Meet the Graduates of Founder Gym Cohort 4

Mandela SH Dixon
Nov 13, 2018 · 15 min read

“Because of Founder Gym, I am confident that my company can raise the venture capital it needs to scale if I’m willing to put in the right work.” ~ Jeff Gamble, Founder of Dynamic Surgical

“I now realize that I’m the most important person in my own startup journey and that it’s my responsibility to keep going and reach my own destination. VCs are people you carpool /become friends with along your journey, but they also have their own journeys and their own destinations. Before Founder Gym, I was betting on some future VCs to make my startup successful by throwing money at my startup and that money will make all my startup problems go away. After Founder Gym, I’m betting on myself.” ~ Elisa Swan, Founder of Wellnite Health

“I took a major inventory of what I was doing and took off my blinders. I looked clearly at my plans and made serious adjustments to my roadmap. I started scrapping the old and rebuilding towards what investors would actually fund, instead of what I hoped they would fund, which in my view was worth this investment alone. I’m not sure I would have gotten that “ah-ha” moment on my own. I got a sense that success is possible, and learned where I should be working harder and smarter.” ~ Allison Bland, Founder of Abouts


For six weeks, from September 19th to October 26th, we trained another 48 founders from three countries (Mexico, Canada, and the United States), and 34 cities to create the essentials of a fundraising toolkit and hone their two-minute pitch. It was our largest class to date!

has now trained over 170 founders, which means…

Founder Gym’s membership has grown by 84% since launching Cohort 1 just 10 months ago.

Prior to being admitted into Founder Gym Cohort 4, many of our founders created incredible solutions. They ranged from an app that leverages AI to match people of color to the right beauty products…to tech-enabled health pods that connect elderly and disable patients to remote multi-specialty doctors…to an app that provides anonymous 1-on-1 dating, relationship, and sex coaching…to a platform for employees to directly reach and hire talented people with disabilities in tech.

Our founders are building products and services that are making the world a better place for their customers and communities.

But there was one major challenge before they joined Founder Gym.

These underrepresented founders did not have the capital needed to transition their solution into a fully-fledged business, and they didn’t know how to raise that capital.

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. (More on them below).

Now, after completing the rigorous requirements to graduate, we are excited to officially introduce the graduating class of Founder Gym Cohort 4, along with their Peer and Expert Trainers! But before we get into that. . .

Here’s a quick breakdown of Cohort 4 membership:

Gender

  • Female: 48%
  • Male: 52%

Race

  • African American / Black: 77%
  • Hispanic / Latinx: 17%
  • White: 8%
  • East Asian: 6%
  • Southeast Asian: 2%
  • South Asian: 10%

Age

  • Twenties: 33%
  • Thirties: 40%
  • Forties: 23%
  • Fifties: 4%

Parenting Status

  • With children: 58%
  • Without children: 42%

Geography

  • Bay Area: 25%
  • Boston Area: 8%
  • NY Area: 19%
  • Other areas in the US: 44%

Immigrant Status

  • Native to the country they reside in: 79%
  • Immigrated to the country they reside in: 21%

Employment Status

  • Full-time founder: 67%
  • Part-time founder and full-time employee: 21%
  • Part-time founder and part-time employee: 12%

Product Stage

  • Product in the market: 27%
  • Product in private beta: 40%
  • Product in development: 33%

Technical Ability

  • Engineer: 31%
  • Designer: 12%
  • Other type of technical ability: 4%
  • Non-technical: 52%

Previous Fundraising Experience

  • No previous fundraising experience: 33%
  • Family: 37%
  • Friends: 42%
  • Incubator and/or accelerator: 8%
  • Venture capitalists: 0%
  • Angel investors: 21%
  • Pitch competition: 19%

Meet the Graduates of FG Cohort 4

Albert Hwang

  • Company: , is enabling any educator to teach tomorrow’s STEM today.
  • Location: Berkeley, California
  • Get connected: and

Allison Bland

  • Company: , a business redesigning the office suite to seamlessly integrate WordPress with Google Drive.
  • Location: Northampton, MA
  • Get connected: and

Arielle Jordan

  • Company: , helps users curate digital content they’re passionate about and build communities in real-time around that content.
  • Location: Dayton, OH
  • Get connected: and

Arthur Bart-Williams

  • Company: , a mobile publishing and advertising platform that connects people to places with location-based stories as self-guided experiences.
  • Location: Hercules, CA
  • Get connected: and

Avis Atkins

  • Company: Sprout is a mobile application that helps current students leverage their community in order to create micro-scholarships and take on less student debt.
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Get connected: and

Bethany Peak

  • Company: is a direct to consumer clean beauty company that develops high quality, non-toxic nail polish.
  • Location: Upland, CA
  • Get connected: and

