Black Tech Companies You Can Invest in NOW

Back by popular demand, I have curated a list of companies led by Black founders that are generating revenue and seeking capital. Here is the deal flow you have been looking for.

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Me winning $125,000 in the MEDA $1M pitch competition in 2019

The rise of the Black Lives Matter movement across the world has resulted in an increased interest of investors to find Black founder led companies to place their capital. Many venture capital funds have jumped on the bandwagon posting #BlackLivesMatter and pledging more capital allocated to Black founders. In the words of investor and the founder and managing partner of Backstage, Arlan Hamilton “It’s About Damn Time!” (which also happens to be the title of her bestselling book, grab a copy today).

Time will tell what these big players do, however, Black start-up founders are no longer relying on institutions to fund their companies and have been turning to non-traditional ways to raise capital including equity crowdfunding, and smaller, private angel rounds.

Over the past few years the underwhelming statistics about the success of Black technology founders (men and women) raising money from venture capital investors has made headlines and the community has demanded change. Too often, Black people and under-represented communities are left out of early stage deals and can only invest when the company goes public because early stage deals are reserved or accredited investors (i.e. wealthy individuals and couples). The opportunity to invest early, take bigger risks for a potentially greater return is how the rich get wealthy. Investing early and exercising group economics is how we will build up our tech companies to rival the ‘unicorns’ of Silicon Valley.

Are you in? Are you ready to invest in a Black-owned company? You can start today. We have done the work for you by compiling a list of our favorite tech and tech-enabled companies that are raising capital right now. They are in no particular order.

Here is the deal flow you have been looking for:

PopCom (Software, Hardware, Retail)

PopCom is an automated retail technology company that has built a software (SaaS) & connected (IoT) platform for vending machines and kiosks that provides deep consumer insights and engagement for machine operators. Founded by Dawn Dickson in 2013 as a hardware company, the company is seeking investment to help solidify its strong position in the industry as well as grow its operations, build its sales team, reach more customers, and meet the demand for more automated retail machines in the wake of COVID-19, with their proprietary vending machine, the PopShop Kiosk. PopCom has recently completed development on a new blockchain-enabled software platform that will enable consumers to securely buy government-regulated products (e.g. cannabis, pharmaceuticals, and alcohol) from vending machines and ensure retailers stay complaint. The company has two patents pending for a highly unique and innovative automated retail hardware design called PopShop Kiosks with solid software IP, has raised $3.3 million to date from angel investors and VC funds, has secured paid pilots, and has $3.72M in projected software annual recurring revenue in the pipeline. Dawn was featured on the cover of Black Enterprise magazine in June 2018, was named as INC Magazine’s top 100 Female Tech Founders in 2019 and became the first female founder to raise over $1M in an equity crowdfunding campaign. For more information go to www.StartEngine.com/PopCom

Calyxeum (Cannabis, Cultivation, Processing, Social Impact)

Calyxeum is an MBE/WBE certified small business located in Detroit, MI. Calyxeum is a boutique Cannabis Cultivation and Processing operation focused on providing underrepresented populations with access to high-quality Cannabis products. Calyxeum also has a Community Impact Initiative with plans to rehabilitate abandoned homes, build community gardens and offer workforce development programs for people of color looking to gain employment and ownership access in Legal Cannabis. Calyxeum founders have over 10 years of experience in Michigan’s burgeoning Cannabis industry and are Social Equity applicants. The team has successfully passed Phase 1 of the Michigan Medical Cannabis Licensing Program with the overwhelming support of the local Detroit community. Calyxeum is seeking a $2M total investment to execute Phase 2 which includes capital expenditures and operating expenses. The founders are exploring Minority Investments from Individuals and Firms who can help drive value creation. They are also considering Senior Debt, and other debt financing resources, to minimize equity dilution. For more information please contact the CEO Rebecca Colett rcolett@calyxeum.com or visit www.calyxeum.com.

CareCutz (Mobile Application, Social Impact, Healthcare, Hair & Beauty)

CareCutz is a matchmaking platform that creates education for salon pros (barbers & stylists) to be equipped when providing hair services to individuals living with a disability. CareCutz is a unique for-profit company that has a huge social impact allowing for equal access and inclusion for the disabilities community. The company has a unique automated training system, helping salon pros earn disability specific certifications that boost their visibility on the platform along with client reviews and ratings, ultimately enabling them to gain more clients. Founded by Marvin Green in 2010, the company began manually connecting people to over 16,000 hair services through state agencies. Two years ago they pivoted to create and launch a digital solution to enable exponential, national growth with partnerships with Goodwill, Special Olympics, and DS-Connex. The next step is the initial beta launch to gather feedback and testimonials to launch publicly. The company is currently raising a seed fund of $350K to reach their next milestone of connecting 240,000 services digitally. For more information on the investment opportunity, contact Marvin Green — marvin.green@carecutz.com.

