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Rodney Williams

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SoLo Funds Becomes First Black-Owned Personal Finance Platform With One Million Registered Users

SoLo Funds seems to have a lot to celebrate. According to a press release shared with AfroTech, it is now the first Black-owned personal finance platform to reach over one million registered users.

Samantha Dorisca

Feb 28, 2023

SoLo Funds Becomes The Only Black-Owned Fintech Startup To Acquire B Corp Certification

SoLo Funds is a capital marketplace reimaging how traditional lending platforms should operate in communities. Founders Rodney Williams and Travis Holoway created a solution to financially empower underserved communities. The fintech company was launched after witnessing the economic hardships of close peers and family members that arose during an unplanned emergency.  In fact, most Americans can not afford a $1,000 surprise expense, according to a new survey. For cash-strapped Americans who do not have aid from family members or access to financial solutions, the founders pondered, “Where can they go for assistance?” This question served as the premise for SoLo Funds’ inception in 2015. The company prides itself in offering equitable solutions to build minority communities. Now through the company’s mobile app, individuals looking to acquire emergency capital can acquire a loan in less than 30 minutes. “For us, this is huge. I think about what the community bank is supposed to do...

Samantha Dorisca

Dec 2, 2021

These 10 Groundbreaking Black Startups Were Founded by HBCU Grads

These Black startups are groundbreaking on their own — and they have the added benefit of being founded by HBCU graduates. Despite the lack of diversity within the tech industry, Black pioneers continue to set the industry on fire. Innovative approaches and insightful strategies provided by Black leaders in tech widen representation and opportunity for technological advancements. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have showcased great rapport for graduating Black students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). They play a great part in the success of Black leaders by providing support systems, opportunities, and resources for them to thrive. And recent studies reveal that HBCUs are incubators for thriving Black talent. A study conducted by Bloomberg (via TurningPoints ) reveals that Howard University produces the lion’s share of Black founders — which is why schools like Clark Atlanta, Morehouse, and Spelman are receiving $1.5 million in...

Samantha Dorisca

Sep 29, 2021

Rodney Williams Tells How His Company LISNR Has Grown With The Help Of The METRO Target Retail Accelerator Program, Certified by Techstars

Growing up, Rodney Williams always yearned to see technologists, creatives and world-changers who looked like him. A would-be innovator himself, he recalls his less-than-ideal childhood environment in Baltimore as a credit towards forcing him to think outside the box and inspiring his ingenuity. This outside the box thinking would work in his favor as he would go on to co-found LISNR, a data-over-audio software company based in Cincinnati. LISNR develops technology that can be used to power transactions from short-range, making his technology the perfect tool for retail customers. Over the past three years, Target has helped startup companies like LISNR through its growing portfolio of accelerator programming. The portfolio of programs includes their U.S.-based Retail Tech Accelerator, Target Takeoff, Target Incubator, and the India-based Target Accelerator Program, which focuses on Bangalore-based startups. Targeted teamed up with German retailer METRO AG — one of the world’s...


Oct 17, 2019

LISNR Makes 2018 CNBC Disruptors List For Innovation That's Changing The World

For the past six years, CNBC has chosen 50 start-ups to be a part of the CNBC Disruptor 50 list. Out of 1,000 nominated companies, Rodney Williams’ LISNR was chosen as a part of the 2018 list , marking the companies third appearance for its innovative data-over-audio transmission technology. LISNR uses audio to transmit data between devices . Rather than Wi-fi or Bluetooth technology, the low-power data transmission that LISNR uses lets devices send fast, secure information throughout the world via inaudible smart tones. Last year LISNR paired up with Ticketmaster to create technology that would let different venues check attendees into their events quickly, easily and securely. The CNBC Disruptor 50 Advisory Council is made up of 52 leaders in entrepreneurship and innovation. This group reviewed and ranked the required quantitative and qualitative criteria that the nominees were required to submit in order to figure out the importance and ability to disrupt pre-established...

Christine Cauthen

May 24, 2018

SoLo Funds connects lenders and borrowers for affordable access to small loans

SoLo Funds is a Cincinnati-based startup that’s providing a solution for the average American worker — many of which can’t afford emergency expenses because of how small loans work in our financial institutions. And it’s using community to do so.   For most people who need to borrow a small loan, traditional banks aren’t an option. And we know that payday loan institutions charge high interest rates and often take advantage of borrowers. But SoLo Funds is a mobile lending exchange connecting lenders and borrowers for the purpose of providing more affordable access to loans under $1,000.   SoLo Funds launched officially on April 2 and closed their $1.2M seed round. Founders for the mobile startup include Travis Holoway, Rodney Williams, Jarrel Carter and Taylor Conophy.   Photo: SoLo Funds   “The idea of people lending and borrowing amongst each other in this form is refreshingly different than our predecessors,” says Travis Holoway, CEO & Co-Founder of SoLo Funds. “This is an...

Christine Cauthen

Apr 11, 2018