Home Feature “Corporate America primed me for this”: Seasoned Atlanta tech pro launches new venture BuyNoir

“Corporate America primed me for this”: Seasoned Atlanta tech pro launches new venture BuyNoir

by hypepotamus

Daniel Waithe built his career in Atlanta’s consumer-facing tech world, holding roles like Director of Engineering at Mailchimp and VP of Engineering at fintech giant Greenlight. But now he’s striking out on his own with a startup designed to create more Black-owned ecommerce businesses success stories.

Software startup BuyNoir launched earlier this year to help Black-owned businesses get the tech they need to launch online. It is also a platform looking to change how online customers find new businesses to support. 

Waithe told Hypepotamus that BuyNoir is a “paradigm shift” in how Black-owned businesses get off the ground. We asked Waithe a series of questions about his entrepreneurial roots, his vision for BuyNoir, and what’s on the horizon for the startup. Below is Waithe’s Q&A with Hypepotamus: 

 

Question: When you look at Black-owned small businesses, what are some of the barriers that business owners have traditionally faced? How did seeing those barriers impact how you built BuyNoir? 

Answer: Black-owned small businesses have historically faced a complex landscape, marked by barriers such as limited access to capital, a scarcity of mentorship, and multifaceted challenges in marketing and networking. Organizations like The Gathering Spot, Goodie Nation, and Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs have been at the forefront of addressing these issues with innovative and effective solutions. BuyNoir is honored to stand alongside these trail blazers, contributing a scalable, technology-driven platform to the collective mission. We aim to enhance the momentum in this space, fostering growth and success for black-owned businesses.

BuyNoir is not merely another platform; it’s a paradigm shift in how black-owned businesses are supported and nurtured through technology. Our unique, cohort-driven approach offers business owners a choice: to venture independently or to join with a cohort of like-minded businesses. This isn’t a mere feature; it’s a transformative concept. For the first time, an ecommerce platform is facilitating a collaborative journey, allowing businesses to grow in unison, sharing insights, accountability, and resources. It’s more than novel; it’s a groundbreaking innovation that reflects our unwavering commitment to black-owned businesses and the need for innovative thinking in this space.

When you join BuyNoir, whether solo or in a cohort, we equip you with the technology you need to sell your products, cultural insights to inspire your product lines, marketing tools to expand your reach, and a community where resources are shared. These aren’t just tools; they are pathways to success, designed to help you reach milestones that might otherwise remain elusive. 

BuyNoir is also developing a browser plug-in that will put “buying black” directly in the mainstream ecommerce experience, seamlessly integrating black-owned businesses into everyday online shopping. This isn’t just about accessibility; it’s about visibility and inclusion, ensuring that black entrepreneurship is not a niche market but an integral part of the global economy.

In essence, BuyNoir is a response to a historical challenge, a platform that recognizes the collective strength of black entrepreneurship and seeks to harness it for their collective success. It’s a commitment to a future where black businesses are not isolated but interconnected, not just surviving but thriving, together. BuyNoir is not just about commerce; it’s about community, collaboration, and collective growth. It’s a vision for a new era of black entrepreneurship.

 

Q: You’ve worked at big corporations and scaling startups. How did you know it was the right time to enter the early-stage startup world?

A: In my time working with large corporations and growing startups, I’ve seen the inner workings of the business world. But something struck me in 2022: a concerning, disproportionate number of black professionals were losing their jobs. This wasn’t just a pattern; it was a wake-up call, highlighting a need for change.

That realization led me to go full time with BuyNoir. I went from side hustle to main hustle. I wanted to create a place where black professionals could find meaningful work, where they could be truly valued and feel free to be themselves. Beyond that, I saw a growing movement to support black-owned businesses, and I knew there was an opportunity to make a real impact through technology.

Starting BuyNoir wasn’t just a business decision; it was a personal commitment. It was about recognizing a need and taking action to meet it. It was the beginning of my life’s work. My experience as a technology executive in corporate America primed me for this. It was clear that the time was right. And so I poured in all of my treasure, my time and my heart into the future of starting and growing a business – a future that will forever change the landscape of black-owned business.

 

Q: Walk us through the BuyNoir platform. How does it work for customers and for store owners? 

A: For Store Owners:

  • Joining BuyNoir: Store owners can choose to join BuyNoir solo or as part of a cohort, depending on their preferences and needs. Joining a cohort allows for mentorship, accountability, community, and information sharing.
  • Setting Up a Store: BuyNoir provides the necessary technology and tools to set up an online store. Store owners can list their products, manage inventory, and customize their storefront.
  • Educational Support: The platform offers various educational resources, including an online curriculum, in-app educational touch points, seminars, videos, and email series. These resources cover topics like marketing trends, business scaling, funding sources, and more.
  • Marketing Tools: BuyNoir offers marketing tools to help store owners promote their products and reach a wider audience. This includes insights into cultural trends and community tooling for exchanging with other businesses.
  • Community Engagement: Through the cohort-driven experience, store owners can collaborate, share resources, and grow together. The community aspect fosters a supportive environment for black-owned businesses.
  • Shared customers: By simply opting into the BuyNoir customer network, you can expand your customer base exponentially — sharing customers with other businesses in the network.

