The Plug hosted a live discussion with Harold Hughes the founder and CEO of Bandwagon, a live events technology company on how enterprises can integrate blockchain-enabled tools. Hughes has taken a simplistic less is more approach. “If you don’t need blockchain, you shouldn’t use it. And if you are using it, you should put as little on it as possible given the computation power that’s required, the energy and the permanence of it all,” Hughes said. But he explains how these technologies have the potential to help marginalized communities access financial systems that have long excluded them.
Career Karma has raised a $40 million Series B, a year after its $10 million Series A raise. The career reskilling platform has grown from 1 million monthly page views to 3 million per month, introducing up to 25,000 users to job training programs monthly. The company has crossed 8-figures in annual recurring revenue (ARR) and growth plans include expansion into higher education and enterprise clients.
Key Insights Big tech companies like Apple, Facebook and Google work to increase senior-level positions held by Black employees by 2025.
The Management Leadership for Tomorrow’s Black Equity At Work MLT and CNote collaboration adds corporate investment to Black communities.
Fifty-three percent of Apple employees are women or from historically underrepresented groups in tech.
Since launching in 2020, founders Sheridan Clayborne and Mitchell Jones have made it their goal to help U.S. workers tap into the $300 billion in benefits that go underutilized each year.
Morgan Stanley’s focus on diverse companies like ABF Creative made founder Anthony Frasier feel at home in the accelerator program. After participating in the program, the company reached a new revenue milestone. As the company grows, Frasier plans on launching a new slate of original programming.
The Plug looks at electric vehicle repair and reskilling company ChargerHelp. Founders Kameale Terry and Evette Ellis walk through their journey to launching and capitalizing the company, intent on providing upward economic mobility for workers. Through the case study, learn how Terry and Ellis will meet the demand for the 130 million EVs that will be on U.S. roads by 2030.
Since participating in Morgan Stanley’s Multicultural Innovation Lab Goalsetter founder Tanya Van Court has gone on to gain several large investors. The company’s user base has grown to 250,000 users. The mission of the company to increase financial literacy among families of color aligns with the MCIL’s focus on founders of color.
Nearly one-third of the jobs that will exist in 10 years have yet to be invented. As companies scour the world in search of the best talent in artificial intelligence, cloud computing, cybersecurity, and other high tech-enabled skills, the gaps within America’s workforce are ever increasing.
At the start of 2020, future of work projections centered around automation, AI, and fears that rapid adoption of robotics would displace jobs. Models by McKinsey forecasted “some jobs being phased out but sufficient numbers being added at the same time to produce net positive job growth for the United States as a whole through 2030.”
Having weathered the clamorous storms of the pandemic and widespread reduction of concerts, athletic games, and other public gatherings, live event tickets platform company Bandwagon saw unexpected revenue gains of 212% by making several strategic moves, including the purchase of customizable ticketing platform, IdealSeat.
At a time where mounting job losses and unemployment is rising, and service-based jobs are threatened by higher adoption of automation tools, America’s workforce is uniquely desperate for solutions to retrain and re-skill its workers in an increasingly technology-driven economy.
“Igot the crazy idea that maybe I can be the person to make this necklace that was also headphones,” said Aniyia Williams, founder and CEO of Tinsel. The Dipper, known as “ the world’s first audio necklace,” signifies the fruits of Williams’ labor, two years in the making.
A year ago, Kai Frazier gave up her home and the life she knew in Washington, D.C. to pursue a social impact driven venture that would transform the way children in impoverished communities view history and culture through virtual reality. Nearly 3,000 miles from her comfort zone in the nation’s capital, Kai got to work in Oakland solidifying her presence as a VR founder.
As the recession looms, Resilia, announced today the close of its $8 million Series A round. Launched in New Orleans in 2016 by founder and serial entrepreneur Sevetri Wilson, the software as a service platform serves a two-sided market enabling grantors like cities, private foundations, and corporations to deploy capital quickly and efficiently while giving nonprofits expanded tools for compliance, management, training, and funding.
When Target acquired Birmingham’s same-day delivery platform Shipt in 2017, the exit set off a lot of positives and gave local entrepreneurs in the region hope for similar success.
Since the beginning of 2020, the nation has been in the throes of the pandemic, and it seems as though the end is nowhere in sight. The unemployment rate is at 8.4% as of August and businesses are shuttering for good across the U.S. as the struggle for financial support continues.
Michigan has been hit with a wave of challenges this year. Since the pandemic began, there have been over 127,000 confirmed cases of COVID in the state and close to 7,000 deaths. The state’s economy, which was doing ok before shutdowns and stay at home orders, is just now seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.
