Meet the Graduates of Founder Gym Cohort 6

Mandela SH Dixon
Published in
25 min readFeb 26, 2019


“Because of Founder Gym, I now have a roadmap, network, and the confidence to fundraise. My goal to raise $1.5 million in venture capital no longer seems unrealistic.” ~Jamela Peterson, Founder of SocialPreneur Lab

For six weeks, from January 9th to February 16th, 2019 we trained another 61 founders in Founder Gym Cohort 6.

FG Cohort 6 is historic for two reasons: 1) It’s the largest Founder Gym Cohort to date; and 2) It’s the first Black Founder Edition cohort we’ve tested.

As I explained in this article, “We are starting with Black founders…because the need is there (less than 2% of VC-backed founders are Black), and the demand is high (62% of Founder Gym graduates to-date identify as Black).”

In the month and a half program, founders learned how to create the essentials of a fundraising toolkit and hone their two-minute pitch. The founders in FG Cohort 6 are based in the United States and one territory (Cayman Islands), and their homes span 34 different cities.

Also, another first: we trained two cohorts at once! FG Cohort 5 Graduates and FG Cohort 6 Graduates bring our total number of Founder Gym Graduates to 253.

Founder Gym’s membership has grown by 954% since launching FG Cohort 1 on January 1, 2018.

Prior to being admitted into Founder Gym Cohort 6, many of the founders were already in the process of creating incredible solutions. They ranged from an educational app that teaches kids about credit, to a platform that delivers customized wellness experiences, to technology that develops visual hair recognition to create customized solutions for women with textured hair, to a date night concierge that helps busy couples plan awesome date nights, and so much more!

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

Fundraising as an underrepresented founder comes with its own unique set of challenges.

…and that’s where Founder Gym stepped in.

For six weeks, we provided an intense virtual training experience for select founders, that was led by some of the most experienced venture capitalists and founders in the business.

Now, after completing the rigorous requirements to graduate, we are excited to officially introduce the graduating class of Founder Gym Cohort 6, along with their Peer and Expert Trainers! But before we get into that, let’s look at the numbers. . .

Here’s a quick breakdown of Cohort 6 membership:


  • Female: 55%
  • Male: 43%
  • Non-binary: 2%


  • African American / Black: 90.2%
  • Multi-ethnic: 9.8%


  • Twenties: 28%
  • Thirties: 47%
  • Forties: 18%
  • Fifties: 7%

Parenting Status

  • With children: 59%
  • Without children: 41%


  • Bay Area: 18%
  • NY Area: 16%
  • Washington DC Area: 13%
  • Houston Area: 8%
  • Atlanta Area: 8%
  • Southern California: 5%
  • Boston Area: 3%
  • Other areas in the US: 25%
  • Pacific Northwest: 2%
  • International: 2%

Immigrant Status

  • Native to the country they reside in: 87%
  • Immigrated to the country they reside in: 13%

Employment Status

  • Full-time founder: 53%
  • Part-time founder and full-time employee: 21%
  • Part-time founder and part-time employee: 26%

Product Stage

  • Product in the market: 23%
  • Product in private beta: 31%
  • Product in development: 46%

Technical Ability

  • Engineer: 23%
  • Designer: 17%
  • Other type of technical ability: 22%
  • Non-technical: 38%

Previous Fundraising Experience

  • No previous fundraising experience: 32%
  • Friends and Family: 27%
  • Incubator and/or accelerator: 7%
  • Venture capitalists: 2%
  • Angel investors: 9%
  • Pitch competition: 4%
  • Grants: 6%
  • Crowdfunding: 5%
  • Private equity: 2%

Meet the Graduates of FG Cohort 6

Abdullah Sambo

“Get traction first. You’ll have more leverage with investors that way.”

  • Company: Airchat is a voice chat social app community for talking to your friends, while your mutual friends listen
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Alex Queen

“Be yourself! It’s not as deep as you think. Just figure out what your concept is CLEARLY and you got it!”

  • Company: OnePact is a platform that connects products and causes to make charitable pacts for profit and impact
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Angelia Baxter

“Because of Founder Gym, I have a network of fellow founders to lock arms beside me and hold me up.”

  • Company: In the Place is a networking platform that connects diverse professionals in film and tech
  • Location: Antioch, CA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

April Jefferson

“Because of Founder Gym, I am a more enlightened founder.”

