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Here's How Jon Laster Created A Tool To Help People Locate Black-Owned Businesses One Geo-Location At A Time

What if you had direct access to all of the Black-owned businesses within your reach from the click of a button? You don’t have to guess with Blapp, the revolutionary new Black-owned app that offers shoppers an optimized search engine to help them find Black-owned businesses both locally and online. Founder Jon Laster created the application out of his own desire to locate businesses to support while traveling from gig to gig as a comedian. After being forced to make a career pivot due to the pandemic and recalling how hard it could be to pinpoint businesses led by people who look like him, it was time to take things to the next step. “To be honest, it was a career pivot because I was out of work,” Jon Laster recalled in an exclusive interview with AfroTech . “And to be honest, I was out. I did all of the marching and things like that, but while I was out on Eastern Parkway marching it dawned on me that marching isn’t always sustainable. I’m not knocking people for marching because...

Feb 6, 2022

AI Messaging Startup Holler Raises $36M Series B to Power Conversational Media Online

AI messaging company Holler is well on it’s way to proving that Black founders can obtain VC funding to help power their startups and fuel their missions to change the world. According to TechCrunch, the Black-owned tech company has just announced the raise of a $36 million Series B funding round, bringing its total funding to $51 million overall. The round was co-led by CityRock Venture Partners and New General Market Partners, with participation from other investors such as Gaingels, Interplay Ventures, Relevance Ventures, Towerview Ventures and WorldQuant Ventures. MarTech Series reports that Holler plans to use the new funds to “invest in the research, engineering and development around conversational media, and the original creative content intended to drive its use.”   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Holler ( Holler — which is described as a conversational media company — initially launched with a mission to become a news and video content app before...

Apr 6, 2021

This Entrepreneur's App is Connecting HBCUs With Tech to Create Fundraising Opportunities

Black women are finding even more creative ways to implement fintech into our everyday routines. Spare change technology — also referred to as round-ups — has been around for years, but I Heart My HBCU founder and president Dominique King became the first to introduce this kind of tech to HBCUs via a mobile app. “I Heart My HBCU became the first platform where users could donate spare change to any of the 104 HBCUs in one place,” King shared in a statement. King launched this groundbreaking Atlanta-based funding platform back in 2017 with the help of an elite group of Black women tech entrepreneurs. As a fellow HBCU graduate, her plan for the platform was to preserve the rich heritage of HBCUs across the country, such as Concordia College in Alabama, by connecting them with new ways to fight challenges like closures and lack of funding. Attending Howard University as an undergraduate student gave her a first-hand account of the cultural significance behind HBCUs and why it’s crucial...

Dec 10, 2020