Meet the Graduates of Founder Gym Cohort 3

Mandela SH Dixon
Aug 2, 2018 · 16 min read
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“Before starting this cohort, I had no knowledge of fundraising at the VC level; terms like seed, pre-seed,VCs… were like witchcraft to me, not to mention what VCs like, how to approach them and how to follow up with them. The knowledge from Mandela, the Expert Trainers, and my peers played a major role in filling that knowledge gap.” ~ Landry Kouajiep, Founder of ImmaBe

“Being seen and heard and surrounded by so many founders who looked like me…it was nothing like I’d ever experienced before. Honestly, I never considered that fundraising would be a part of my journey because I didn’t know how to do it and the statistics when I started two years ago were very bleak for people who look like me. But Founder Gym gave me a community with examples that it can be done. The program expanded my network and armed me with the knowledge. I think someone in the class said ‘I’m built to build a billion dollar company’ and I really felt that — finally — I am, too.” ~ LaTecia Johnson, Founder of the Visionary Rising Agency

Over the past six weeks, we have trained another 46 underrepresented founders from 28 different cities across the United States.

This means Founder Gym’s membership has grown by 88% since launching FG Cohort 1 seven months ago.

Prior to being admitted into Founder Gym Cohort 3, many of our founders created incredible solutions. They ranged from social apps that connect LGBTQ+ communities, to software that allows users to instantly delete text messages, to re-imagining banking so that anyone can quickly and easily make cross-border payments.

But there was just one problem.

That’s where Founder Gym stepped in to help. For six weeks, we provided an intense virtual training experience for select founders, that was led by some of the most experienced venture capitalists in Silicon Valley.

Now, after completing the rigorous requirements to graduate, we are excited to officially introduce the graduating class of Founder Gym Cohort 3, along with their Peer and Expert Trainers! But before we get into that. . .

Here’s a quick breakdown of Cohort 3 membership:

  • Female: 72%
  • Male: 28%
  • Black: 70%
  • Latinx: 17%
  • White: 15%
  • Native American: 4%
  • East Asian: 2.2%
  • South Asian: 2.2%
  • Pacific Islander: 2.2%
  • Middle Eastern: 2%
  • Twenties: 31%
  • Thirties: 50%
  • Forties: 15%
  • Fifties: 4%
  • With children: 35%
  • Without children: 65%
  • Bay Area: 26%
  • NY Area: 26%
  • Other areas in the US: 48%
  • Native to the country they reside in: 78%
  • Immigrated to the country they reside in: 22%
  • Full-time founder: 59%
  • Part-time founder and full-time employee: 26%
  • Part-time founder and part-time employee: 15%
  • Product in the market: 50%
  • Product in private beta: 37%
  • Product in development: 13%
  • Engineer: 22%
  • Designer: 26%
  • Other type of technical ability: 31%
  • Non-technical: 54%
  • No previous fundraising experience: 50%
  • Family and/or friends: 33%
  • Incubator and/or accelerator: 15%
  • Venture capitalists: 9%
  • Angel investors: 9%
  • Pitch competition: 9%

Meet the Graduates of FG Cohort 3

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Alice Rathjen

“Founder Gym created a path for cultivating relationships with investors that resonate with our need to build trust in the marketplace.”

  • Company: DNA Compass, a Salesforce for genomics, connecting researchers, pharmaceutical companies, and patients to improve patient outcomes and therapeutic practice.
  • Location: Sebastopol, CA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Amery Williams

“Apply for every fund and reach out to everyone you know to get warm introductions. It’s a numbers game … all you need is one yes to then create a snowball effect.”

  • Company: Kaizen Collab, a web-based platform designed to capture, manage, and share lean activity in one place.
  • Location: Dallas, Texas
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Amir Fouad

“Do it for the passion, not the money. Learn the domain you are going after because it’s a long way to the other side.”

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Angelic Williams

“Be open. Be humble. There are no shortcuts.”

  • Company: MyUmbrella, a social networking platform for the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Location: Concord, CA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Angie Eilers

“Know your place on the continuum of funding; there is a chronology to it and a market size requirement.”