Cesa Salaam

“Be humble. Do not go in thinking you know everything or that you are better than anyone.”

  • Company: Snypt is a coding collaboration environment built on snippets of code.
  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Chad Mills

“Because of Founder Gym, I am ready to seize my vision and fulfill my dream.”

Chris Lindsey

“Force yourself to ask the FG Expert Trainers questions, even if you’re nervous. You don’t want to miss out on this unique opportunity to engage with some of the best in the field.”

  • Company: Ear2Ground is the “Salesforce” for Artists and Culture Centric Media Companies
  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Clarence Bey

“Take it serious. Do all the work. Stay on after the calls. Meet and talk to as many folks as possible. This is a training ground for your future success.”

  • Company: The Forever App makes it easy and convenient to securely store and systematically share private data and content to your most trusted loved ones in case of an emergency
  • Location: Marina del Rey, CA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Colin Seale

“Put your head down and do the work.”

  • Company: thinkLaw helps educators teach critical thinking to all students.
  • Location: Phoenix, AZ
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Daveed Benjamin

“Because of Founder Gym, I am ready to reel in the investment.”

  • Company: Bridgit is building the #OverWeb, a new trust layer on top the Internet that enables rapid discovery and 360 degree context for any idea on the web
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

David Mims

“Take advantage of the whole experience.”

  • Company: Bazaar Savings is a digital fundraising platform and community marketplace that helps businesses and organizations raise money and members save money
  • Location: Austin, TX
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Dawn Myers

“NETWORK. Set time aside to introduce yourself to random people in the cohort. The gems come from the least expected places.”

  • Company: THE MOST engineers tools and devices that make styling textured hair faster, easier, and more convenient.
  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Derrick Parson

“Utilize the Founder Gym “After Hours” — where founders stay on after the official training sessions end. Also, attend the Office Hours!!! This is where bonds are formed and life long friends in the startup world are made!”

  • Company: GRASPIE™ is a mobile-first training and engagement platform for the new connected workforce allowing employers to onboard, train, and engage their employees faster and cheaper leveraging dynamic content, augmented reality and machine learning
  • Location: New York, NY
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Derrick Reyes

“Attend everything, stay engaged in community, and get as much feedback as possible on your FG Locker materials.”

  • Company: Queerly Health leverages health tech to bridge the gap, the canyon really, between the LGBTQ community and safe, comprehensive, and culturally competent health and wellness providers
  • Location: New York, NY
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Devon Johnson

“Because of Founder Gym, I feel more confident about my ability to raise money.”

  • Company: BleuLife Media is democratizing the digital advertising landscape opening the door for more multicultural participation
  • Location: New York, NY
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Elyce Vardii

“Teach those around you, and be willing to give before getting.”

Erica Plybeah

“Find at least one founder you really connect with.”

  • Company: MedHaul exists to eliminate transportation for patients in poor and rural communities
  • Location: Memphis, TN
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Evan Leaphart

“Give it your all. Engage with your peers, stay positive. At its core, this program is truly designed to create better founders more prepared to receive interest from VC’s.”

Evita Grant

“Definitely interact with your cohort members. They have a wealth of experience that can help you move your business forward.”

  • Company: TecHustle’s first product AFi is a fintech platform to power banking, fund transfer and payments for Africans and the African Diaspora
  • Location: Palo Alto, CA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitte

Iman Wilkerson

“Engage with the cohort members. They are the real gems in FG!”

  • Company: PacePartner is a vertically integrated mobile lifestyle app for runners who travel
  • Location: San Diego, CA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Jabari Alii

“Manage your time wisely. Have a focus for what you want out of the program. Build your community and make friends. Humble yourself and be open to growth. Push yourself harder than you’ve ever pushed yourself before.”

Jamela Peterson

“Turn your assignments in on time., The most valuable part of this experience is the feedback. Don’t miss your opportunity to receive feedback from the FG Experts!”

  • Company: SocialPreneur Lab, provides a comprehensive curriculum and a web-based crowdfunding platform & online marketplace to help K-12 educators teach entrepreneurship in the classroom
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Joshua German

“Because of Founder Gym, I now better understand how VCs think and what they care about.”

