With thousands of Black-owned businesses left standing at the end of a very long line, Covid-19 PPP relief only served to further subjugate marginalized businesses in communities that depended on that program as a last hope. Two of the main industries affected are tech and venture capital firms, with a disproportionate 90% of available angel investment funds earmarked for white males, who, according to a 2019 joint report from RateMyInvestor and Diversity VC, make up less than 30% of the entire US population.
As I write this in 2022, the industry standards have not improved much despite rigorous efforts to promote diversity and inclusion not only across payrolls and promotions, but also the access to traditional capital.
While these numbers are telling, what they don’t say is that, while Black founders are finding ways to be more innovative and resourceful, creating billion-dollar tech companies behind the scenes, they are not able to secure funding proportionate to their white counterparts. Now more than ever, Black tech companies need our help with non-traditional ways to raise funds without compromising on their brand integrity.
Here is a list of seven outstanding black-owned tech companies that are doing amazing things in their companies, industry, and communities.
This company’s innovative automation software for vending machines and retail kiosks allows business owners to take advantage of the power of data. For as little as $250 you can be an early-stage founder in the future of contactless retail spaces.
Founded in 2017 by Dawn Dickson, PopCom is currently seeking investors to not only continue to maintain its dominance in this space, but to fund new projects, including a way to enable everyday purchasers to buy government-regulated goods (cannabis and alcohol, for instance) from ordinary vending machines. Get in on this groundbreaking technology for a very low entry point, build generational wealth and save for the future.
Co-founders Viola Llewellyn and Marvin Cole created a platform in 2013 that allows for specific funding of African small and medium-sized businesses (SMB’s), specifically in trade or commodities and short on capital. The goal is to provide these startups with $500k for equipment and inventory purchases–a viable alternative that combines capital with logistics and distribution as they relate to business growth. Winner of several awards, Ovamba is currently raising $5 million to fund existing projects and respond to customer demand. No minimum investment is listed.
With a sole mission of spurring the growth of women-owned businesses by ensuring these female CEOs have access to secured capital, EnrichHER is a platform which gives investors the opportunity to lend a helping hand to small businesses.
Dr. Roshawnna Novellus’ gender equality and economic empowerment advocacy has ensured her place as one of the many impactful women in the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “40 under 40 Who Mean Business.” Dr. Roshawnna is currently raising more than half a million dollars from angel investors looking to make a difference in minority, women-led businesses. Minimum investment amounts start at $1,000 with an additional $497 EnrichHER membership fee. Or you may make a donation of $250 or more.
Since 2019, EnrichHER has invested more than $3 million dollars in 71 companies.
There is power in mentorship as The Mentor Method’s founder and CEO Janice Omadeke has proven with ease. This proprietary software uses what’s referred to as a “double-blind algorithm” to help close equity gaps in all workplaces by matching business mentors with mentees. It also allows companies to hire a more diverse and well-rounded workforce.
As of this writing, The Mentor Method has won several prestigious awards, been featured in prominent publications, and participated in the 2016 White House Summit on “Building the Tech Workforce of Tomorrow”
The company is currently raising more than $700,000 from angel investors. There is no minimum investment listed.
Through social networks, Cindy Moore has changed the way busy people access innovative transportation options. One example is the “CarpooltoSchool” initiative, currently used in 49 schools across 25 states to deal with increasing bus shortages by helping parents to organize ridesharing groups.
Go Together’s goal is to raise around $500,000 specifically to support the company’s first full-time engineer, as well as providing funding for some aggressive marketing.