FounderGym
Published in

FounderGym

Meet the Graduates of Founder Gym Fundraising Cohort 17

“Founder Gym truly has been one of the most challenging, yet rewarding experiences of my life. Completing this program continued to validate what I’ve always thought I was capable of. Being around like-minded founders/entrepreneurs, learning from the amazing trainers, and being guided by Mandela, Paige and Cordelro inspired and invigorated me every day. I can’t wait to continue to build on what I’ve learned thus far and continue to build a company that will help improve the lives of others.” — Jennifer Smith Founder of Tailored

“Before Founder Gym, I was unaware of the intricacies of the VC world. After Founder Gym, I feel as though a special invitation has been extended to me where this arena has not been traditionally available to someone who looks like me. Founder Gym, especially through this groundbreaking cohort, served as the welcome mat and open door.” — Donica’ Beckett, Founder of Complete Package Publishing and Communications

“I came to FG expecting to get the skill, vocabulary, and resilience I needed to fundraise. I am leaving the program with all of those PLUS a sense of community, connection, and a plethora of resources that are absolutely game-changing!” — Sonia Russell, Founder of Mindful You

“I am a data-driven person and knowing that Black women receive less than 1% of funding, I felt hopeless. After Founder Gym, I feel incredibly empowered and ready to take on the challenge. As a Black female founder, I know that I can make a difference to change the narrative. Seeing all of the focused and driven talent in FG Cohort 17 has solidified in my mind that we can and we will improve the statistics. This generation is ready. And Cohort 17 will continue to open doors for all future black businesswomen to come!” — Simi Olabisi, Founder of Makashe

“I have grown immensely in terms of my knowledge base and now I feel prepared to set up a strong foundation of our business. I further understand the different kinds of investors and how to present my ideas in ways that resonate. I’m so grateful that I bet on myself and invested in this program because the ways I am leveling up immeasurable.” — Janna Zinzi, Founder of Wanderwomxn Travels

We are excited to debut the graduates of Founder Gym Fundraising Cohort 17. FG Cohort 17 is particularly special because it’s the first FG Cohort where 100% of the founders are Black women and 100% of the FG Trainers are Black women.

In June and July 2021, we trained 71 Black women founders in 6 countries spanning 3 continents on how to successfully raise money to scale their tech startups. With this latest set of graduates in FG Fundraising Cohort 17, the total number of Founder Gym Graduates is now 613.

Since graduating our first FG Fundraising Cohort in January 2018, Founder Gym’s Graduate community has grown 2,257%.

FG Graduates are building world-class companies.

Founders in FG Fundraising Cohort 17 are developing a variety of solutions across a wide array of industries. Here are a few examples of the companies our graduates are building:

  • The first digitally native coaching platform that brings together career coaches, financial advisors, and therapists for individuals and organizations
  • A multiplatform media company creating content and experiences that provide Black couples and singles with resources for building healthy relationships
  • The co-working space for physicians of color in communities of color
  • A compliance software keeping daycares clear of licensing violations

But, as Black women founders, they face unique challenges.

Black women are the least funded group of all entrepreneurs (receiving less than 0.27% of all venture capital), yet Founder Gym continues to do the “impossible” by training more Black women, who have gone on to raise $1 million or more, than any other organization dedicated to serving underrepresented founders.

This is why we built Founder Gym.

For six weeks, we provided 71 select founders with an intense virtual training experience led by industry leaders in Silicon Valley and beyond. Founders had access to a robust library of video content featuring Founder Gym’s extensive network of investors, founders, lawyers, and financial experts. After completing the rigorous graduation requirements, we are now excited to officially introduce the graduates of FG Fundraising Cohort 17.

Before you meet the founders, take a look at the numbers.

MEET THE GRADUATES OF FOUNDER GYM FUNDRAISING COHORT 17

“Because of Founder Gym, I am definitely more connected to like-minded founders than I was before and I know some incredible, badass Black women who I’m confident will succeed.”

  • Founder: Aje Amaechi
  • Company: Ilera Market
  • Description: Ilera Market is a Black-owned wholesale apothecary and metaphysical shop which provides support and training to holistic healers of color.
  • Location: Portland, OR
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I’ve learned to set my sights on the impossible and not to worry about having all the answers right now.”