  • Company: Whatsgud is a mobile platform that provides nightlife users a crowd-sourced and real time snapshot of a city’s social scene based on their mood
  • Location: Portland, OR
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Karima Wilson

“Ask for help throughout. Find avenues and people to connect to.”

  • Company: EquityHow provides tools and materials so that schools can create affirming and inclusive communities for students of color.
  • Location: Houston, TX
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Kat Gabrielle

“Connect with the other cohort founders during and after the program.”

  • Company: 2050Work is a job site that connects job seekers of color to jobs in creative and tech
  • Location: New York, NY
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Kiley Summers

“Complete the work as it comes and don’t wait.”

  • Company: SpenDebt is a financial technology company designed to improve consumers’ financial health (i.e. paying off debt) leveraging micropayment through everyday transactions
  • Location: St. Louis, MO
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Kimberly Wilson

“Be present! Make the most of the resources, the people and the FG staff.”

  • Company: HUED connects patients of color to Black and Latino healthcare providers (a ZocDoc that is “for us, by us).
  • Location: New York, NY
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Kimberly Catlin

“Take advantage of building relationships with the other founders.”

  • Company: Yyi Technology is an application Development Solutions Firm
  • Location: Pittsburgh, PA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn

Kristina Williams

“Be patient with yourself.”

  • Company: ZiM is an augmented reality app for art
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Kymberlee Hill

“Try to reach out and connect with your cohort peers. I think they are some of the best resources you may have available.”

  • Company: Curl IQ develops proprietary visual hair recognition technology that simplifies, automates and personalizes the discovery experience for women with textured hair
  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Lavontay Santos

“Use the SLACK channel, stay on video calls even if you’re just a fly on the wall (A LOT goes down after the formal training sessions) and meet up early and often if you can. We are building the network of the future and it only works when you participate in it.”

  • Company: Mentorch is a social network for connecting mentors and mentees
  • Location: Annapolis, MD
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Marc Saint-Ulysse

“The networking is worth it. There are some DOPE founders in here.”

  • Company: Razu is a networking and collaboration service in the music industry
  • Location: Irvington, NJ
  • Get connected: LinkedIn

Marcie Moore Gantz

“Stay on schedule. Reach and connect with your fellow cohorts early.”

  • Company: Nia Philanthropy is a social investment marketplace that exists to help maximize impact on the causes you care most about.
  • Location: Denver, CO
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Nathan Dillard

“Participate in all of the optional trainings; you’ll regret it if you don’t.”

  • Company: National Black Business Directory is a business solutions platform & ecosystem centralized around a core demographic of diverse businesses. Its mission is to develop and deliver tailored solutions to entrepreneurs of color
  • Location: Dayton, OH
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Naya Powell

“Try to clear your schedule completely for one day a week as much as possible to catch up on assignments. Also be very intentional about connecting with fellow members in the cohort.”

  • Company: Spa Utopia is a luxury spa on demand; using a mobile app to deliver customized wellness experiences to our clients door — same day
  • Location: Durham, NC
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Niesha Butler

“Because of Founder Gym, I am a more informed founder.”

Nikema Prophet

“Take advantage of the dopeness of your cohort. FG picks winners and there is a great deal of talent and valuable experience that you now have access to.”

  • Company: PopSchools creates learning spaces for kids within the real world of work
  • Location: Sacramento, CA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Omotayo Imani

“Set time aside and make sure you do the exercises because it will definitely help with your success.”

  • Company: FindSeekApp is an on-demand location-based app that facilitates the seeking and lending of resources or services in exchange for compensation
  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Pernell Cezar

“Don’t delay engaging and learning from your cohort member community!”

  • Company: BLK & Bold Specialty Beverages is a coffee roastery and wholesalers of organic coffee and loose-leaf tea, with a domestic-impact focus of contributing 5% of profits to helping disadvantaged youth live their best lives
  • Location: Des Moines, IA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Regina Gwynn

“Take the time to network and build relationships with members.”

Reginald Parker

“Get on the FG Slack channel early and get to know people in your industry.”

Excited by what you’re seeing? Keep reading to find out how YOU can be a member of our next FG Cohort. Applications are now open at!

Renee Williams

“Take advantage of every moment. Do the work. Definitely stay for after hours with peers.”

