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Sunday, January 10, 2021

Top 11 Black-Owned Tech Companies to Invest in For 2021

Founders and CEOs of Black-owned tech companies to invest in

Nationwide — 2021 is the year to start planning for your future and diversify your assets. We have compiled a list of a few of our favorite Black-owned, high growth companies that are gaining traction. Minimum investment amounts for these companies range from $250 – $20,000 so regardless of your income level, you too can be an early stage start-up investor.

#1 – Afrinanny (FamTech, Children, Marketplace)

Afrinanny.com is an online marketplace where families of Black children can locate childcare providers with culturally relevant experience. By 2022, the global childcare market is estimated to be $520 billion dollars annually. According to the World Health Organization, by 2050, 1 in every 3 births and almost 1 in every 3 children under 18 will be Black. This is indicative of the growing need for culturally relevant childcare providers. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners Dr. Irene Obika and Mr. Regan Anusionwu were frustrated with the poor online experience to locate sitters and nannies that easily understood the unique needs of their children. The current online childcare marketplaces do not prioritize the highly specialized needs for Black children. Afrinanny.com is the solution. Both parent and caregiver have to undergo a background check as we have created a “safe virtual village” for our users. Safety and cultural assessment exams created by our mental health experts, provide more insight to the parent on the caregiver’s skill set in taking care of their children. During Summer 2020 soft launch, hundreds of families and caregivers signed up to seek care or find a care job. Afrinanny.com has been featured in Afrotech, Black Parent Magazine, Shoppe Black, and various childcare podcasts. Afrinanny.com is seeking $500,000 from strategic angel investors to scale into multiple markets as well as expand the team with planned launch in first market, Dallas, TX, January 2021. Afrinanny’s vision is to become the world’s largest online marketplace specialized in care for Black children and adults. Any interested investor should email drirene@afrinanny.com.

#2 – Jartogo (B2B2C, Logistics, Sustainability, Social Impact)

Based in Accra, Ghana, Jartogo is a network of zero-waste food vending locations and services, connecting verified food vendors with a fast-growing Ghanaian and West African market demanding affordable, restaurant-quality, convenient, freshly prepared meals. Every food retailer and delivery service today depends on single use-items to fulfill part or all of their service, presumably to keep costs low and to operationalize convenience. The mission of Jartogo is to eliminate 99% of food waste, food loss and single-use packaging. The company partners with independent local food vendors, typically referred to as ‘street vendors’ of ‘street food’ to provide them with safe, clean, sanitized kitchens to prepare and package food to distribute in glass jars to maintain freshness, food quality and safety standards. Without advertising or paid marketing, the Jartogo service launched and exploded to the point where the company has temporarily suspended new sign-ups due to jar shortage, after registering 940 (location-verified) customers in under 90 days. This is a good, but urgent problem to have. The company needs an immediate capital infusion to meet demand. The company is currently raising a $500,000 convertible note round to solidify the market presence by establishing 21 new self-service and automated food vending stations at new locations over the next 4-6 months. The first money in will immediately be used to increase reusable jar inventory from 300 to 10,000 and launch a new marketing campaign to grow users from 1,000 to 10,000 by March 2021. Jartogo currently uses temperature-controlled cases to store and distribute the meals in jars but plans to launch its first vending machines powered by PopCom in Q1-2020 to automate the distribution in order to scale faster. For more information on investing, email CEO Akwasi Asamoah awkasi@getjartogo.com.

#3 – Scizzrs (B2B2C, Beauty, EdTech, Personal Care)

Scizzrs’ vision is to build the world’s largest platform for connecting and empowering untapped communities. Scizzrs brings top-rated, vetted hairstyling services to your most comfortable location – whether that be your home, office, salon, or hotel. Premium on-location grooming and personal care services were traditionally only extended to high-profile clientele, the Scizzrs team aims to provide these services to anyone who needs them, anytime. The company is currently generating revenue and has a high satisfaction rate from a recurring customer base. Scizzrs was Co-founded by Frederick Akpoghene, Nimbe Oviosu, Adebayo Omoyeni. The founders have deep backgrounds in software engineering, technology development, corporate finance, and bringing consumer technology products to market. Scizzrs, Inc. is currently raising a $1 million seed round from strategic angel investors to allow the company to scale its marketing and user acquisition strategy and add new features and functionality to its mobile application. The Scizzrs team recently completed the Nasdaq Milestone Maker’s program. The company has traction from several executed pilots across the New York Metropolis area, Houston and Dallas prior to COVID. The COVID-19 pandemic greatly affected the barber and beauty communities…the classes, seminars, and workshops they previously attended to sharpen their skills are now cancelled or moving virtual. In the wake of these changes, Scizzrs is launching a live streaming service to allow barbers and stylists to generate income from courses and instructional videos through the platform. In 2021, the company plans to expand to other major cities across the U.S. and Africa, increasing its user base to 350,000 users and adding 100 new corporate accounts. To invest, contact Scizzrs at info@scizzrs.com or frederick@scizzrs.com.

