family Accelerator To Serve As A $20,000 Launch Pad For Underrepresented Founders

The new Friends & Family accelerator will serve as a launch pad for early-stage companies led by underrepresented founders. The program is the brainchild of community nonprofit Grid110 and venture firm Slauson & Co. Twenty companies have been selected for the initial cohort and will each receive $20,000 in funding in addition to 12 weeks of training. 

Black-led Music and Entertainment Tech Companies That Are Turning The Industry On Its Head

In collaboration with Water & Music, The Plug caught up with the Black founders and fund managers that are changing the music and entertainment industry. A selection of companies in U.S. and beyond stood out as industry game-changers for their business models that make equity and opportunity front and center. Addressing market demand in newly formed venture and technology hubs could skew ownership to be far more equitable.

How These Black Women-led Businesses Are Setting The Tone In 2022

From fighting food waste, and creating safe spaces online to transforming the retail experience for local businesses, Black women-led tech companies have their sights set on expansion through 2022. Goodr CEO Jasmine Crowe, Seventh Avenue cofounder Diaundra Jones and PopCom CEO Dawn Dickson plot how they’ll make waves this year. 

What You Read Most This Year: The Plug ‘Best of’ Reader Edition

Our readers have spoken and here are the top posts this year by page views.
Our reporting followed the money and demanded receipts of the racial equity movement and provided proof of the value in the work of the Black tech ecosystem. Wins by Black founders, funds were celebrated and the new frontier of tech that stands to make African nations billions in GDP was examined.

Distillery Du Nord Social Spirits Partnership with Delta Increases Black Ownership

Distillery Du Nord Social Spirits is a part of Delta’s initiative to double spending among Black businesses in 2025.
In 2020, Black founders led just a handful of the 2,220 craft distilleries in the U.S.
As the number of Black distilleries grows, it’s become a contested fact of which was first established.

‘New HBCU Attitude At Google’: How The Tech Giant Is Trying To Strengthen Partnerships With Historically Black Colleges

Google is changing how it approaches HBCUs, working on fostering intentional partnerships. Derek McGowan, who joined the tech giant in March, is heading up the new efforts. The shift comes after Google was criticized following the firing of two prominent Black women.

A Burgeoning Industry Of Tech Takes Root In Baltimore With Techstars’ Monica Wheat At The Helm

A burgeoning sector takes root in Baltimore under Techstars first equitech accelerator. The accelerator and a mission-driven organization are intent on building a 21st century economy in the minority-majority city. Tech ecosystem building expert Monica Wheat applies lessons learned as a VC and from working in Detroit.

Training The Next Generation Of Black Investors, WIth Rodney Sampson

The Plug hosted a live discussion with Rodney Sampson, 100 Black Angel general partner and the CEO of Opportunity Hub (OHUB), a startup and venture space leveling the playing field for the Black tech ecosystem. “We’re teaching [investors] how to operationalize racial equity in their company,” Sampson said, announcing a new investor training and certificate programs for Black and ally investors.

Amass Launches To Bolster Black Wealth Through Alt investment Education And Insider Investments

Amass aims to chip away at the racial wealth gap through exclusive alternative investments. The platform which has an educational component was launched by Daron Roberts and Abby Coleman. A more affordable fee structure makes the platform more attractive for investors.

Genius Guild’s Greenhouse Fund Announces Investment in Anime Fandom Social Platform QuirkChat

Last week, Chicago-based Greenhouse Fund, an investment firm led by entrepreneur Kathryn Finney, announced their investment in QuirkChat, a social application for anime fandom discussion created by 29-year-old Bee Law. QuirkChat is currently raising seed capital, with the new investment by Greenhouse Fund bringing the company’s total funding to $750,000.