Brianna Rader

  • Company: is an app that provides 1-on-1 sex, dating, and relationship coaching anonymously.
  • Location: San Francisco, CA
  • Get connected: and

Dennis Dawson

Derrick Johnson

  • Company: provides voice-first digital customer service solutions for the Quick Service Restaurant and Retail industries.
  • Location: San Francisco, CA
  • Get connected: and

Ed Jones

Elisa Swan

  • Company: provides one-stop integrated diabetes care by creating a platform for diabetics anywhere to have 24/7 access to high-quality diabetes care team.
  • Location: San Francisco, CA
  • Get connected:

Elkanah Reed

  • Company: is building a marketplace to connect publishers and advertisers for more branded content opportunities.
  • Location: New York City, NY
  • Get connected: and

Esther Melton

  • Company: has created Vibe, a mobile platform for students to find peer support communities for their mental health and wellness on college campuses.
  • Location: Mountain View, CA
  • Get connected:

Eugene Baah

  • Company: makes it easy for physical education instructors to reach more students and earn more money in less time.
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Get connected: and

Evonya Easley

  • Company: created Styled, a mobile app where clients can order a personal stylist to shop, deliver and style them.
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
  • Get connected: and

Faraji Whalen-Robinson

  • Company: invests in real estate and ventures to build sustainable communities in opportunity zones.
  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Get connected:

Frances Chua

  • Company: is an app that leverages AI to match people of color to the right beauty products.
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Get connected: and

Fred Burns

  • Company: is a digital platform that bridges the gap between the Culture and Social Media outlets.
  • Location: Dallas, TX
  • Get connected: and

Garry Johnson

  • Company: makes it easy for small business owners to get the financing they need.
  • Location: New Castle, DE
  • Get connected: and

Hans Marshalleck

  • Company: makes it painless to book travel with social media.
  • Location: New York, NY
  • Get connected:

Ian Felder

  • Company: is an online platform that customizes meals from restaurants to fit an individual’s caloric needs and or food intolerances through portion manipulation as well as ingredient substitutions.
  • Location: Brooklyn, NY
  • Get connected: and

James Malone

  • Company: is a digital market place for discovering, collecting and buying the art work from the greatest Black contemporary artists.
  • Location: Brooklyn, NY
  • Get connected: and

Jay Tolentino

  • Company: is an app that leverages AI to match people of color to the right beauty products.
  • Location: San Francisco, CA
  • Get connected: and

Jeff Gamble

  • Company: develops tech-enabled health pods on wheels that connect local elderly and disabled adults to remote multi-specialty doctors using live video streaming and advanced diagnostic devices.
  • Location: St Louis, MO
  • Get connected: and

John Thomas

  • Company: is a gifting platform that allows you to send thoughtful and personal gifts no matter where you are in the world.
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
  • Get connected: and

Kai Frazier

Kevin Celisca

  • Company: . is an all-in-one school software that helps teachers manage the classroom, students to stay organized without distractions, and gives admins feedback on school data.
  • Location: Ridgewood, NJ
  • Get connected: and

Maria Worley

  • Company: is building an AI-based lie detector.
  • Location: Dover, DE
  • Get connected:

Mark Jones

  • Company: is an online platform that customizes meals from restaurants to fit an individual’s caloric needs and or food intolerances through portion manipulation as well as ingredient substitutions.
  • Location: Brooklyn, NY
  • Get connected: and

Marvin Smith

  • Company: is a sports platform that drives engagement for non-professional teams and leagues.
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
  • Get connected: and

Maurice Womack

  • Company: provides hands-on, video-led STEAM labs for kids.
  • Location: Columbus, OH
  • Get connected:

Naitik Mehta

  • Company: , is the only platform for employers to directly reach and hire talented people with disabilities in tech.
  • Location: Vancouver, BC
  • Get connected: and

Olamide Olowe

  • Company: is a direct to consumer digital health company providing access to acne and hyper-pigmentation prescriptions.
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Get connected: and

Patrice Drayton

  • Company: , is an anonymous women’s only social network that helps women remove the shame of speaking their truth.
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
  • Get connected: and

Paul Watkins

  • Company: , a mobile platform for students to find peer support communities for their mental health and wellness on college campuses.
  • Location: East Palo Alto, CA
  • Get connected: and

Pierre Laguerre

  • Company: , links CDL drivers to Fortune 500 companies for on-demand and temporary transportation needs.
  • Location: Brooklyn, NY
  • Get connected: and

Purnima Sreenivasan

  • Company: , is making senior living available, affordable, accessible, attainable.
  • Location: San Ramon, CA
  • Get connected: and

Rohan Brown

  • Company: , uses data to gamify the nightlife experience.
  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
  • Get connected:

Rudy Chavez

  • Company: is a family-focused FinTech platform to help families save for their children’s needs.
  • Location: Beltsville, MD
  • Get connected: and

