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Six talented startup founders pitched their hearts out at the BIG Demo Day event earlier this month.
The Black and Latina tech entrepreneurs showcased their innovative companies at the inaugural BIG accelerator cohort. The founders are the first batch to complete the 16-week program for high-potential startups led by women of color.
Spearheaded by Kathryn Finney, founder and managing director of digitalundivided (DID), BIG Demo is a culmination of weeks of hard work to help underrepresented women build scalable startups. The women who participated (Tatiana Figueiredo of Everist, Christina Valdez of Taeleur, Kelechi Anyadiegwu of Zuvva, Amina Yamusah of Bloc, Kellee James of Mecaris, and Nicole Sanchez of ECreditHero) presented their businesses to a packed room, which included venture capitalists.
All of the participating startups received a $20,000 seed investment but Demo Day was also a chance to network and meet potential investors and clients. Influencers who attended the event, included Dr. Freada Kapor Klein, Founding Partner, Kapor Capital; Asmau Ahmed, Digital Strategist, Capital One; and Mark Walsh, Head of the Office of Investment and Innovation, Small Business Association.
Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, the BIG Innovation Center is the first incubator focused on investing in the success of startups lead by Black and Latina founders. It provides a structured curriculum dedicated to training, mentorship, and developing scalable business models.
Last year, digitalundivided published the #ProjectDiane report. The data revealed a paltry 0.2 percent of venture deals [from 2012-2014] went to Black female founders. The research is a stark reminder that black and Latina women have been largely overlooked in the tech industry and startup ecosystem.
VIDEO: UrbanGeekz’s Kunbi Tinuoye interviews Kathryn Finney, founder and managing director of digitalundivided, at the inaugural BIG Demo Day in Atlanta. Videography: Taylor Danielle, Video Editor: Kunbi Tinuoye
The startups that presented at Demo Day were:
Tatiana Figueiredo – Clara
Clara is an AI-enabled career coaching platform. It makes career development accessible, affordable and more fun for the next generation of the workforce.
Christina Valdez – Taeleur
Taelur is an intelligent apparel discovery platform that uses a proprietary StyleHELIX™ style match algorithm and AI style bots to find options highly relevant to each user and then automates ongoing discovery.
Kelechi Anyadiegwu – Zuvaa
Zuvaa is an online marketplace for African Fashion and Design that seeks to disrupt the 31 billion dollar African Fashion and Textile industry through content and community.
Amina Yamusah – Bloc
Our Bloc is a professional network for black collegians on the rise. Through events and an innovative web platform, Bloc connects ambitious college students with social capital and pipelines to access financial freedom.
Kellee James – Mecaris
Mercaris is a market data service and online trading platform for organic, non-GMO, and certified agricultural commodities.
Nicole Sanchez – ECreditHero
Follow Kunbi Tinuoye on Twitter@Kunbiti