#4 – Kiddie Kredit (B2B2C, FinTech, EdTech)

Kiddie Kredit is a mobile chore tracking app that teaches kids about credit. The premise of the app is that the better a child performs their duties at home or in the classroom the better their “Kredit” score. The company has recently partnered with Equifax Foundation and have gained momentum recently after a CNBC’s feature and being hailed as “The Financial Literacy App Teaching Kids about Credit” by Forbes. The company is looking to align with strategic angel investors and/or VCs who consider economic inclusion a real priority and want to make a long-term commitment to changing fundamental financial habits from an early age, particularly around credit. The capital raised will fund new features including a learning track for teens, product recommendation capabilities for child-based financial products, and white labeling capabilities for qualified enterprise clients. For more information on how to invest, email CEO Evan Leaphart at evan@kiddiekredit.com.

#5 – PopCom (B2B, SaaS, Hardware, Data, Retail, woman-owned)

PopCom is an automated retail technology company that has built a software (SaaS) & connected (IoT) platform to revolutionize automated retail. Founded by serial entrepreneur and inventor Dawn Dickson in 2017, PopCom’s technology integrates into vending machines and kiosks to provide deep consumer insights and engagement for retailers. PopCom placed the first machine in a public location in October 2020 – Polaris Mall in Columbus, Ohio and will roll out 20 more machines with retail partners in Q1-2021. PopCom is currently seeking investment to help solidify its strong position in the industry as well as grow its operations, expand its product and engineering teams, reach more customers, and meet the demand for more automated retail machines in the wake of COVID-19. PopCom has recently completed development on a new blockchain-enabled software platform that will enable consumers to securely buy government-regulated products (e.g. cannabis, pharmaceuticals, and alcohol) from vending machines and ensure retailers stay complaint. The company was awarded a design patent in September 2020 for a highly unique and innovative automated retail hardware design called PopShop digital pop-up shop and has a utility patent pending on the software system. PopCom has raised $3.5 million to date, is on track to exceed $850,000 in sales in 2020, and is projected to reach $5 million in sales in 2021. PopCom CEO Dawn Dickson was featured on the cover of Black Enterprise magazine in June 2018, was named as INC Magazine’s top 100 Female Tech Founders in 2019 and became the first female founder to raise over $1M in an equity crowdfunding campaign. Dawn was recently named as OBWS Entrepreneur of the Year, presented by Snapchat. The company is an alumni of Techstars, Canopy Boulder Accelerator, and a graduate of the Nasdaq Milestone Maker program. For more information and to invest now, go to www.StartEngine.com/PopCom. Minimum investment is $250.

#6 – WhoseYourLandlord (B2C, Data Analytics, Real Estate Enterprise Software, Social Impact)

WYL is a mobile platform that’s empowering and informing the rental community through landlord reviews and housing literacy content. These real-time renter insights, coupled with data aggregation tools and predictive analytics software, further serve to help guide owners and operators through the process of increasing their quality of service and improving their NOI. Founded in 2015 by Ofo Ezeugwu, the company is currently raising capital to scale their digital footprint, allowing for them to become the bonafide industry leader in renter insights and feedback. WYL is investing in strategic real estate partnerships, university campaigns, and in data science to fortify an already 97% accuracy rate in being able to tell whether a renter intends to resign their lease (and/or recommend the property). WYL has raised $1.1M in funding from the people, real estate developers, angels, and VCs. WYL currently has $2.4M in their pipeline for projected SaaS revenue in 2021. They have long term established partnerships with Berkadia, Credit Suisse, Walmart, Amex, Allstate, Quickbooks, and more. Their platform currently contains over 22,000 landlords who’ve been reviewed across 300+ US cities. The company won the “Innovators and Disruptors Award,” presented by NBCUniversal and America on Tech and they’ve been named the “MVP of Landlord Review Sites” by Apartment Therapy. To invest, email CEO Ofo Ezeugwu at ofo@wyl.co.

