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Who Is the Richest Black Man In America?

When we talk about wealth, sometimes it can feel like Black people are consistently excluded from the conversation. Thanks to systemic and systematic discriminatory practices, countless Black Americans are often shut out of the surest path to personal wealth — property ownership. And often, when Black wealth is touted, it’s almost exclusively limited to celebrities from actors and directors like Tyler Perry to media moguls like Oprah Winfrey, and of course countless entertainers and athletes . More importantly, when the conversation turns to billionaires , the number of Black people — male or female — that tops this list shrinks even further. But Black wealth isn’t limited to people that travel in celebrity circles. There are several Black entrepreneurs that are influencing the U.S. economy that have also accumulated quite a nest egg and reputation. In particular, the story behind the richest Black man in America is an inspiring one that shows you that our community is amazing...

SoftBank-Founded Opportunity Fund Appoints Dr. Paul Judge As Chairman, Launches Fund 2

There is an endless pool of diverse talent seeking opportunities to thrive, which means SoftBank Group (SoftBank) is taking no breaks in its commitment to provide access to Black- and Latinx-led startups.

Ngozi Nwanji

May 18, 2023

The Plug Says Farewell After A 7-Year Run — 'We're Closing Our Doors, But Never Abandoning Our Convictions'

A staple in the tech community has said farewell. On March 15, founder Sherrell Dorsey announced that The Plug has closed its doors.

Ngozi Nwanji

Mar 16, 2023

These Co-Founders Left Brown University For A Year To Launch A Geriatric Care Platform — And Still Graduated

In the classic movie “Soul Food,” all of the occurrences are centered around the matriarch of the family, Mama Joe. She is the anchor for her three daughters, who went on to lead lives of their own but still very much so depend on her wisdom and guidance. As the plot would have it, Mama Joe had diabetes and was stubborn about taking her medicine and taking the necessary steps to prioritize her health. Left with few options, she has to have her leg amputated to deal with her health issues. However, Mama Joe’s family was left in the dark concerning the severity of her health issues. This issue is not a new phenomenon, as many families have dealt with surprising truths regarding their loved one’s health. At this intersection of health and wellness is where Intus Care pulls up. Intus Care is a “healthcare analytics platform that synthesizes healthcare data to identify risks, visualize trends, and optimize care.” AfroTech spoke with Evan Jackson and Robbie Felton to learn more about how...

Josh Rodgers

Dec 20, 2022

Co-Founder Lorel Scott Aims For His Company StartupStarter To Be The 'Amazon Of Business Education'

Imagine being in an audience and waiting to hear from your favorite speakers. The house lights go dim, the spotlight cranks up and from the silence emerges the sounds from “This is Me,” the inspirational and audacious track from the 2017 film, “The Greatest Showman.” This setup is the dream of the COO and co-founder of StartupStarter, Lorel Scott. Scott has unapologetically busted into the business sector to change the narrative around business education and level the playing field for people of color seeking to advance their businesses. Proudly representing the intersectionality of being a Black gay man, Scott understands the nuances and challenges that exist for business leaders of historically underrepresented communities. This is where StartupStarter enters the chat.

Josh Rodgers

Dec 9, 2022

How A Short Film Streaming Platform Is Redefining The Industry Standard With The Support Of Microsoft For Startups

With the rapidly growing demand for short-form videos on streaming and social media, the world has a much greater appetite for high-quality content that clocks in under 20 minutes. But with short films primarily being shown at festivals around the world, Janvier Wete, CEO and Founder of Minute Shorts, saw an opportunity to make festival-quality content more widely accessible and generate revenue for short films. After feeling frustrated with the process of entering his own short film to festivals in 2017, Wete wondered if he could create a platform to distribute the film and carve a path for others to reach a wider audience. At the time, most short filmmakers couldn’t distribute their work until they’d created a larger budget film. Wete saw how these barriers prevented many talented filmmakers from sharing their work with the world — especially diverse filmmakers. Inspired by how Spotify provided a platform for indie artists, Wete launched the first version of the Minute Shorts...

