Hello Alice can continue on its mission to support small businesses.

As AFROTECH™ previously reported, the company, created by Elizabeth Gore and Carolyn Rodz, was named in a class action lawsuit for awarding up to $25,000 in grants to 10 Black-owned businesses in partnership with Progressive Insurance Co.

They were sued by Nathan Roberts, who owns an Ohio-based trucking dispatch company and claims he didn’t know Progressive Insurance’s Driving Small Business Forward fund was exclusively for Black-owned businesses. 

Progressive Preferred Insurance Co., Progressive Casualty Insurance Co., and Circular Board LLC — which operates Hello Alice — are listed as defendants in the lawsuit filed by America First Legal, Mitchell Law PLLC, and Ashbrook Byrne Kresge LLC.

Now, a resolution has been reached. According to a news release, the case has been dismissed by a federal judge in Ohio.

“This resolution marks a pivotal moment not only for our company but for the broader small business community in the United States,” Gore said in the news release. “Facing a labor shortage, heightened interest rates, and inflation, this country needs its small business owners, and they, in return, need the capital and resources that programs like Hello Alice provide. We are thrilled for the judgment in favor of Hello Alice, as this represents one less threat to our nation’s small business community and economy.”

Neal Katyal, lead counsel from Hogan Lovells representing Hello Alice in the case, commented:

“We are pleased by the resolution of this case. It beats back a meritless lawsuit and makes clear that the federal courts will not hear weak challenges such as these. The dismissal of this case is significant because the lawsuit would make it more difficult for diverse small businesses to compete in today’s economy. The court ruled that this lawsuit is now over. The plaintiffs can try to appeal, but we are tremendously confident in our legal position, and are ready and willing to fight not just for Hello Alice, but the broader business community and ready to set an even broader precedent in the Court of Appeals.”

Hello Alice’s resolution is to continue on its mission to support business owners by leveling the playing field as it relates to access to capital, resources, education, and opportunity. In April 2024, it closed a Series C funding round, bringing its total valuation to $130 million, AFROTECH™ previously mentioned.

The funds are being used to empower its efforts and launch additional artificial intelligence-driven financial health tools for small businesses.

“There are more entrepreneurs launching this year than in the history of our country, and we will continue to ensure they get the capital needed to grow,” Gore and Rodz mentioned in a news release at the time.