Streamlytics (Big Data, Technology)

Streamlytics is transferring the value of your data back to where it belongs, with you. Streamlytics is creating the future of data transactions with B2C products to help users reclaim ownership of their own data and give them a chance to monetize it. Companies pay Streamlytics for access to this treasure trove of packaged data through one of our B2B products. The company has built proprietary technology to value personal data streams as well as standardize data transfer formats. Our proprietary data standard UDIF (Universal Data Interchange Format) is the future of data transfers between individuals, products, and organizations. The demand for data is only growing as AI improves, the total addressable market is $1.3T based on the growing activity in Data-Driven Marketing, AI, and the ever-growing spending of streaming companies. In their efforts to bring data ownership back to the people, the company is focused on growing populations. Minority communities are set to be the majority by 2045 in the US and their flagship product Clture focuses specifically on this fast-growing group. Since launch, the company has collected 5M data points in our first week of operation. Led by award winning Entrepreneur and Technologist Angela Benton, the company has received investments from heavy hitters including Issa Rae. To invest in Streamlytics at www.startengine.com/streamlytics.

Yae! Organics (Health, Wellness)

Yae! Organics provides functional supplements, beverages, snacks and skincare derived from the highest quality fruits and vegetables. With products including juice powders, juice bites, and snack bars. According to the CDC 90% of Americans fail to receive the recommended dose of fruits and vegetables. Yae! Organics makes meeting your daily quotient of fruits and vegetables easy. The healthy eating industry is a mammoth $702 billion industry. Functional snacks, beverages, and supplements alone make up $232 billion. Yae! Organics is founded by Lorenzo Holley. “While many of the “better for you” trends overlap within the African American community, wellness as a whole has been slow to embrace African Americans.” Lorenzo plans to close the gap with Yae! Organics. Lorenzo created Yae! Organics, to make it easy to get healthy organic juices and snacks-to carry us conveniently from A to B and everywhere in between. Yae! Organics has generated nearly $400,000 in revenue and has grown 111% in 2020 to date. The company is currently raising capital to expand production capacity, marketing, and distribution. Yae! Organics is offering common stock on the Start Engine crowdfund platform. The company has raised $99,000, of a $107,000 maximum round. The minimum investment is $299.99. Invest at www.startengine.com/yae-organics

Housing Joint Venture (Real Estate Tech)

Housing Joint Venture is literally enabling everyday people to “buy back the block”. The business is on a mission to create belonging and pride to all people by offering (1) on-demand “real estate investor-to-be” education and (2) investment opportunities to revitalize inner city properties in the Midwest through a buy, fix and rent strategy. They level the playing field by facilitating investments an asset class that is typically off-limits to ‘normal people”. Traditional banks do not typically lend in lower cost communities which creates an undervalued market. Properties can often be purchased for less than they are worth. Investors receive strong returns while previously under-invested neighborhoods gain a restoration of vibrancy and dignity for the residents. Co-Founded by 2nd generation real estate developer John Delia Jr., Housing Joint Venture is currently raising a $1M seed round to allow their platform to provide value-add real estate investments at scale. If interested, please contact john@housingjv.com for more information.

Scizzrs (Tech, Personal Care)

Scizzrs provides a frictionless experience, bringing top-rated, vetted hairstyling services to your most comfortable location — whether that be your home, office, salon, or hotel. Premium on-location grooming and personal care services were traditionally only extended to high-profile clientele, the Scizzrs team aims to provide these services to anyone who needs them, anytime. Scizzrs was Co-founded by Frederick Akpoghene, Nimbe Oviosu, Bayo Omoyeni. The founders have deep backgrounds in software engineering, technology development, corporate finance, and bringing consumer technology products to market. Scizzrs, Inc. is raising a $600,000 seed round from strategic angel investors to allow the company to scale its marketing and user-acquisition strategy and add new features and functionality its mobile application. Scizzrs has traction from several executed pilots across the New York Metropolis area. The company is currently generating revenue and has a high satisfaction rate from a recurring customer base. The company plans to expand to other major cities, increasing its user base from 37,000 to 500,000 users by June 2021 and to meet the goal of signing up 100 corporate accounts by September 2021. To invest, contact Scizzrs at info@scizzrs.com or frederick@scizzrs.com.

Life on Autopilot “LOA” (Luxury Travel Goods)

Life On Autopilot was created after years of frequent flying with uninspiring bags and being frustrated with the lack of stylish solutions to keep baseball caps and other travel essentials safe while traveling. This lack of options inspired LOA Founder Christopher Tuning to create the SkyCap, the first handcrafted baseball cap carrier which has disrupted the luggage industry; and a must have for baseball cap enthusiasts. In 2020, Life on Autopilot will be releasing new styles of the SkyCap. The company has recently released the SkyCap BackPack under www.skycapbrand.com and other luxury luggage pieces at www.lifeonautopilot.com Social — @life_on_autopilot.

AfterSchool HQ (Ed-Tech, Children & Family)

Parents spend $22B every year on after-school programs while payments are primarily sent through student backpacks in the form of cash and checks. AfterSchool HQ is transitioning those dollars into online transactions. AfterSchool HQ helps K-12 schools and educators promote live, in-person or virtual programs through a unique online platform allowing parents to find exceptional learning experiences for their children outside of the school day. The platform allows schools to organize, schedule, and accept registration and payment for after-school programs creating one channel for parents to discover activities at their child’s school. Founded in 2017 by Darye Henry & San Pathak, AfterSchool HQ is currently raising a $1M seed round to hire additional team members and accelerate product development, sales and marketing operations. If interested contact Darye Henry at darye@afterschoolhq.com.

Written by

Serial Entrepreneur, Inventor |Founder, Flat Out of Heels |CEO, PopCom| #Speaker #Retail #SaaS www.DawnDickson.me

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