  • Company: BioTune Computations is scientific software company that streamlines the end-to-end computational needs for researchers — one class of molecules at a time
  • Location: San Francisco, CA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Ronald Johnson

“Because of Founder Gym, I am more prepared and knowledgeable to execute on my fundraising strategy.”

  • Company: Tiirn is an on-demand person to person car sharing social network
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Rushaine McBean

“Keep in touch with the members you vibe with to grow your network.”

  • Company: BeautyHaus is an on-demand marketplace beauty platform that’s changes the way people of color find and secure beauty services nearby
  • Location: Yonkers, NY
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Ruth Chandler Cook

“I now have some new connections and a better understanding of what my company needs when I pitch next.”

  • Company: HireHer connects diverse talent to innovative industries
  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Sadé Shakur

“Plan to spend at least 4–6 hours per day on FG assignments and the overall experience. It truly requires a significant time commitment in order to make the most of the experience.”

  • Company: Deckstr’s debut product is Deckstr “Perfect Fit”, a referral marketplace where job seekers can gain a job referral from employees at their dream company
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Samara Walker

“Engage with others and step outside of your comfort zone to fully embrace this amazing experience! Come with an open mind and be prepared to learn from trainings, your director and peers!! There is wealth of information within the cohort!”

  • Company: Àuda.B is a beauty tech company integrating technology and products for beauty services
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Shimite Obialo

“First, understand that this is a highly focused virtual boot-camp for entrepreneurs that are ready to raise venture capital. If this is an experience you are looking for, clear your calendar and be prepared to receive. It’s a great community to be a part of, if you take the time to cultivate relationships and absorb the information.”

  • Company: Anoko House will launch in 2020 as an art-inspired co-working space and members club designed to nurture, promote and elevate people of the global African diaspora
  • Location: New York, NY
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Sonja Salmon

“Get to know your cohort, tap into the momentum, and look for collaboration opportunities.”

  • Company: Ebby Rane is a transforming the lives of business travelers with luxury carry-ons and accessories
  • Location: New York, NY and Toronto, ON
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Stedmon Bates

“Because of Founder Gym, I am more confident and I know the language of VCs.”

  • Company: TicketDM is a safe, real time, mobile marketplace focused on streamlined ticket exchanges and ticket discovery for the music festival community.
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Stephanie Neal-Johnson

“Get as much preparation done as you can prior to starting the cohort. Clear as much life ‘noise’ away, so you can focus and make the most of the experience.”

  • Company: E-Conomic Empowerment is a financial platform designed to support, educate and empower previously unbanked members of the community
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Taylor Baloney

“Get to know everyone in the FG community This will be great in terms of completing assignments, getting advice about investors, and just having people to talk to and laugh with.”

  • Company: Find My Everything creates and sells GPS tracking devices that help combat the serious human trafficking epidemic
  • Location: Milpitas, CA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Tempestt Davis

“Do all the assignments, participate, and chat after the sessions.”

  • Company: Busy Business is a subscription based collaborative Freelance community helping freelancers Work, Hire and Learn all in one place
  • Location: San Antonio, TX
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Terance Harper

“USE THE FG SLACK! So many gems will be dropped. Also, Twitter is the go-to to talk to people on a personal level.”

  • Company: Fresh’n Pads is a feminine hygiene company that directly ships novel feminine hygiene products named Fresh’n Pads via our mobile app
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Terrence Wood

“Show up to everything and ask questions.”

  • Company: Before You Go Pro is the first Student-Athlete Development and Virtual Coaching Platform, geared towards Mental, Moral and Social Preparation
  • Location: San Leandro, CA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Thkisha Sanogo

“Because of Founder Gym, I feel confident presenting my business offering to the world.”

  • Company: myTAASK is a platform that streamlines everyday planning for busy women
  • Location: Daphne, AL
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Timothy Webb

“Make sure you clear your personal and business schedule for it. Make it a priority for those 6 weeks.”

  • Company: Power Corp is a Fintech platform powered by the blockchain to provide liquidity for asset owners who cannot get financing via traditional banks and financial houses
  • Location: Las Vegas, NV
  • Get connected: LinkedIn

Ugo Ezeamuzie

“Build relationships by finding ways you can add value, serve and help the other founders in your cohort. It’s the best way to live!”

  • Company: Bloveit is a date night concierge that helps busy couples plan awesome date nights at the click of a button
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Whitney Herrington

“Make sure you are truly prepared for the time and effort commitment it requires.”

