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Hello Alice Wins Lawsuit After Being Sued For Awarding Grants To Black-Owned Businesses

Hello Alice can continue on its mission to support small businesses. As AFROTECH™ previously reported, the company, created by Elizabeth Gore and Carolyn Rodz, was named in a class action lawsuit for awarding up to $25,000 in grants to 10 Black-owned businesses in partnership with Progressive Insurance Co. They were sued by Nathan Roberts, who owns an Ohio-based trucking dispatch company and claims he didn’t know Progressive Insurance’s Driving Small Business Forward fund was exclusively for Black-owned businesses. Progressive Preferred Insurance Co., Progressive Casualty Insurance Co., and Circular Board LLC — which operates Hello Alice — are listed as defendants in the lawsuit filed by America First Legal, Mitchell Law PLLC, and Ashbrook Byrne Kresge LLC. Now, a resolution has been reached. According to a news release, the case has been dismissed by a federal judge in Ohio. “This resolution marks a pivotal moment not only for our company but for the broader small business...

Jun 5, 2024

Dwyane Wade Receives $250K In Unrestricted Funding That He Will Use To Support A Digital Community For Transgender Youth

Dwyane Wade has remained vocal in his support of transgender youth. This is in part due to having his own child, Zaya, who identifies as transgender. She shared the news in 2020 amid anti-trans legislation in the state of Florida, The Associated Press reports. The Wade family chose to sell their home in Florida as a result and moved to California in 2023. “We’ve done so many great things here so it wasn’t easy to leave,” Wade told the outlet . “But the community wasn’t here for Zaya, so the community wasn’t here for us.” Now, Wade is taking greater strides to create a more inclusive environment for transgender people and their families through the establishment of Translatable , described as a digital platform that will create community for trans youth while providing their family and friends with educational resources. The venture was announced on Thursday, May 23, 2024, during the Elevate Prize Foundation’s Make Good Famous Summit. Wade was also presented with the nonprofit’s...

May 24, 2024

US Commits $32M To Support STEM Educational Initiatives In Kenya

Kenya will receive significant backing to support education. According to a news release, the United States signed a Framework for Cooperation with the Kenyan government to support innovation in STEM fields in partnership with its universities and the industry. During Kenyan President William Ruto’s U.S. visit, USAID Counselor Clinton White signed the “Enhancing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education for Economic Development Framework for Cooperation” along with Kenyan Prime Cabinet Secretary Wycliffe Musalia Mudavadi at Spelman College in Atlanta, GA. Enhancements to Kenya’s education infrastructure will soon be in effect, empowered by a $32 million commitment, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) also announced. This includes $850,000 earmarked for the Edtech Africa initiative — a program to promote collaboration between HBCUs, the Open University of Kenya, Mastercard, and Microsoft. The investment will also encompass a $6.5 million project to...

May 23, 2024

Kubik Reportedly Becomes First Ethiopian Company To Earn A Multi-Million-Dollar Investment In Climate And Sustainability Solutions

Ethiopian sustainable tech startup Kubik has scored a first for the country. According to a press release sent to AFROTECH™, it has raised $5.2 million in a seed round. Investors include East African venture capital firm African Renaissance Partners, Endgame Capital, and King Philanthropies. It will now further its work in using plastic waste to make affordable buildings and removing waste from the environment. “Kubik’s vision to build safe and affordable living for all speaks directly to King Philanthropies’ mission to catalyze solutions at the intersection of climate and livelihoods,” Kartick Kumar, managing director at King Philanthropies, said in a press release. “Kubik is at the forefront of innovation in Ethiopia and across the African market, and we’re proud to support the tremendous impact they’re making combatting plastic waste and providing safe, durable, and affordable housing.” The funding round makes Kubik the first Ethiopian country to earn a multi-million-dollar...