Shironda White

  • Company: is a tech company that increases student and university fundraising by making the giving process more transparent and efficient for donors.
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Get connected: and

Sonia Guimil

  • Company: is a marketplace where travelers and digital nomads meet to book and share the costs of a luxury villa.
  • Location: San Diego, CA
  • Get connected:

Sonia Smith-Kang

  • Company: is a tech-enabled digital content, lifestyle brand and commerce platform for multicultural parents by multicultural parents.
  • Location: Los Angeles,CA
  • Get connected: and

Tami Garcia

  • Company: is developing the first language and cultural learning platform to help parents raise globally aware kids by providing a step-by-step guide to their child’s development and connecting them with activities, vendors and resources for their kids, ages 1–17.
  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Get connected:

Tia Lyles-Williams

Tiffany Markarian

  • Company: is a lifestyle method that helps you achieve your skin goals.
  • Location: Vienna, VA
  • Get connected: and

Vittorio Watson

  • Company: is a family-focused crowdfunding web-based application to help families save for their kids.
  • Location: Brooklyn, NY
  • Get connected: and

Vivien Macnguyen

  • Company: is enabling any educator to teach tomorrow’s STEM today.
  • Location: Berkeley, CA
  • Get connected:

Yoly G. Avalos

  • Company: is a full-stack platform that helps music creators and music companies have control of their music, data, and money.
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Get connected: and

Shoutout to the FG Cohort 4 Peer Trainers

There was so much talent in Cohort 4 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:


Meet the Incredible Trainers of FG Cohort 4

Cohort 4 founders were trained by five founders-turned-investors, who helped them learn the ins and outs of raising venture capital. We would like to thank them for their commitment to help bridge the knowledge, network, and capital gap for underrepresented founders.

Michael Seibel

  • Michael is CEO and Partner at . He was the co-founder and CEO of Justin.tv (sold to Amazon for $970m), and the co-founder and CEO of Socialcam (sold to Autodesk Inc. for $60m). He’s made over 50 investments, including Cruise, Luxe, Walker and Company, Bluesmart and Jopwell.
  • Location: San Francisco, CA
  • Get connected: and

Amit Patel

  • Michael is the Managing Partner at . He founded and sold Personal Academic Trainers, an after school tutoring company. Amit has worked closely with all companies in the Owl Ventures portfolio and serves on the board of Kuali, Lingo Live, Panorama Education, Securly, Swing Education, Thinkful and Tinkergarten.
  • Location: San Francisco, CA
  • Get connected: and

Arlan Hamilton

  • Arlan is the Founder and Managing Partner of , a fund that is dedicated to minimizing funding disparities in tech by investing in high-potential founders who are of color, women, and/or LGBT. She has made over 100 investments, including Blendoor, On Second Thought, Wildfang and Localeur.
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Get connected: and

Kathryn Minshew

  • Kathryn is the Founder and CEO of . Kathryn has spoken at MIT and Harvard, appeared on The TODAY Show and CNN, and contributes on career and entrepreneurship to the Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review. She was named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Media and Inc.’s 15 Women to Watch in Tech.
  • Location: New York, NY
  • Get connected: and

Carolina Huaranca

  • Carolina is a Principal at . In 2012, she founded Spriggle, a marketplace helping parents identify science and math inspired products for children ages 3–9. She’s made over 100 investments in companies that close gaps of opportunity and access for low income communities.
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Get connected: and

Applications for FG Cohorts 5 and 6 are now open!

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

  • Cohort Topic: Raising Venture Capital
  • Cohort Duration: January 7 to February 15, 2019
  • Location: 100% virtual, so you can participate from anywhere in the world.
  • Live Virtual Programming: Weekdays at 12:00 pm or 5:00 pm PST
  • Cohort 5 Expert Trainers: Kanyi Maqubela (Frm. Partner at Collaborative Fund), Holly Liu (Visiting Partner at Y Combinator), Hayley Barna (Partner at First Round Capital), and Ash Rust (Managing Partner at Sterling Road)
  • Cohort 6 (Black Founders Edition) Expert Trainers: Adeyemi Ajao (Co-Founder & Managing Partner at Base10), Morgan Debaun (Co-Founder & CEO of Blavity, Inc.), Troy Carter (Atom Factory and Cross Culture Ventures) and Uriridiakoghene Onovakpuri (Partner at Kapor Capital)
  • Learn More:
  • Application Deadline: November 25th at 11:59pm PST


NEW: Sponsor a Founder

Due to high demand, we’ve created the new option. Firms and investors have reached out to us because they want a founder that they’ve mentored, invested in or are interested in investing in to learn how to raise venture capital. Now, you can pay for 50% of 100% of a founder’s tuition to be a member of the FG Cohort.

Sponsor a founder .


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