  • Company: Mental Matters is a mental health app focusing on creating health minds for the black community
  • Location: Arlington, VA
  • Get connected: LinkedIn

Yasmin Mattox

“Pace yourself. This is a marathon, and you must pace yourself accordingly or you won’t get as much out of it as you otherwise could.”

  • Company: Arkatecht streamlines the daily overload of career advancement and family logistics information that weigh working parents down, so they can more easily accomplish both their professional and family aspirations, and plan, design, and build the lives they truly want to lead
  • Location: Rochester, NY
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Yemariam Mamo

“Build relationships with your peers.”

  • Company: Curl IQ develops visual hair recognition technology to create customized solutions for women with textured hair
  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Excited by what you’re seeing? Keep reading until the end of this article to learn how YOU can be a member of our next FG Cohort. Applications are now open at!

Shoutout to the FG Cohort 6 Peer Trainers

There was so much talent in Cohort 6 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 6

During the cohort, four venture capitalists and one founder trained FG Cohort 6 founders on the nuances of raising venture capital. We would like to thank them for their kindness, insight, candor and commitment in helping us bridge the knowledge, network, and capital gap for underrepresented founders.

Troy Carter

Troy Carter is the founder and CEO of Atom Factory and co-founder and Managing Partner of Cross Culture Ventures. He most recently served at Spotify as its Global Head of Creator Services, overseeing the company’s relationships with artists, producers, songwriters and record companies. In 2017, Troy was also named Entertainment Advisor to the Estate of Prince Rogers Nelson.

Troy rose to prominence In the music industry, nurturing the career of hip-hip sensation Eve before transforming Lady Gaga into a global pop phenomenon through the nascent innovation of social media. Since then he’s managed the careers of John Legend, Lindsey Stirling, Meghan Trainor and Charlie Puth. His foray into the tech world resulted in the formation of Atom Factory’s angel fund and VC fund Cross Culture Ventures. Early-stage investments include Uber, Lyft, Dropbox, Spotify, Warby Parker, theSkimm, MOAT, Gimlet Media, Thrive Market, and ATTN.

Troy also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for The Aspen Institute and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, as well as a board member for organizations including The Grammy Foundation, United Nations Global Entrepreneurs Council and the James Madison Council at The Library of Congress. Carter spent time as a guest shark for Season 7 of ABC’s hit primetime show Shark Tank, and has been globally recognized on industry lists for Fast Company’s Most Creative People, Billboard’s Power 100, as well as The Hollywood Reporter’s Silicon Beach Power List.

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Get connected: LinkedIn

Adeyemi Ajao

Adeyemi (“Ade”) is co-founder & Managing Partner at Base10 Partners. Before Base10, Ade had a successful career as an entrepreneur and investor. Ade is originally from Spain and half Nigerian. He holds an MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. He also holds a J.D. in Law and a M.S in Economics from Icade University in Spain and studied a certificate on Machine Learning at Stanford.

Ade was the co-founder and CEO of Tuenti (The “Spanish Facebook” which was acquired by Telefonica in 2010 for $100M), co-founder and CEO of Identified (“AI for HR” acquired by Workday in 2014) and a founding investor of Cabify (the largest ridesharing company in Latin America currently valued at over $1B). While at Workday, Ade led launch to Workday Ventures, the first fund focused on Applied AI for Enterprise Software and was VP of Technology Strategy.

Location: San Francisco — Bay Area, CA

Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Uriridiakoghene (Ulili) Onovakpuri

Uriridiakoghene “Ulili” Onovakpuri returned to the Kapor Capital team in 2016. She is focused on sourcing investment opportunities, conducting diligence and supporting Kapor Capital’s portfolio companies particularly those in the digital health and medical technology industries.
Previously, Uriridiakoghene served as Director of Global Programs at Village Capital, a global accelerator program and venture capital firm which supports healthcare, education, agriculture, energy and FinTech businesses. At Village Capital she worked side by side with entrepreneurs from around the world helping them grow their ideas into marketable businesses. Uriridiakoghene received her MBA with a concentration in Health Sector Management from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. She is a native San Franciscan and a proud UC Berkeley Alum.