May 2, 2024

East Chop Capital Closes Second Fund Valued At $11M To Expand Minority Investors’ Access To Alternative Investments

East Chop Capital has closed its funding and will deploy capital to Black investors. According to a press release provided to AFROTECH™, the private equity firm’s founders and HBCU graduates Calvin L. Butts Jr. and Carrington Carter have closed an $11 million fund, which draws equity investments from 93 limited partnerships, including Liberty Financial Services. This brings East Chop Capital’s total raise to $15 million. As previously reported by AFROTECH™, $4 million in 2021 had been raised to support its presence in the global vacation market, which is projected to reach $132.7 billion in 2033, as reported by Future Market Insight. East Chop Capital is poised to achieve a 25% return, taking into consideration the fees or expenses involved in overseeing the fund. With additional capital at its disposal, East Chop Capital is poised to amplify its efforts in the initial round, with plans already set in motion to invest in Florida and Texas. “Fund II is about scale and pattern...

Apr 30, 2024

Meet The Co-Founders Behind Arbit, An AI-Powered Sneaker Resale Price-Prediction Startup That Has Raised $1M In Funding

Venita Cooper’s passion for sneaker culture has led her to become an entrepreneur -turned-tech-founder. In 2019, Cooper opened Silhouette Sneakers & Art in Tulsa, OK, after working as a K-12 educator in the Mississippi Delta through Teach for America. She was brought to Oklahoma because her parents decided to retire, Cooper told AFROTECH™ in an interview. With no entrepreneurial background, the thought of launching her own business never crossed her mind until 2018, when the idea of opening a sneaker store was presented to her. “At first I thought it was crazy ’cause I was like, ‘I’m not an entrepreneur. I’ve never done anything like that before,'” Cooper said. “One of the things that I’ve learned is that to start a business and to run a business, to me, the No. 1 skill is the ability to make good decisions consistently and quickly. I always ask investors and other founders who have successful companies, what is the characteristic that they can identify as that No. 1 characteristic...

Apr 29, 2024

After Being Named In Class-Action Lawsuit For Awarding Grants To Black-Owned Businesses, Hello Alice Closes Series C Funding Round

Amid the attack on venture capital investments to Black businesses, Hello Alice has come out on top. As AFROTECH™ previously reported, the fintech platform — created by Elizabeth Gore and Carolyn Rodz — that has helped small businesses through capital, had been named in a class-action lawsuit filed by America First Legal, Mitchell Law PLLC, and Ashbrook Byrne Kresge LLC in October 2023. The company was targeted for partnering with Progressive Insurance Co. to offer up to $25,000 in grants to 10 Black-owned businesses. “We were founded on the principle of equality, with the aim of ensuring that everyone — women, men, people of color, U.S. Veterans, and more — have an equal opportunity to launch their businesses and pursue the American Dream,” Hello Alice shared at the time in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter. “From Texas to California to Florida to New York, small business owners are the most trusted voice in America and a critical engine of our economic growth. Today our...

Apr 24, 2024

Robert F. Smith's Vista Equity Partners Raises $20B In Its Largest Fund To Date

Robert F. Smith’s Vista Equity Partners has marked off a new milestone. Axios reports that the private equity firm has raised over $20 billion for its new fund — making the fund its largest to date. As a platform that invests in technology companies, Vista Equity Partners is set to focus on artificial intelligence (AI). According to the outlet, Smith wrote to investors ahead of Vista Equity Partners’ annual general meeting in April about what they can expect soon. “You will also hear more about how we have adopted generative artificial intelligence not just as a tool but as a pivotal component of our value creation and underwriting processes,” Smith wrote, per the outlet. He added, “This has enabled us to identify and capitalize on opportunities, including dramatically expanding TAM [total available market], product innovation, GTM [go-to-market] strategies, with greater precision and speed, ensuring that we stay ahead of the curve in a rapidly evolving market landscape.” Before its...

Apr 23, 2024

AI Squared Secures $13.8M In A Series A Round To Drive AI Integration Across Enterprises

Dr. Benjamin Harvey liquidated his retirement accounts to make advancements in the world of artificial intelligence (AI), Forbes reports. Harvey, born in Jacksonville, FL, and raised in a seven-child household, found his love for the field of technology thanks to his father, who worked as a pastor and AT&T project manager, the outlet notes. His father would bring home computers that were not functioning properly, and Harvey took the initiative to learn how to fix them. Foreshadowing his future, he would obtain a computer science degree from HBCU Mississippi Valley State University in 2008. He later scaled his education obtaining a master’s degree and Ph.D. in the same field between 2010 and 2015, his LinkedIn profile mentions. Among his career pathways included a role as chief of operations data science at the National Security Agency (NSA). His observation at the agency would open his eyes to a gap in the market as it pertains to data and analytics. It wouldn’t be until 2021 that...

