The Exchange for Black Founders has returned for the second time to American Underground in Durham, NC, a Google for Entrepreneurs technology hub home to over 250 startups. The Exchange is a week-long bootcamp-style program that connects black entrepreneurs with investors, mentors, and resources to prep them for fundraising and close the investment gap underrepresented founders often face.
Companies were selected from the software, consumer products, big data and IoT industries. They come from eight states — most from second-tier tech cities like Atlanta, Nashville, and Minneapolis.
“Our founder Ronnie Cropper and I have a big vision for changing the financial landscape in America. We applied because we share a common vision with the Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange: it’s about leveling the playing field across industries such as tech and finance, particularly for people of color,” says Ashlene Nand, CMO of Atlanta-based DisputeDoc, a platform that automates making disputes and improving credit scores. The startup is based at TechSquare Labs, another one of the dozen Google for Entrepreneurs hubs.
“We’re excited to see how this can benefit DisputeDoc so that we can help more Americans get better credit faster,” says Nand.
The founders will receive education in preparing for a seed round, discussing the challenges that face underrepresented founders, and network building. Investors from across the country, along with Google for Entrepreneurs mentors, will be in attendance to meet with and work one-on-one with these entrepreneurs.
After last year’s Exchange program, half of the participants raised capital to a total of more than $1 million.
“Together with American Underground, we are deeply committed to supporting the growth and success of underrepresented founders. The Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange program is a unique opportunity to help bridge the gap between founders seeking funding with mentors and investors, and we saw great success from last year’s program,” said Nicole Froker, Google for Entrepreneurs’ Partner Engagement Manager.
The Exchange will take place from October 8-13 and will end with the annual Black Wall Street Homecoming event, a networking conference for early-stage entrepreneurs focused on the intersection of content, connections, and culture. The event plays on the history of Durham’s Parrish Street, or Black Wall Street, which served as a hub for leading African American businesses in the late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries.
American Underground’s startup community reflects Durham’s diverse roots, with nearly 30 percent of its startups led by women and 28 percent led by founders of color.
The startups selected for the Exchange are:
2020 Shift (New York City, NY) — Trains professionals on the skills they need to find careers they love in digital media and technology
Civic Eagle (Minneapolis, MN) — Helps government and policy organizations learn, engage, and activate the people they serve through a suite of inexpensive software tools
DisputeDoc (Atlanta, GA) — First automation platform for fixing credit and improving credit scores
Ilerasoft (Cincinnati, OH) – Centralizes a health system’s equipment data on one platform to improve FDA safety recalls
Loanable (Durham, NC) — Loanable helps you create friends and family loans online and repay them easily with auto-draft
Partake Foods (Jersey City, NJ) — A line of snacks that are free of the top 12 allergens
Please Assist Me (Nashville, TN) — A tech-based comprehensive home assistant service
Reciprocare (Washington, D.C.) — Helps senior care agencies and facilities find caregivers and helps caregivers find the best jobs for their unique needs
ScrapSports (Atlanta, GA) — platform for athletes, coaches, and fans to build their brand, share their story, and cement their legacy
Zyrobotics (Atlanta, GA) — Interactive STEM tools and learning games for early childhood education that are accessible, adaptive, and cloud-connected