  • Founder: Amanda James-Davis
  • Company: Kid-Tastic
  • Description: Kid-Tastic is a web-based software solution for child care providers looking to successfully automate critical administrative tasks on a daily basis.
  • Location: Milwaukee, WI
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I am more confident and prepared to get the investment I need to build my empire.”

  • Founder: Amirah Raveneau-Bey
  • Company: The Home Dispatch
  • Description: We are on a mission to make homeownership easy with data-driven recommendations and solutions to take the work out of maintenance and management.
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I am a more confident entrepreneur. I speak to my business, mission, and purpose very differently than I did only six weeks ago. I now have the language, skill set, and have built the right muscles to pitch my business and go for what I want.”

“I definitely have more confidence and more knowledge about fundraising. I have developed a stronger pitch and I now understand what venture capitalists and angel investors are looking for.”

  • Founder: Bahia Overton
  • Company: Bahia Honey Beauty and Wellbeing
  • Description: Bahia Honey Beauty and Wellbeing is a natural skin and hair care company dedicated to helping all people feel more comfortable in the skin that they’re in!
  • Location: Vancouver, WA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Before the FG Cohort, I didn’t know much about how to find investors, how to gain capital for my startup, or how to effectively pitch. Now, after completing the 6-week program, I have more confidence and knowledge on how to build my startup.”

  • Founder: Camile Delva
  • Company: Skin Releaf
  • Description: Skin Releaf is a digital health platform that helps people of color get access to dermatologists and education to help manage their skin health.
  • Location: Brooklyn, NY
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I am sure that I will be successful beyond my wildest dreams.”

  • Founder: Carmella M. Williams
  • Company: Carmella Marie
  • Description: Carmella Marie is a holistic hair care company that builds beautiful hair from the inside out.
  • Location: Hubbard, OH
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“My business has been around for 4 years and our primary revenue driver has been 1 product (a TVseries). The FG Cohort experience forced me to take a step back and assess what is working, what is not, and most importantly, how to communicate what our company’s capabilities are. This experience was critical to my professional growth as a founder.”

  • Founder: Codie Elaine Oliver
  • Company: Black Love
  • Description: Black Love is a multiplatform media company creating content and experiences that provide Black couples and singles communities with resources for building healthy relationships.
  • Location: View Park, CA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I have bravely found my voice to confidently express what I am building and how to tackle this journey more successfully head-on.”

  • Founder: Corie Drayton
  • Company: Travvo
  • Description: Travvo is a travel payment service simplifying travel. We offer arrangements to users providing them the flexibility when they book their trip. In return, we connect travel brands and merchants with more users and a higher conversion rate.
  • Location: Phoenix, AZ
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I know how to clearly tell my business story, what options I have for fundraising, and that people are looking to invest in me.”

  • Founder: Dawn Brown
  • Company: Math-A-Matics Tutoring
  • Description: Math-A-Matics is an in-home and online tutoring that helps students Catch up, Keep up and Get Ahead from kindergarten thru college math.
  • Location: Houston, TX
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Before Founder Gym, I only had my idea, my business license, and a business plan map. After the Cohort, I am a confident founder who has learned how to research better and gain access to the tools that I need to grow my company and I have also learned how to deliver my company pitch in a way that is confident and clean.”

  • Founder: Disharick Howze
  • Company: Pentacle Pay
  • Description: Pentacle Pay is a digital B2C that breaks healthcare costs into digestible sizes for customers.
  • Location: Rock Hill, SC
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I have a better understanding of the intricacies of the VC world and a more open route to joining it!”

  • Founder: Donica’ Beckett
  • Company: Complete Package Publishing and Communications
  • Description: Complete Package Publishing and Communications is a community-driven, publishing and communications firm, operating using a social justice lens, that aims to increase access to family health literature, narrow gaps in health communication and literacy, and promote diversity and inclusion in media and beyond.
  • Location: Beaumont, TX
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I have beaten the odds placed against people like myself, who come from my environment. I’m a winner, and a winner never quits on themselves!”

  • Founder: Eboni Taylor
  • Company: LVNDR Green
  • Description: AI-assisted app that connects drone pilots and analysts to clients promoting productivity resources.
  • Location: Jonesboro, GA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin
  • Founder: Ellington West
  • Company: Sonavi Labs
  • Description: Sonavi Labs is on a mission to improve health outcomes by creating advanced digital diagnostics and software.
  • Location: Baltimore, MD
  • Get Connected: Linkedin

“I’m already feeling more confident and prepared to raise large rounds of capital. Allspring’s story feels cleaner and resonates with what investors are looking for. I’ve also learned market standards that have made the raising process easier to navigate. Before I was nervous to say I wanted to raise $500K in the fall. Now, I’m really excited about it!”