Apr 18, 2024

Tuskegee University Receives An Anonymous $20M Donation That Will Go Toward STEM Programs And Endowed Scholarships

This Tuskegee, AL-based Historically Black College and University (HBCU) has received a whopping donation. According to a news release, an anonymous donor has donated $20 million to Tuskegee University, which is going toward developing STEM programs and applied research. “This gift will allow us to invest in our students, faculty, programs and infrastructure, enabling us to enhance our academic reputation, enrich the student experience, and continue our work to reach milestones within our strategic plan,” Tuskegee University President Dr. Charlotte P. Morris shared in a statement. “It will provide additional resources for us to implement vital initiatives, further securing the campus, and foster a more dynamic community.” She continued, “We are grateful for this extraordinary act of philanthropy, which will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on our university and its community. This contribution is a testament to our collective efforts and the enduring trust inspired by the Tuskegee...

Apr 15, 2024

Westbound Announces $100M Fund To Be Used To Support Black, Latin And Diversity-Driven Startups

Something new is on the horizon when it comes to investing in companies that are often overlooked and underserved, and these Black founders are helping to lead the charge. According to Forbes , Westbound Equity Partners, a venture capitalist firm spearheaded by former nonprofit director Sean Mendy is on a mission to pour millions into companies led by Black, Latin, and diversity-driven founders. “We aren’t investing in underrepresented founders as this altruistic thing,” Mendy told the outlet. “This fund is about investing in the best companies and performance. Explicit impact is what we’re doing on the foundation side.” Since its inception in 2019, the firm formerly known as Concrete Rose Capital has managed to invest in over 40 startups as well as tap into what Mendy says is “the diversity opportunity,” which provides capital to underrepresented founders, especially Black and Latino companies. What’s more, there is a key focus on startups with goals of serving their communities....

Apr 11, 2024

Serena Williams Has Invested In 14 Companies That Have Gone On To Reach Unicorn Status, A Value Of $1B Or More

Serena Williams’ legacy extends far beyond her greatness on the tennis court. Following her retirement in September 2022, Williams focused more of her attention on the investment arena. With over a decade of investment experience, she took a pivotal step in 2014 by establishing Serena Ventures, a venture capital fund specifically designed to champion women and underrepresented founders, according to its LinkedIn profile. “I invest in a lot of companies, early companies, and I’ve always done this. I’ve actually been investing for over 14 years and just been an entrepreneur while I was playing tennis. It’s super important for me to make a plan B while I was doing my plan A,” Williams explained in a TikTok video. The VC endeavor resulted from Williams discovering the evident absence of venture capital directed toward certain demographics, which prompted her to become a vessel for change. As noted on its website, the company’s portfolio comprises 79% underrepresented founders, 54% women...

Apr 4, 2024

Dr. Rashae Barnes Creates Fund For Black Women, Spurred By Her Past Struggle To Fund Her Own Businesses

Dr. Rashae Barnes is a former classroom teacher and celebrity publicist who has taken her purpose of teaching to another industry.

Mar 2, 2023

This Founder Created Maternal Health Platform Wolomi So Black Mothers Will Have A Better Chance At Surviving Childbirth

Black women deserve to have a healthy and safe pregnancy journey. This is why Layo George started Wolomi, a maternal health platform that provides community and helps mothers explore the healthcare system.

Sep 14, 2022

Why Cameron Johnson Built Nickson, The 'Uber Of Furniture' That Does All The Work So You Won't Have To

Cameron Johnson remembers being stationed every few years during early childhood. Therefore, he understands the stresses and challenges that come with new beginnings firsthand. He eventually learned how to make any new place feel like home. Now, Johnson wants to alleviate the pressures of a fresh start through Nickson. Founded in 2017, the “Uber of furniture” does all the work so you don’t have to. Courtesy of Nickson “The idea was to help people and empower their fresh start. Life is hard and a place to call home should be easy, so that has been our ethos since day one,” Johnson told AfroTech exclusively.

Aug 9, 2022