The racial wealth gap has ballooned after 41% of small Black-owned businesses were forced to shutter because of the coronavirus pandemic. Since 2016, the average white American family has had a net worth of $171,000, ten times the net worth of $17,150 for the average Black family. The pandemic further aggravated systemic racism and financial hardships.
Enterprise leadership training platform ExecOnline has raised a $45 million Series D, led by OMERS Growth Equity, bringing the company’s total funding to $87 million. Co-founder and CEO Stephen Bailey wants to democratize access to leadership grooming within corporate organizations.
Zero Grocery, a San Francisco-based plastic-free food delivery service, is expanding to Los Angeles, just a year after launching. The company is one of the first plastic-free grocery delivery services in the United States, with a mission to make cleaner, healthier and cheaper food convenient while tackling the impact of plastic waste from food consumption from its root – by only providing food in sustainable, plastic-free packaging.
From Black Lives Matter and police brutality, to COVID-19 and racial disparities in public health, millions of people took to the streets last summer to protest injustice. For many Americans, however, their words and posters do not match their financial investments — a disconnect two organizations are attempting to fight in Philadelphia and throughout the country.
In a city whose tech sector is steeped with racial and gender inequity, a new partnership among three of Philadelphia’s leading tech advocacy and education organizations aims to provide budding entrepreneurs of color the opportunity to receive mentorship from industry leaders through a program called Mentor Connect — the first of its kind in the city.
Courtney Williamson, Ph.D. is founder and CEO of AbiliLife, a tech company that engineers products for elderly and neurodegenerative patients. Years ago, Williamson and her family took on the role as caregivers to her mother, Antoinette, after she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Her mother’s 25-year battle with the disease would become the inspiration for medical equipment providing support to more than 600 diagnosis codes. The most necessary resource at the start of Williamson’s entrepreneurial journey was selflessness.
In 2008, in the middle of one of the worst recessions in America’s history, Tiffanie Stanard made a decision. She would take all of the money from her personal savings she stashed for a year –
MedHaul founder and CEO Erica Plybeah launched her company in 2017 as a two-sided platform to connect vulnerable patients to transportation and a way for medical providers to gain better access to the communities they serve. In 2020, Plybeah participated in Morgan Stanley’s Multicultural Innovation Lab and learned valuable lessons on making the shift from founder to CEO–a distinction that helped the company close a funding round and grow its venture backing to $1.6 million.
For 11 years, Jarrett Carter Sr. has been synonymous with historically Black colleges and universities. As founding editor of the HBCU Digest, he has produced nonstop coverage of some of the nation’s most storied higher education institutions.
Just one year after announcing its $10 million commitment to investing in underrepresented founders, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) has doubled down on its diversity initiatives by introducing a new programming track at its annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) conference for those looking to see women and founders of color gracing the show’s stages.
The Plug spoke with Black founders who are also angel investors to learn about how they plot investments while managing to run successful companies. Their investments range from $1,000 to $1 million, yet each deploys overlapping strategies. From first money in, to syndicate, and mutual funds founders Sevetri Wilson, Harold Hughes and Su Sanni manage deal flow while running successful companies.
As the world accelerated to virtual gatherings in the early weeks of March’s COVID downfall, companies and school systems alike bombarded video conferencing software tools like Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft meetings, and others hoping to keep connected and business running amid an abnormal environment.
On a typical weekday, New York City subway stations can expect an estimated 5.5 million riders clamoring on their platforms in a rush to get to work across any of the five boroughs. Boasting the country’s largest mass transit system, New York virtually came to a screeching halt as COVID-19 forced most commuters indoors during the March shelter-in-place shutdown.
Dr. Eric Whitaker first saw the disparities of the underserved and uninsured while fighting the AIDS crisis in San Francisco in the late 1970s and early 1980s. A few decades later, having hung up his doctor’s coat to work in the private sector, Dr.Whitaker is addressing health insurance disparities with his latest startup, Zing Health.
When Donnel Baird founded BlocPower in 2013, he dreamed of making buildings greener and more energy and cost-efficient. Eight years later, Baird’s $63 million Series A raise for BlocPower is a long-wrought victory, and his work is just getting started. Since launching in 2013, the financial landscape had been tenuous for Baird.
The film industry may still be synonymous with Hollywood, but FilmHedge would like to change where films are financed. The two-sided investment marketplace, based in Atlanta, is seeing an uptick in deal flow since the platform launched last year.