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Latest Articles

VC Funding To Black-Founded US Startups Reportedly Hit $705M In 2023 — The First Time The Number Fell Short Of $1B Since 2016

The state of venture capital (VC) funding for startups in the United States paints a concerning picture for Black entrepreneurs.

Michelle Burk

Feb 29, 2024

Tech Entrepreneur Andre Swanston Is Connecticut's First Black Majority Owner Of A Pro Sports Team

Andre Swanston is one of the few Black men to sell a tech company for nine figures. Swanston founded Tru Optik in 2013. He was driven to have a solid work ethic by his father, who ventured from the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis to the United States and worked several jobs to support his family, according to Forbes. The younger Swanston obtained a finance degree from La Salle University and a business degree from the University of Connecticut between 1999 and 2004. He would then secure a job as a financial advisor at Ameriprise Financial and later take on a post at JPMorgan Chase & Co. as vice president of investments between 2010 and 2012, per his LinkedIn. During the early 2000s, he owned nightclubs and restaurants, he shared in a Q&A with TransUnion. He also invested in local advertising to bring more exposure to his businesses. It was then that Swanston made a discovery that would prompt his pivot to the tech industry full time as the founder of Tru Optik. The system is “an...

Samantha Dorisca

Feb 28, 2024

Black Tech Nation Ventures Reaches Final Close Of Its $50M Fund For Black- And Diverse-Led Startups

Black Tech Nation Ventures (BTN.vc) has officially crossed off a major goal that it set out to achieve.

Ngozi Nwanji

Feb 28, 2024

Whoopi Goldberg Invests In Blkfam, A Streaming Platform Catering To Black Communities, Founded By Digital Marketing And Media Vet Larry Adams

Whoopi Goldberg is investing in the culture. Variety reports the EGOT winner (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards) has become an equity investor in Blkfam, a family-focused streaming platform that “entertains, educates and celebrates Black American family-friendly content.” Larry Adams, founder of the streaming service, pushed forward with the venture after seeing “a ton of R-rated content” from popular streaming services when looking for Black programming for his family. “Black culture and content is so often stereotyped, siloed or written off, so I wanted to create a platform where my kids and I can be entertained without having to face those same daily biases,” Adams told Variety. “By curating authentic content — proven through data and AI — primarily from Black storytellers, we’ve built a service reflecting true inclusion and diversity, where Black parents and children especially can feel holistically represented.” In 2023, Adams reached out to Goldberg to gauge her interest in...

Samantha Dorisca

Feb 26, 2024

After Birthing Twins, Founder Jade Kearney Dube Has Raised $2M To Help Mothers Identify Concerning Symptoms During Postpartum

After birthing twins, Jade Kearney Dube developed a tool to advance her efforts in the maternal health sector. As AFROTECH previously mentioned, Kearney Dube founded digital health platform She Matters after feeling “invisible” in the healthcare system during postpartum. The platform requires professionals working with Black mothers to complete cultural competency training. In 2023, Kearney Dube was faced with another epiphany after being dismissed from the hospital after giving birth. At home swollen, with two babies who were just 5 days old, she was simply given a magnet to place on her refrigerator to help her determine if her blood pressure was high. She recognized this was an issue. “You can be a culturally competent physician and healthcare network and give all the resources, but once the mom leaves, she’s gone, right?” Kearney Dube told AFROTECH in an interview. “I’m on the third floor, and I have kids all around me. There needs to be something that’s on my body that can tell...

Samantha Dorisca

Feb 20, 2024

Grammy Award-Winning Audio Engineer Derek 'MixedByAli' Ali Raises $7.5M For His Music Tech Startup EngineEars

Derek “MixedByAli” Ali has a decade of experience in the music industry and remains dedicated to enhancing the field. Forging A Lane In Music Fresh off a recent Grammy win, the 33-year-old recording and mixing engineer, who has stamped his name alongside hit records such as “The Box” by Roddy Ricch, “This Is America” by Donald Glover, and Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” and “Humble,” was not raised with a musical background or training. Growing up with severe ADHD, he began to tinker with remote-controlled cars and computers and became fascinated with their functionality. When he learned he could experiment with music, it birthed a new passion. “I started in high school — making ringtones. I was a hustler when I was playing football. I found out how to crack the Nextels and Boost Mobile chirp phones and put real songs on there rather than the model ringtones that were out during that time,” Ali told AFROTECH. “I would have friends come over after football practice and come record and put...

Samantha Dorisca

Feb 20, 2024

This Nigerian Founder Has Raised $1M In Pre-Seed Funding For His Edtech Startup That He Began Building At Age 18

Persevering after a tragic event led this Nigerian founder to build a company from the ground up that fills a gap in the edtech market.

Ngozi Nwanji

Feb 9, 2024

Tiger Woods Says New Program Allowing PGA Tour Players To Collectively Access Over $1.5B In Equity Is 'Sports History'

Tiger Woods, famed golfer and PGA Tour Players board member, discussed plans for major changes in the world of professional golf.

