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'I Just Believed We Were Going to Win,' Promise CEO Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins Talks Securing a $20M Series A

Payment technology company Promise secured more than $20 million in a Series A funding round last month. With this fresh investment, the company’s co-founder and CEO Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins told AfroTech that she has big growth plans moving forward. Promise launched in 2017 and its original focus at that time was creating payment technology for the criminal justice system to help scale bail reform. Ellis-Lamkins said the company did that for about a year and a half before making a pivot after participating in Y Combinator’s Spring 2018 cohort. Promise has since created a payment solution that makes customizable plans and offers digital payment options to users who need to make government payments like parking tickets, child support, utilities and more. Ellis-Lamkins said this idea came to her when she was in New Orleans and realized people were in jail for simple parking tickets. She realized the same issue was happening in Oakland, where her company is based. After doing some...

Mar 10, 2021

Three Common Business Growth Challenges (And How to Overcome Them)

Congratulations on getting your business up and running. For most people, the dream of owning their own business forever remains just that — a dream. And while you’ve made some money, built a small but growing customer base, and begun to experiment with new offerings, your goals are bigger. You want to increase your margins. You want your brand to be top of mind. And you want to expand your market share until your business is the leader in your industry. It’s a tall order, but you can do it. You’ll face some challenges like raising money to expand, unpredictable cash flow and dealing with competition. But you can deal with these challenges by facing them head-on and following these strategies: Raising money If you’ve already asked your friends and family to invest, and you’re still too small for the likes of Shark Tank, consider a venture capital (VC) or micro-VC fund, like New Media Ventures. These entities specialize in making investments in small businesses with significant...

Nov 12, 2019

8 Must-Have Instagram Marketing Tools for Business Growth

Social media marketing has become very important to the way we do business. With over a billion active users as of June 2018, Instagram is a requisite for your business. In order to grow your business following quickly and get the most out of Instagram, there needs to be a great marketing strategy, and a great strategy requires that you work with the right tools. There’s a long list of options for Instagram; there are direct publishing tools, picture editing, tools to boost social media presence, or even scheduling. The right combination and use of these tools will help your posts appear right in front of those who need to see them, ensuring that your customers stay true to you. Here are eight Instagram tools you need to grow your business: Hootsuite Hootsuite syncs all your social media accounts, taking away the hassle of having to repeatedly post the same content on different platforms. It also lets you respond to comments and engage with your followers directly from the...

Sep 24, 2018