For Customers:

Browser Plugin Integration: The upcoming browser plugin will enable customers to easily identify black-owned alternatives to products as they shop their usual ecommerce stores. Ex: while shopping on Target’s website, the plugin will pop up with black-owned alternatives when you click into a product you’re interested in. Making black-owned shopping seamless

 

Q: What educational pieces are on the platform?  

A: We believe that education is a cornerstone of entrepreneurial success, and we’ve integrated a multifaceted educational approach to support black-owned businesses.

  1. Online Digital Educational Curriculum: We offer a comprehensive online curriculum that guides aspiring entrepreneurs through the process of starting a business. This curriculum is tailored to teach individuals how to leverage platforms like BuyNoir to launch and grow their ventures. It’s a step-by-step guide that demystifies the entrepreneurial journey.
  2. Educational Touch Points within the BuyNoir Application: As users navigate the BuyNoir platform and take specific actions, we will provide educational modules that accompany those actions. These touch points will offer real-time insights and guidance, enhancing the user experience and ensuring that business owners have the information they need when they need it.
  3. Seminars on Business Education: BuyNoir will host seminars focused on business scaling. These seminars will provide in-depth knowledge on how to take a business to the next level, covering strategies, best practices, and insights from industry experts. They will be an opportunity for entrepreneurs to learn, network, and engage with the broader business community.
  4. Video Education Content: We are developing a series of educational videos that will be available on YouTube and directly on the BuyNoir platform. These videos will cover a wide range of topics, from the basics of starting a business to more advanced strategies, all presented in an engaging and accessible format.
  5. Educational Email Series: In August, we launched a series of emails that share valuable information about marketing trends, small business product trends, funding sources for small businesses, and other topics that offer essential education to small business owners. If you want to join the email list and stay informed, visit our website at buynoir.co.

In essence, BuyNoir’s educational offerings are not just supplementary; they are integral to our platform and our mission. We recognize that every entrepreneur’s journey is unique, and we strive to provide a diverse array of educational resources that cater to different needs, stages, and learning preferences.

Our commitment to education reflects our belief in the power of knowledge to empower, inspire, and drive success. By weaving education into the fabric of the BuyNoir experience, we are not only supporting black entrepreneurs in their business endeavors but also contributing to a broader movement of empowerment and growth within the black community.

 

Q: You are building this in Stone Mountain / Metro Atlanta. Why was it important to you to build a startup in the area? 

A: Building BuyNoir in Stone Mountain / Metro Atlanta is not just a decision; it’s a poetic statement. Stone Mountain is a place with a complex history, known as the site where the KKK was rebirthed into the notorious terrorist group it’s known to be today. Living less than two miles from this landmark, in the shadow of a place that the KKK once called home, adds a profound layer of meaning to the work I’m doing with BuyNoir.

Even now, the presence of Confederate flags in my neighborhood serves as a stark reminder of the challenges and prejudices that persist. But rather than being deterred, I find motivation and purpose in building a black business that supports black businesses right here, in this very place.

There’s something deeply poetic about creating BuyNoir in Stone Mountain / Metro Atlanta. It’s a way of reclaiming a narrative, of turning a symbol of oppression into a beacon of empowerment and growth. It’s about connecting with the rich entrepreneurial spirit of Atlanta while also acknowledging and confronting its complex history.

Atlanta is a hub of innovation, diversity, and community, and Stone Mountain is a part of that tapestry. By building BuyNoir here, I’m tapping into the vibrant ecosystem that supports black-owned businesses, while also making a statement about resilience, transformation, and hope.

In essence, Stone Mountain / Metro Atlanta is not just the location for BuyNoir; it’s the soul of it. It’s where our mission aligns with a broader story of struggle and triumph, and where we can contribute to a future where black businesses don’t just survive but thrive. Building BuyNoir here is more than a business decision; it’s a symbol of what we stand for and a testament to the power of entrepreneurship to create change.

 

Q: What are your biggest needs in the 2nd half of 2023? 

A: As we move into the latter part of 2023, our focus is on scaling BuyNoir to reach more black businesses. Our needs include expanding our technology infrastructure, enhancing our marketing efforts to reach a broader audience, and building partnerships that align with our mission. We are also committed to continuous innovation to ensure that our platform remains responsive to the evolving needs of our community.

 

Want to follow BuyNoir’s growth? Here are some important links: 

 

 

You may also like