  • Company: UR TURN, a “smart advising” technology for middle and high school students, like Google maps for education.
  • Location: Minneapolis, MN
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Athena Fan

“Pitch those traction numbers right off the bat.”

  • Company: Bite Size Legal, a platform leverages machine learning, mobile technology and data science to empower 28.1 million renters to resolve legal rental issues.
  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Brian Sutherlin

“Know your business and market like nobody else.”

  • Company: Green Go Box, a company that makes moving and storage effortless and efficient.
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Chandler Helms

“Because of Founder Gym have found a diverse community of entrepreneurs that will do amazing things in the world.”

  • Company: Buyer’s Marque App, a B2B app for wholesale buyers to organize notes, manage their budget and plan appointments during market.
  • Location: New York, NY
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Chasity Cooper

“I am ready to build a business that will change the way black women connect, create and collaborate at work. I’m determined to not let ‘no’ stop me from succeeding.”

  • Company: The Well, a global social community empowering women of color to create, connect and collaborate with like-minded women.
  • Location: Brooklyn, NY
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Cloe Guidry

“Because of Founder Gym I feel confident about where I am in this process and understand that other founders are in the same space and struggling with similar issues.”

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Danielle Kristine Troussaint

“No matter where you are in your journey, there’s someone who will fund you. You just have to find that person.”

  • Company: She Thinks Purple, a creative social network that helps mission-driven entrepreneurs launch inspirational brands that will change the world.
  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Demetrius Curry

“Because of Founder Gym I am force a to be reckoned with, and WHEN I exit and I’m doing my TedTalk, I will give credit to Founder Gym for making me the success I will be.”

  • Company: College Ease, a unique solution to close the gap in college engagement and recruitment for students worldwide.
  • Location: Columbus, OH
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Dorian Morris

“Because of Founder Gym, I have information at my fingertips when it comes time to raise and a community of fellow scrappy entrepreneurs I can lean on for support.”

  • Company: Un-Defined Beauty, a clean, non-toxic beauty brand that infuses social purpose into its business model.
  • Location: San Francisco, CA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Dwayne Samuels

“Utilize the community.”

  • Company: Samelogic, a qualitative mobile video surveys company.
  • Location: San Mateo, CA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Heli Prilliman

“Prepare financially for the long haul. Expect fundraising to take 6 months or more.”

  • Company: Lacquerbar, a feminist Drybar for the nail salon industry.
  • Location: Berkeley, California
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Ivan Huerta

“Ask for money and you’ll get advice, ask for advice and you’ll receive money.”

  • Company: Parabeac, a company that standardizes the interaction between mobile devices and the world around them.
  • Location: El Paso, TX
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Jamela Acheampong

“Because of Founder Gym I feel more confident about the materials I have to present to potential angels!”

  • Company: Kahmune, a Luxury marketplace for skin tone footwear and accessories.
  • Location: New York, NY
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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K. Nicole Mills

“It’s very important to network with your peers because 7 years from now, you and your peers will be the people that everyone wants to meet.”

  • Company: HBR Media, a digital-first media and tech platform dedicated to black women in film, television, and entertainment.
  • Location: New York, NY
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Are you following Founder Gym on Twitter?

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Kendrick Pullen

“To be a good fundraiser, you need to have a tool belt like Batman. Batman has everything in his tool belt. So when you don’t feel like doing a weekly exercise, all you are doing is taking one less tool out of your tool belt.”

  • Company: LifeTagger, a content sharing platform that augments our users connection to their community based on their proximity to any person, place, thing, or idea.
  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Kevin Mobolade

“Because of Founder Gym, I am scaling my company to $1MM ARR in the next 6 months.”

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Krystal Scott

“Know what you’re building. If you don’t know what your company is, who your customers are, how your company makes money, how much money it stands to make, how much money you’re currently spending…then you’re not ready to fundraise. Period.”

  • Company: The Well, a global social community empowering women of color to create, connect and collaborate with like-minded women.
  • Location: Brooklyn, NY
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Landry Koujiep

“Because of Founder Gym, I am ready to scale and have the tools to do it.”