Corporate America’s Progress In Creating An Inclusive Workplace For Its Employees

Diversity, equity and inclusion experienced a reckoning in 2020, when it seemed virtually all tech companies deemed it of paramount importance after the death of George Floyd. The simultaneous onslaught of a virus disproportionately affecting Black people and the harsh reminder of deep-seated racism meant corporate America took a stance as it never had before.

Creating the Majority-Minority Tech Hubs for the Future of Work

When educator Tiffany Shumate relocated to Oakland from the East Coast four years ago, she found that the luster and resources of nearby Silicon Valley didn’t cross the bridge to her community, even though she’d heard Big Tech companies issue platitudes about wanting to be involved.

As Unemployment Levels, Black Owned And Hiring Shares DEI Insights For The Black Workforce

13 percent of Black workers are unemployed, compared to seven percent of white workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, making Black workers one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. But as businesses begin to reopen and jobs are added to the market, helping Black people find inclusive workplaces is also vital.

Beyond The Pandemic Bloc Delivery Has A Plan To Help Small Businesses Thrive in Philadelphia

At the height of the pandemic, Philadelphia’s unemployment rate was 17 percent, and businesses and residents struggled to make it through. Seeing this seemingly insurmountable problem, some of the city’s brightest technologists stepped forward last year to build and use their talents to solve specific issues their communities face because of the pandemic.

Report Preview: The State of the HBCU Innovation Ecosystem

A new report on the state of the HBCU innovation ecosystem seeks to answer whether or not an influx of large corporations and investment firms that announced new initiatives with historically Black colleges and universities since the murder of George Floyd last summer, many aimed at promoting innovation and tech careers, have actually made an impact. Interim findings show that though more than 120 such programs now exist, student engagement with them varies among the different HBCUs.

Detroit’s Scooter Rideshare Service Boaz Bikes Becomes A Rising Star

The ubiquitousness of shared ride bicycle and scooter services have ceased to be a novelty. Boaz Bikes joins competitors but is unique, not only as a Black-led and woman co-founded startup, but in its emphasis on safety and in its ability to pivot to accommodate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to CEO Emil Nnani.

Google For Startups Black Founders Fund Awards $5 Million to 50 Companies

Google has announced the recipients of its second $5 million Google for Startups Black Founders Fund. The 50 founders, who range from educational tech entrepreneurs to creators of a freelance marketplace, will each receive $100,000 in non-dilutive funding from the tech giant along with other resources.

Protests, Layoffs, and a Pandemic: How Diversity and Inclusion Advocates Are Navigating Tech’s Future

Like most industries, tech has certainly not been immune to the national turmoil of the past seven months. As America continues to grapple simultaneously with COVID-19 and a racial reckoning, many companies are struggling to navigate both pandemics.

Black Tech Startups to Watch at CES

The world’s largest consumer technology show is underway today, opening its doors to industry leaders from over 155 countries. Our team hit the ground at the Consumer Electronics Show yesterday to get a sneak peek at the tradeshow floor and to listen in on technology trends advancing mobility, smart cities, and the debatable ethics that will govern artificial intelligence powering these advancements.

Atlanta’s ‘Godfather of Tech’ Has Big Ambitions for the Black Mecca

Most non-ATLiens who know the name Paul Judge learned it from his current cameos on Bravo’s hit reality series, “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.” (TLDR: NeNe recently infuriated his fiancée, Tanya Sam, by suggesting that Judge wasn’t her ultimate true love.) Locally, however, the entrepreneur-investor’s presence looms large—so much so that he’s often referred to as the city’s “Godfather of Tech.”

Black Innovation Thrives in the UK Despite Low Minority Representation in Tech

The United Kingdom tech sector shares common characteristics with its U.S. counterpart: the industry is a shining beacon of cutting-edge innovation, home to several startup ‘unicorns’, and operates with a noticeable lack of minority representation in technical and leadership roles. Similar to Silicon Valley, the overused “pipeline problem” narrative in Britain suggests there are not enough qualified Black candidates to fulfill technical roles at major companies.