Mahlet Yared

Aug 22, 2022

Op-Ed: Why Showing Up Is Just As Difficult As Raising Capital For Black Founders

Solo Ceesay is the CEO & Co-Founder of Calaxy. — Since I was a boy, I wanted to be a successful businessman. I vividly remember trying on my father’s oversized pastel suits, donning the ubiquitous business look of any dapper-dressed African man of the ’90s. Even before I could form full sentences, I was primed and driven to work in business. With motivation and determination aplenty, my actions were encouraged by relentless sideline cheering from my mother yelling, “You’re a king, Solo!” Just over a year ago, I took a bet on myself. A bet that a then-26-year-old Black kid could make something out of nothing. And while you could call this journey just about everything but easy, the reality is that raising $26 million with Calaxy was the easy part. The sacrifices I’ve made, the friends I’ve lost, the lack of idols to look up to, and making the decision to take a nose dive into a world of uncertainty are all invariably more difficult for those who look like me. From having to...

Solo Ceesay

Jul 29, 2022

This Founder's On Track To Hit $1.2M In Revenue This Year All While Working Toward Her MBA

Destiny’s Child may have set the tone for a whole new wave of independence for women like Wilglory Tanjong. According to CNBC Make It, Tanjong is a full-time MBA student at the University of Pennsylvania and serves as the founder and CEO of a luxury purse brand, Anima Iris, all at the tender age of 25. Upon launching in 2020, the brand has reportedly raked in more than $725,000, catching the likes of Beyoncé herself. But, how does one manage to achieve such success at a young age? Well, first, Tajong did not start her business for financial gain but instead wanted to use it to honor her personal and ancestral background. “[Anima Iris] was a therapeutic project that was just making me happy,” Tanjong shared with CNBC Make It. “I’ve always been a very fashionable person. People always ask me, ‘Where’d you get this? Where’d you get that?’ And then I realized, ‘Hey, maybe people will just buy [products] from me.’”

Shanique Yates

Jan 25, 2022

With Help From Apple, These Founders Were Able To Create 'The Smartest Sneaker App Ever'

Apple is remaining committed to bringing Black-led platforms to the main stage for the world to see. The tech giant recently pledged $30 million in new commitments to our communities including the masterminds behind Kickstroid, the app deemed “the smartest sneaker app ever.” Founders David Alston and Nicco Adams created the platform to serve as the ultimate tool for sneakerheads using machine learning to bring sneaker culture straight to users’ fingertips through its mobile iOS app. It is designed to be used by everyone. Whether you’re the ultimate sneakerhead or someone who is taking their first dip into sneaker culture. The easy-to-use tool helps anyone using the Kickstroid app to stay up to date with the latest sneaker news and of course the latest sneaker drops. As Apple continues to build on its original investment as a part of its Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI), which supports students, innovators, and advocacy organizations that are leading the charge in creating...

Shanique Yates

Dec 15, 2021

Black Ops Announces The Initial Close Of Inaugural Fund With Investments Totaling $13M

Black Ops Ventures, a Black-owned VC fund, has announced that it has closed its first fund with investments totaling $13 million. And, thanks to this fund closing, the company has announced its intent to exclusively back outstanding Black tech founders in the United States and Canada. According to a press release, “In securing investments for this initial close, Black Ops relied upon long-standing relationships with some of the most respected names in the tech industry.” Some of those names include Blavity, Inc. CEO Morgan DeBaun, Drew Houston, Jacob Gibson, Ben Horowitz, Union Square Ventures and Jeff Bussgang. Bank of America and Northwestern Mutual led the fundraising round, according to the press release. “We are part of this community of Black founders, with better access to deal flow than other venture investors, regardless of their cultural background,” said James Norman , partner, in the press release. Norman is also the founder of Pilotly and co-founder of Transparent...

Blake Stanton's Quiktract App Eases Money Conversations & Makes Freelance Projects A Breeze

If you do any type of freelance or contract work, this millennial just made your life a whole lot easier! As a football star turned tech guru, Blake Stanton is the visionary behind the Quiktract app, designed to give his peers a safe space while they’re sitting among corporate tables. The enterprise venture app was created specifically with entrepreneurs in mind as it allows freelancers the opportunity to connect, create amenable contracts, and secure payments all in one place. Since 2019, the app has combined the ease of a marketplace with the lead, contract, and payment tools that entrepreneurs need to easily manage their work. It offers a layer of protection for both freelancers and service providers as they work together on various projects.