  • Company: ImmaBe, a holistic career counseling system that works like Google Search by requiring you to input any info about your passion in order to show you the career pathways that are opened to you.
  • Location: Baltimore, MD
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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LaTecia Johnson

“Network = Net worth. The cohort is filled with billion dollar companies that just haven’t broken through yet. Start building your team and connections authentically and openly. Offer to help and always be open to feedback.”

  • Company: Visionary Rising Agency, a creative agency bridging the gap between brands, influencers, and the audiences they covet by measuring the long-term impact of marketing efforts.
  • Location: Austin, TX
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Lekan Bashua

“Keep up with the work!”

  • Company: FlexSpace, a company that builds and manages your workplace the smart way.
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Lissette Padilla

“Craft a clear and persuasive story.”

  • Company: Exports.tv, a curated marketplace that connects reliable Mexican wholesale manufacturers with US buyers.
  • Location: Santa Monica, CA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Lorren Cargill

“Connect with as many founders as possible and help as many founders as possible. Share you gifts freely.”

  • Company: CANVS, a brand new way to experience the world of street art.
  • Location: Jersey City, NJ
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Luis Salazar

“Network. Network. Network.”

  • Company: ExportsTV, a company that makes wholesale buying between Mexico and the US seamless and more profitable.
  • Location: El Paso, TX
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Maci Peterson

“Not every investor is the right investor. Take the time to find the right one.”

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Markita Staples

“ If you know nothing about investors, use Crunchbase and AngelList to find them based on who invests in your competition.”

  • Company: Niblings, a company that creates themed gift boxes for non-parents to seamlessly give to the kids in their lives.
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Nina Hooper

“Keep putting yourself out there and asking for feedback.”

  • Company: Lana, a company that makes digital textbooks more meaningful and relevant to students in K-12.
  • Location: Palo Alto, California
  • Get connected: LinkedIn
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Nomzana Augustin

“Preparation is the key to success, but evidence is the crown of success. If your solution is true and goes to the core of the market, it’ll get funded.”

  • Company: NISAPASS, a SaaS platform and enterprise solution building the capacity of minority talent — and the companies hiring them.
  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Ralph Andre

“Be resilient and KNOW YOUR MARKET!”

  • Company: CANVS, an interactive platform that helps people explore street art in cities all over the world.
  • Location: Belleville, New Jersey
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Rebecca Story

“Because of Founder Gym, I am confident in my ability to raise money.”

  • Company: The Bloomi, an e-marketplace for healthy intimate care products.
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Remy Meraz

“Play at 100%, like your life depends on it.”

  • Company: Me Tyme Network, a company that helps employees reduce emotional stress through a self-help edutainment platform.
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn
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Renee King

“Metrics first, money second!”

  • Company: Tech.Ur.Elders, an AI enabled platform pairing millennial’s caring for aging loved ones with technology to lighten the load of caregiving.
  • Location: New York, NY
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Sharmi Albrechtsen

“Because of Founder Gym, I really understand what VCs want.”

  • Company: SmartGurlz Inc., an award-winning digital learning company with coding robots and apps for girls.
  • Location: Los Gatos, CA
  • Get Connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Shayla Stafford

“Because of Founder Gym, I now have confidence in my company and my product. I feel like I have a community of new friends that are here to support me on my journey. THANK YOU!”

  • Company: AdaptiveX, a company that simplifies the creation of adaptive tests.
  • Location: Glen Arden, MD
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Sheena Franklin

“Because of Founder Gym, I am a better prepared Founder ready to fundraise and grow a powerhouse company with a powerhouse team of employees, advisors and investors.”

  • Company: Well-Kept Beauty, a company that helps ingredient-conscious beauty shoppers track the cosmetic ingredients that work best for their skin type and how they perform using a combination of human expertise and machine learning.
  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Sonya Fox

“Focus on building a product, launching it and adjusting/growing as needed. The money will come if you remain anchored in your WHY for starting the company.”

  • Company: Vurde, a company that connects people with mind-body-spirit wellness through a curated experience of food & culture.
  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Stacy Taylor

“Take advantage of every opportunity.”

