AfroTech 2021 is almost here, and to get in the spirit, we’re spotlighting the next wave of tech innovators!

For years, the conference has been home to fellow founders, entrepreneurs, and engineers looking to take a 360-degree approach to how our culture, innovation and tech truly run the world. 

Ahead of the experience, AfroTech sought out pitches from early-stage startups by allowing them to pitch their businesses in front of their community for a chance to win the AfroTech Cup.

Ahead of the November event, The Young Founders Pitch Competition — hosted by Cash App and Square — was open to pre-seed and seed-stage companies taking up space in tech and open to founders between the ages of 18 and 30. Then there’s the second pitch competition, AfroTech World Cup, which didn’t require any stage funding, industry or age requirements that is sponsored by Lexus.

Entries included everything from startups backed by science to those helping music artists get those coins!

As finalists, six founders will attend the virtual experience, where they will have the opportunity to pitch their startup on the AfroTech Main Stage Friday, Nov. 12, 2021 for a chance to receive a cash prize, a meeting with pitch competition judges and more. 

AfroTech Cup Finalists

Numerous hungry founders submitted an entry for the pitch competition, but only three made the cut!

These startups are well on their way to earning the big prize during AfroTech 2021:

Courtesy of Michelle Heng

Michelle Heng, Founder of Everlaunch

Michelle Heng created Everlaunch to help democratize business ownership and assist aspiring entrepreneurs working to build smarter businesses. It’s a first-of-its-kind SaaS platform providing an interactive toolkit to guide aspiring entrepreneurs every step of the way as they build their business.

Courtesy of BlackOakTV

Uzo Ometu, Founder of BlackOakTV

Uzo Ometu built this subscription video platform to serve Black viewers and creators by making it easy for Black viewers to find, watch and engage with content and creators that best reflect them.

Courtesy of Aurign

Robert Hatcher, Founder of Aurign

Lastly, Robert Hatcher will take the floor to pitch his company, Aurign. It is a platform designed to help music artists and their publishing firms register publishing agreements correctly in order to collect royalties from their intellectual properties (IP).

AfroTech Young Founders Finalists

These founders are already changing the game at a young age. Meet the Young Founders Pitch Competition finalists below:

Courtesy of ReRent

Alikiah Barclay, Founder of ReRent

Alikiah Barclay knows the frustration that comes with paying rent for an empty apartment so he created ReRent to remove the friction from monetizing underutilized housing, allowing people to homeshare from anywhere.

Courtesy of Interplay

Jonaie Johnson, Founder of Interplay

Jonaie Johnson founded Interplay, the platform that creates digital crating experiences for all of the dog parents out there. They’ve built an official remote control crate attachment, the playTach.

Courtesy of Beyond

Naomi Thomas, Founder of Beyond

At just six-years-old, Naomi Thomas built her first computer. Now, her company, Beyond has already engaged over 700 users to carry out its mission to connect diverse students to future tech careers through a culturally relevant and engaging chat experience. 

Who will win the Young Founders Pitch Competition and the AfroTech Cup Pitch Competition? Only one way to find out. Grab your tickets today!