Location: Oakland, CA

Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Morgan DeBaun

Fresh out of college, she headed to Silicon Valley to learn from the best and brightest about Product Management and Design. The St. Louis native became a growth hacker and small business advisor to aspiring entrepreneurs. In 2014, she launched Blavity — the largest media startup and lifestyle brand for black millennials. Under her leadership, Blavity has successfully acquired 2 companies, raised over 9 million in venture funding, and reaches millions of people a day online. Today, Morgan manages a team of over 65 employees and 100 contractors with offices in LA, ATL, SF and NYC.
Morgan is one of the first 15 American women to raise one million in venture funding. Her list of accolades includes: The Root Top 100 Most Influential Black Americans, Ebony 100, Black Enterprise Founder of the Year, Forbes 30 under 30, Silicon Valley Top Women in Tech, and has been profiled in Inc Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, WSJ, Forbes, and many more.
Morgan is also the founder of M.Roze Essentials a natural skincare line.
Morgan DeBaun graduated top of her class from Washington University in St. Louis with a major in Political Science and minors in Entrepreneurship and education. She was the youngest student body president elected at Wash. U. and is a recipient of the John B. Ervin Scholars Program.

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Sydney Thomas

Sydney is the Senior Associate at Precursor Ventures. She also serves on the Board of Beyond Emancipation, NextGen VC and Skydeck, the Berkeley Accelerator Program.
Prior to joining Precursor, Sydney gained experience working in technology startups in business development and product marketing. She has done everything from writing federal SBIR grants to managing a customer success team.
Prior to her work in tech, she managed public-private partnerships for the NYC Government’s Department of Education and Office of Financial Empowerment. Over the course of her tenure, she drafted federal legislation, negotiated a multi-million dollar contract and received a full-ride scholarship to her business school of choice.
Sydney graduated from Berkeley with her MBA and Duke with her BA.

Location: San Francisco — Bay Area, CA

Get connected: LinkedIn and Twitter

Meet the FG Cohort 6 Leadership Team

Sometimes in order to hold things together you need a little glue, and to help things run smoothly you need some oil. These amazing Founder Gym team members were both glue and oil, giving it their all to support the Cohort 6 founders in their 6-week journey to complete the rigorous training program and come out the other side better prepared to raise capital and scale their startups!

Paige Hendrix Buckner, FG Program Director

“When I started my company, I had a million and one things to learn. It was a daily uphill battle, but it was made so much easier by spectacular mentors and peers. I’m honored to support FG Cohort members because I want to see each of their companies successfully raise, grow and solve the problems that they are each uniquely positioned to solve. I know how hard it is, so I want to make every day just a little bit clearer by helping them prepare to fundraise.”

Karen Rodriguez-Ponciano, FG Operations Fellow

“As a fellow, one of the things I enjoyed the most was the sense of community that we all co-created in Cohort 6. Founderhood can be a really challenging and exhausting journey, but one of my key takeaways from this experience is that we don’t have to do it alone. In the Founder Gym family, we lift each other as we climb. I’m incredibly proud of my founders in Cohort 6 and it has been an honor to support such a brilliant and resilient group. I know that every single one of them is destined for greatness and that they will bring their communities along with them.”

Barbara Dos Santos, FG Data Fellow

“I loved studying and addressing the feedback provided by the founders throughout the program. I hope it helped to make the program the best experience for each one of them”

Jonathan Hackworth, FG Data Fellow

“Plugging into the vibrant Founder Gym community was the most rewarding part of this experience. The founders are hungry, the trainers are experts, and the Founder Gym team is first-class.

Applications for our Pre-Seed and Seed Cohorts are now open!

For the first time ever, we are offering different program experiences specifically based on whether or not the founder is at the pre-seed fundraising stage or the seed fundraising stage.

All FG Cohorts are 100% virtual, so you can participate from anywhere in the world! Here are the upcoming cohorts that will operate from April 22 to May 31, 2019:

  • FG Pre-Seed Cohort 1 offers live training — between 9am-5pm PST.
  • FG Pre-Seed Cohort 2 offers live training — between 5–8pm PST.
  • FG Seed Cohort 7 offers live training — between 9am-5pm PST.

The deadline to apply is Sunday, March 31, 2019 at 11:59 pm PST.


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Meet the Graduating Class of Founder Gym Cohort 5: Raising Venture Capital



Mandela SH Dixon

CEO of Founder Gym | Bringing Silicon Valley to the streets since 2011