  • Company: Airship [Taylor Kehne Industries], in development on a technology company that will deliver retail products to homes without the waste or hassle of the cardboard box. (Set to launch in Fall 2018).
  • Location: Atlanta, GA and Portland, ME
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Tara Robinson

“Make sure you have some proof of concept before fundraising.”

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Tulani Watkins

“Check yourself on your lifestyle. Are there sacrifices that you are willing to make? Make sure you can win beyond fundraising.”

  • Company: Scoop, a service that allows people to conveniently remove and repurpose their unwanted items.
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Vielka Hoy

“VC money is for a company that has potential in the billions. And while you may think your company is the best thing ever, if you haven’t thought it out to the billions, it isn’t for VCs. Your best fundraising tool is to conceive of a product or service that can be monetized into the billions.”

  • Company: Bridge To College, a company that uses a web app to match students to colleges that will fund and graduate them on-time while providing K-16 institutions with the data to ensure graduation.
  • Location: Berkeley, CA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Whitney Griffith

“Because of Founder Gym, I have a network of 50+ founders who I can follow, share knowledge with, and give support.”

  • Company: Seamless Money, a company that reimagines inter-bank and cross-border payments in developing countries.
  • Location: San Francisco, CA and Washington, DC
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Xavier Thomas

“Understand that fundraising and executing are different responsibilities, and that you will NEED TO EXECUTE with precision, speed, and relentless energy…make sure you are setup to handle both at once, since they will both need simultaneous tending to.”

  • Company: DNA Compass,a Salesforce for genomics, connecting researchers, pharmaceutical companies, and patients to improve patient outcomes and therapeutic practice.
  • Location: Brooklyn, New York
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Yemi Adewunmi

“Because of Founder Gym, I feel confident about what investors are looking for from a good investment.”

  • Company: Civic Eagle, a company that helps advocacy organizations and business leaders win their legislative and policy initiatives with A.I. driven legislative intelligence and collaboration software, Enview.
  • Location: Atlanta, GA and Washington, DC
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Shoutout to the FG Cohort 3 Peer Trainers

There was so much talent in Cohort 3 that Founder Gym hosted Peer Training sessions. Select cohort members stepped up to share best practices, resources and tips to train their peers on popular startup topics. Thank you to these amazing founders:

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Meet the Incredible Trainers of FG Cohort 3

During the cohort, three venture capitalists and one founder/angel investor trained 46 FG founders on the nuances of raising venture capital. We would like to thank them for their kindness, insight, and commitment in helping us bridge the knowledge, network, and capital gap for underrepresented founders.

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Phin Barnes

  • Phin is a Managing Partner at First Round Capital. Formerly an early employee at AND 1, Phin is a self-proclaimed sneakerhead. He’s made over 50 investments, including Birchbox and Blue Apron.
  • Location:San Francisco, CA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Erik Moore

  • Erik is a Managing Partner of Base Ventures. Originally an angel investor in Zappos, Erik has since made over 70 investments in tech companies, including Olly, StyleSeat, Mayvenn, and Blavity.
  • Location: Berkeley, CA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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Freada Kapor Klein

  • Freada is a Founding Partner of Kapor Capital and diversity and inclusion expert. Freada has made over 100 investments, including Twilio, LendUp, and Genius Plaza, and has pioneered gap-closing social impact investing.
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter
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David J. Phillips

  • David is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor. His last company, Hackbright, sold for $18MM in 2016, and his latest company, Bloomjoy, recently graduated from Y Combinator, and has several prominent investors, including famed NFL player, Joe Montana.
  • Location: San Francisco, CA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Applications for Cohort 4 are now open!

Submit your application today to get a chance at learning how to fundraise like a boss.

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  • Cohort Topic: Raising Venture Capital
  • Cohort Duration: September 17th — October 26th, 2018
  • Location: 100% virtual, so you can participate from anywhere in the world.
  • Live Virtual Programming: Weekdays at 5:00pm PST
  • Cohort 3 Expert Trainers: Include Michael Seibel, CEO and Partner at Y Combinator.
  • Learn More: FounderGym.com
  • Application Deadline: August 29th at 11:59pm PST

SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION HERE

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Meet the Graduating Class of Founder Gym Cohort 2: The Fundraising Basics

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