Shanique Yates

Nov 26, 2021

Former Dropbox Product Managers Raise An $18M Series A For Their Fintech Startup Lendtable

Lendtable — a Black-led fintech startup — has raised an $18 million Series A funding round led by O1 Advisors with other participants including SoftBank’s SB Opportunity Fund , Valor Equity Partners, and the CEOs of Complex Networks and Social Finance, Inc (SoFi), Socii Capital and Streamlined Ventures. Founded in 2020 by former Dropbox product managers Mitchell Jones and Sheridan Clayborne, Lendtable offers cash advances to allow employees to take full advantage of their 401(k) match all at once without needing to use any of their own money. Once their money has been vested, the San Francisco-based startup takes a portion of the profit earned. Jones and Clayborne were inspired to solve the problem of underutilized 401(k) matching by their own families’ financial struggles. “I’m obsessed with trying to help people save and invest their money. I come from a lower-middle-income Black community in Dayton, Ohio,” Jones told AfroTech. While an undergraduate at Yale Unversity, Jones...

Colleen Williams

Nov 12, 2021

Byron Allen Reportedly Successfully Raises $10B In Capital For Tegna Bid

Last week, AfroTech reported that Byron Allen was poised to acquire Tegna in a deal worth $8 billion. Now, however, a new report reveals that the CEO of Allen Media Group has successfully raised $10 billion in a bid to acquire Tegna and engage in some debt management. Reuters is reporting that the deal Byron Allen has put together is backed by 14 banks and 10 investors, including Ares Management Corp, Fortress Investment Group, Oaktree Capital Management, and Michael Milken’s family office. “Ares is leading a $2.2 billion preferred equity investment in support of Allen’s financing package, another of the sources added. Tegna could choose a winning bidder as early as this month, the sources said,” reports the outlet. Byron Allen is said to be going up against investment firms Apollo Global Management Inc. and Standard General LP, but Allen is still poised to be the favorite winner, according to the report. However, New York Post reports that prior to Byron Allen raising the money...

How Wieden & Kennedy's John 'JP' Petty Found His Identity At An HBCU — 'It Was Very Necessary'

When John “JP” Petty was promoted to an executive level at Wieden & Kennedy, he couldn’t help but shout out his Historically Black College and University (HBCU) alma mater, Lincoln University. According to Petty, the education he got from the acclaimed HBCU was indeed second to none — but in actuality, he got so much more, too. “Without Lincoln, I wouldn’t have gotten to know myself ,” he told AfroTech. “That’s where I came to my full realization of self, as a Black man — and how it helped me find my place in this world. It was there that I realized I didn’t have to be an athlete, or a rapper, to be a success in this world. I could do it on my own terms, in my own way — so, yes, I fully recommend that anyone who can, should absolutely attend an HBCU. It was very necessary for me, and it can be very necessary for you, too.” Until now, Petty has served as head of social for W+K’s New York office, where he has been integral in building a robust social practice, as well as helping to...

Jeff Bezos-Backed Chipper Cash Gets $2B Valuation After $150M Raised In Series C Extension

Chipper Cash, an African cross-border payments company, has announced its new $2 billion valuation after its recent Series C extension. According to NairaMetrics, this new Series C extension raised an additional $150 million for the company. The funding was led by Sam Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency exchange platform FTX. SVB Capital, as well as other previous investors such as Deciens Capital, Ribbit Capital, Bezos Expeditions (owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos), One Way Ventures, and Tribe Capital, reinvested in this extension round. Chipper Cash, which was founded in 2018 by Ham Serunjogi and Maijid Moujaled, is a no-fee peer-to-peer cross-border payment service in Africa. Through their app, users can accept payments in Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa and Kenya — to name but a few places that use the app. In 2021, the company expanded again — this time, into the United Kingdom. By using Chipper Cash, users can send money from the United Kingdom to their...