  • Founder: Erin Rowe
  • Company: Allspring
  • Description: Allspring is the first digitally native coaching platform that brings together career coaches, financial advisors, and therapists for individuals and organizations.
  • Location: San Francisco, CA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I feel prepared to fundraise.”

  • Founder: Farah Brunache
  • Company: Lagatos
  • Description: Lagatos is a consumer artificial intelligence product that pays you to give others access to on-demand content.
  • Location: Santa Clara, CA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I have the toolbox needed to go out and raise funds.”

  • Founder: Gia Grant-Rutledge
  • Company: HELLOGRANTS
  • Description: HELLOGRANTS leverages technology to match nonprofits and funders, creating a one-stop shop for funders to develop tailored grant applications, search for nonprofits to fund, and track impact and for nonprofits to develop a searchable profile, respond using tailored grant applications, search and apply for grants, and report outcomes.
  • Location: Chattahoochee Hills, GA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Prior to Founder Gym, I was someone who played small. I had a million ideas and was not sure about my vision. I’ve gotten really clear that I have so much to give, and I owe it to myself and my craft to be the very best. Through Founder Gym’s leadership and expertise, I feel confident to build a company aligned with my mission to nurture the future.”

  • Founder: Grace Lamour
  • Company: The Hope App
  • Description: Connecting school systems to mental health resources.
  • Location: Long Island City, NY
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“FG held up a mirror to me, and showed me my truth. Each participating founder, company, trainer, and lesson was excellent. But most excellent, was the curriculum, methodology, and execution carried out by Mandela, Paige, and Cordelro.”

  • Founder: Isis Valliergues Barnum
  • Company: The Favorable Company
  • Description: Favorable is a social shopping website and a recommendation engine highlighting the best choices for shoppers, and enabling the most responsible production practices for brands at scale.
  • Location: Paris, France
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Founder Gym is an intense, high-energy experience. Before this process, I was a Founder who had goals and an idea but lacked the clarity and confidence needed to chase the vision. After completing this process — I am a Founder and CEO who has crafted the story of why Cloth Cuties is so special and needed in communities of color.”

  • Founder: Jamie T. Frank
  • Company: Cloth Cuties
  • Description: Cloth Cuties is a budding cloth diapering brand that helps moms simplify cloth diapering!
  • Location: Houston, TX
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I see myself as a legitimate entrepreneur and co-founder. I understand the value of my ideas and believe in my ability to have a successful, lucrative business.”

  • Founder: Janna Zinzi
  • Company: Wanderwomxn Travels
  • Description: Wanderwomxn Travels is an inclusive and immerse travel network centering women of color and LBGTQIA folks.
  • Location: Mount Vernon, NY
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Before FG, I had confidence in my capabilities but I was used to shrinking myself to fit a narrative that made most people feel comfortable. Now, I feel like I am ready to take up more space in the world being my authentic self by honing in on the skills and experiences that make me not only different, but also better, unapologetically.”

  • Founder: Jasmine LeFlore
  • Company: Penture Capital
  • Description: Penture Capital is an exchange-style platform that reimagines investing by bringing the world of venture down to the personal level where people can directly invest in people.
  • Location: San Diego, CA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I am more equipped, prepared and poised to raise money for my startup.”

  • Founder: Jennifer Smith
  • Company: Tailored
  • Description: Tailored is an employment website that matches job seekers to career opportunities based on their values, lifestyle preferences, interests, and skillset.
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I am truly confident that I have the prerequisite skills to build Data Management Science into a leader in the B2B SAAS space.”

  • Founder: Kimberly Johnson
  • Company: Data Management Science
  • Description: Data Management Science is a SAAS company, where engineering meets analytics.
  • Location: New Orleans, LA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I understand VC’s perspective a lot better and feel I am equipped with the tools to continue to raise capital.”

  • Founder: Kyla Bolden
  • Company: Wiz Kid
  • Description: A global online learning platform and community for future-focused learners ages 7–18.
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I am confident I can scale my company to both raise billions of dollars and impact billions of lives!”

  • Founder: LaKeitha Poole
  • Company: Small Talk
  • Description: Small Talk is a global mental health practice that is transforming wellness through therapy, products, and community.
  • