Meet the 15 Entrepreneurs Headed to San Francisco for Blackbox Connect 25

Startup leaders from 11 countries selected for Silicon Valley founder accelerator

Feb 11 · 6 min read

This February, the CEOs of 15 fast-growing ventures from across the globe will touch down in San Francisco to participate in the 25th cycle of Blackbox Connect, a two-week residential founder accelerator that aims to immerse talented international entrepreneurs in the mindset of Silicon Valley at a critical moment in their startup journey. The program, which takes place at Taohaus, offers founders from across the globe the opportunity to live and learn together while connecting with successful entrepreneurs, seasoned investors, and influential opinion makers in a uniquely intimate and collaborative environment.

In contrast to more traditional accelerators, the Blackbox experience places particular focus on areas where the success of the startup and the founder themselves are most deeply intertwined: big picture vision and plan of attack, market positioning, cultivating a “born global” mindset, values-based leadership, team culture, storytelling and stakeholder communication, hiring and firing, investor alignment, and more.

“Blackbox Connect is a reset for founders,” says Jasmine Shells, Founder & CEO of Chicago-based culture engagement solution Five to Nine, who came through the program in May 2017. “It provides you with the necessary headspace needed to see the most important blind spots in your company and leadership.”

This cycle’s 15 participants hail from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, Ireland, Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, Uganda, the United States and Zimbabwe, and represent a wide variety of sectors.

Several of the selected founders are participating as Google for Startups Scholars, a nomination-based award which provides all-expenses-paid participation for founders nominated by members of the Google for Startups partner network. Blackbox and Google for Startups have partnered to elevate more than 200 founders across 16 program cycles since 2013.

Introducing the Blackbox Connect 25 founder cohort:

Ainsley McCallister, Founder & CEO of Uru Sports | United States

Uru Sports is the “LinkedIn of Sports” — an online global recruitment platform for semi-professional and elite athletes to find roster positions on teams across the world.

Ainsley is a Google for Startups Scholar (nominated by Galvanize Denver)

Andrew Chaifetz, Founder & CEO of Notebowl | United States

Notebowl simplifies class collaboration for students and instructors by combining social media and course management into one place.

Andrew is a Google for Startups Scholar (nominated by Galvanize Phoenix)

Cathy Skinner, Founder & CEO of Thrivors | United States

Thrivors’ cancer-specific mind-body-emotion approach provides effective support for patients and data analytics that help improve treatment outcomes.

Jianbo Yang, Founder & CEO of KeyiTech | China

KeyiTech brings creativity and learning to every child through robotics and AI. Their first product, CellRobot EDU, is a modular robot system that enables kids to build a robot in 5 minutes.

Jianbo is a Google for Startups Scholar (nominated by People Squared)

Lewize Crothers, Founder & CEO of Exit Entry | Ireland

Exit Entry is an app that interactively showcases and measures the soft skills of college-aged students, connecting them with employers for work opportunities globally.

Livingstone Mukasa, Founder & CEO of Mazima | Uganda

Mazima is Africa’s first micro social security platform built using private capital, helping those in the informal sector to access individual retirement accounts and affordable health insurance.

Ricardo Rodriguez, Founder & CEO of Social Miner | Brazil

Social Miner predictive e-commerce technology uses behavioral data to better understand the consumer journey and automate the best marketing and sales strategies.

Ricardo is a Google for Startups Scholar (nominated by Campus Sao Paolo)

Shai Evian, Founder & CEO of Howler | South Africa

Howler aims to be the leading event technology platform that optimizes interactions between attendees, organizers, sponsors, and vendors.

Stone Atwine, Founder & CEO of Eversend | Uganda

Eversend provides a multi-currency e-wallet that allows Africa’s digital generation to exchange, save, and send money at the best possible rates, both online and offline.

Stone is a Google for Startups Scholar (nominated by Outbox)

Taco Potze, Founder & co-CEO of Open Social | Netherlands

Anyone can build an active and engaged online community with Open Social, an open-source software used by NGOs, governments, and hundreds of smaller organizations to connect with members, volunteers, employees, and customers.

Taco is a Google for Startups Scholar (nominated by TQ)

Tony Tan, Founder & CEO of Silfresh | Australia

Silfresh is a packaging innovation company creating environmentally friendly and cost-effective products to reduce plastic in the food industry.

Tony is a Google for Startups Scholar (nominated by Capital Factory)

Vimbayi Kajese, Founder & CEO of #Adtags | Zimbabwe

#Adtags exists to increase the visual representation of people of colour (POC) in ads and media by making images and content of POC easier to find, more accessible and relatable. #Adtags’ first offering is an intelligent, diverse, multimedia market library, of POC from around the world.

Vincent Keunen, Founder & CEO of Andaman7 | Belgium

Andaman7 is a patient-driven mobile health record and intermediation platform to securely exchange information with caregivers and researchers.

Zelia Leong, Founder of Anywhr | Singapore

Anywhr is your bespoke travel curator, sending you on personalized trips based on your preferences. Show up at the airport, discover your destination, and embark on a journey optimized for traveler happiness!

Zelia is a Google for Startups Scholar (nominated by Found.)

Zoe Clondiffe, Founder & CEO of She’s A Crowd | Australia

She’s A Crowd uses storytelling data to make cities safer. Using digital crowd-mapping technology and data analytics, She’s A Crowd collects data about harassment and sexual assault to empower decision makers to take preventative action on gender-based violence.

Zoe is a Google for Startups Scholar (nominated by She Starts)


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