Michelle Burk

Feb 7, 2024

Black Founders Snag $300K From Mark Cuban And Michael Rubin For Their AI Startup, Which Helps Users Create Bots To Secure Concert Tickets And More

This company is trying to bring hope to consumers thanks to the help of its bots. Bot-It Founder Maurice Bachelor is behind a platform that allows users to develop their own online bot, regardless of their knowledge in coding, Eqvista reports. Bachelor conceived the idea after seeing a friend struggle with completing an online task. He then surfed the internet for a solution, knowing an automated bot would lessen the burden. However, he recognized there was a gap in the market and believed he could create a solution. “I saw a big opportunity for consumers to start automating. So I started to build out the proof of concept for Bot-It,” Bachelor told Eqvista. “I wanted to build an affordable web and mobile application where you could simply tell the system what website you want to automate and the system would handle the rest. That is how Bot-It was born.” According to the platform’s website, beginning at a price point of $9.99 per month, users can create a bot to complete tasks that...

Samantha Dorisca

Feb 6, 2024

Mastercard Buys A Minority Stake In The Fintech Division Of MTN Group, Africa’s Largest Cell Phone Provider

Mastercard has purchased stake in MTN Group’s fintech division, Africa’s largest mobile network operator. In August 2023, TechCrunch reported Mastercard was looking to invest in MTN Group. Six months after the initial announcement, both parties have moved forward with an agreement during a time when MTN Group is looking to expand its reach in the fintech space, according to ITWeb. The move would be timely for MTN Group as it was searching for investors after parting ways with the carrier’s main telecom business. The outlet also notes Mastercard is looking to accelerate MTN Group’s technology and infrastructure and establish greater financial inclusion in the continent. MTN Group had reached over 290 million subscribers by the end of June 2023, and its transaction volume had reached $8.3 billion in the first half of 2023. “This commercial relationship is a key enabler for the acceleration of our fintech business’ payments and remittance services,” the company said, per ITWeb. “MTN...

Samantha Dorisca

Feb 6, 2024

Rilwan Lawal’s GigEasy Secures $1.3M In Pre-Seed Funding To Help Ensure That Those Taking Part In The Gig Economy Have Benefits

Rilwan Lawal is enhancing the lives of gig workers. Growing up in Lagos, Nigeria, since the age of 1, the entrepreneur and founder was accustomed to self-starters. Both his mother and father were entrepreneurs who owned several businesses. “I don’t think I grew up seeing anyone around me waking up and getting ready to go to work,” Lawal, 33, told AFROTECH in an interview. “I feel like everybody around me had their own thing going on. And it was ingrained in me that at some point, I would be doing something on my own.” He added, “My mom is the ultimate entrepreneur. I witnessed her start multiple businesses and saw it come to fruition. That has been very helpful. My dad was also an entrepreneur in the real estate space. So just seeing both sides, and being able to execute on just an idea and bring it to life, really gave me that positive thinking that I could essentially just do anything.” When Lawal was 17, he left his family to pursue higher learning in the United States. He was...

Samantha Dorisca

Feb 2, 2024

After Fearless Fund Was Hit With A Lawsuit, CEO Arian Simone Says ‘About Eight Figures Of Investments’ Fell Through In Fall 2023

According to the Associated Press, Atlanta, GA-based venture capital firm Fearless Fund “faced tough questions from conservative judges” on Wednesday, Jan. 31, as it fought for its grant program to further support Black-women-owned businesses. As AFROTECH previously told you, Fearless Fund was hit with a lawsuit by Edward Blum and his American Alliance for Equal Rights (AAER) group in August 2023 on the basis that the fund was carrying out “explicit racial exclusion” and violated the Civil Rights Act of 1866.

ashley turner

Feb 2, 2024

Sisters-Turned-Co-Founders Raise $2.4M For Their Health Tech Startup To Improve Pre- And Postnatal Care For Black Women

After raising $2.4 million in a pre-seed round, Aster, a company co-founded by sisters Fifi Kara and Dr. Lailah Kara-Newton, will continue transforming prenatal and postnatal care nationwide.

Michelle Burk

Feb 1, 2024

Game Publisher And Digital Commerce Platform Carry1st Becomes The First Investment To Come Out Of The Sony Innovation Fund In Africa

Sony is betting big on Africa’s video game industry. According to a press release, Carry1st — an African game publisher and digital commerce platform established in 2018 by Cordel Robbin-Coker, Lucy Hoffman, and Tinotenda Mundangepfupfu — has scored a financial commitment from the Sony Innovation Fund, the venture capital arm of Sony Group Corporation. This follows nearly nine months of conversations between Robbin-Coker and the Sony Innovation Fund: Africa, per CNBC. Furthermore, this is the firm’s first investment in Africa and a strategic move as Sub-Saharan Africa’s gaming industry is projected to earn more than $1 billion in 2024, according to data from Newzoo and Carry1st shared in the press release. “We are excited to welcome Carry1st as our first investment in Africa,” said Antonio Avitabile, Managing Director – EMEA, Sony Ventures Corporation, in a news release. “We believe there is tremendous untapped potential for the gaming market in Africa, which we hope to experience...

Samantha Dorisca

Feb 1, 2024