#7 – Femly (B2C, Feminine care, Health & Wellness, woman-owned)

Femly is a hi-tech feminine care company founded by Arion Long in (20XX) after being diagnosed with a cervical tumor linked to additives found in existing major feminine health brands. The self-proclaimed “Chief Estrogen Officer” set out to disrupt the multi-billion-dollar feminine care industry by developing plant-based product alternatives and providing health education for the feminine lifecycle. Arion was named one of the “Top 100 Women in Business” by Entrepreneur magazine in 2019 and recognized as a “Top 10 in Tech” from the Baltimore Business Journal. Femly has received national awards, notable press, and is currently raising a seed round to scale. Interested investors should reach out to info@femlybox.com or reach Arion on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/femlyceo).

#8 – Rebundle (B2C, beauty, hair, woman-owned)

Rebundle is revolutionizing synthetic hair with more comfort and less waste. Rebundle makes braiding hair made from non-toxic, biodegradable plants, free from harmful chemicals and plastic. The company strives to provide every woman with a safe and comfortable hair extension experience that is better for the scalp and better for the environment using plant-based products. Rebundle also facilitates a recycling program for plastic, synthetic hair to eliminate single-use waste. Rebundle is revolutionizing the synthetic hair industry by hand-making braiding hair that is “for us, and by us”, and by maintaining an ethos of telling the truth, keeping products clean, and keeping our planet green. The company will begin accepting preorders in December. For more information on how to invest in Rebundle, email ciara@rebundle.co

#9 – TheClub (B2C, Mobile Application, Live Streaming, Music, Entertainment)

TheClub is an interactive live-streaming app that enables DJs and other entertainers to seamlessly earn income while streaming online. Founded by Darrel Frater in 2020 as a response to the closures of venues and nightclubs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company is seeking funding to add additional functionality to the platform to further enhance streamers ability to be discovered, booked, and paid online. COVID-19 has made live streaming an essential aspect of everyday life across the globe. Projected to grow from a $70B industry today to an $184B industry by 2027, TheClub is strategically positioned to capture significant market share over the next 1-3 years using their innovative revenue-sharing business model to reward content creators. Similar to companies like Twitch, a live streaming platform for gamers that was acquired by Amazon in 2014 for $970M, TheClub is providing a space for DJs and music entertainers to transition their careers online. The company has established relationships with leaders in the music industry such as Shady Records, Mo Thugs, and N.W.A and will be hosting a series of virtual events with these partners starting early 2021. TheClub is a part of the Impact Ventures Accelerator Fall 2020 cohort. If interested in learning about upcoming investment opportunities, contact Darrel Frater at Darrel@InTheClub.app.

#10 – EcoText (B2C, EdTech)

ecoText is like Spotify for college textbooks. The company currently has over 65,000 titles available on its platform from some of the largest open educational resource (OER) producers including OpenStax and others. The search engine allows students and professors to find free materials that they can use for their academics, dramatically reducing the overall cost of the course and democratizing access to resources. Through the company’s technology, ecoText increases collaborative engagement between students to enhance academic insight that otherwise would not be obtained through a traditional textbook. Features including highlighting, note-taking, and shared annotations that allow students to gather insights to better understand the material and increase academic curiosity. Professors also can see insights in their classrooms to better understand how students engage with assigned readings in real-time. ecoText has raised over $660,000 in it’s a pre-seed round with a recent investment by Millworks Fund II located in Manchester NH. If interested in learning more about how to invest, email CEO, Joel Nkounkou at jnkounkou@ecotext.co.

#11 – Freeman Capital (B2C, FinTech, Social Impact)

Designed specifically for Black people, Freeman Capital simplifies comprehensive wealth building through the integrated use of humans and technology. Unlike robos and traditional advisors who focus on just investing, our wealth management tech provides culturally relevant financial visualizations, education and contextual analyses – all real time – plus a “Wealth score” that measures their progress. Supported with monthly guidance from a dedicated Certified Financial Planner, our proprietary “Wealthscore” affirms and informs their financial actions, keeping their goals realistic, attainable, and more importantly, actionable. This will ensure that our customers remain confident and informed, knowing that our firm is right by their side helping them to not only create a solid foundation for today, but also leave a legacy for tomorrow. Freeman’s monthly subscription service is aggressively disrupting Financial Planning with 23% month-over-month organic growth and a 71 Net Promoter Score since COVID. The company has an upcoming pilot with Fortune 10 in Q1-2021. In the past 6 weeks, Freeman has raised $750,000 of its $1.5 Million pre-seed goal with funding coming from companies like Google and Backstage Capital. Freeman will close the wealth gap for millions of Americans. For more information or to begin investing, email investor@freemancapital.co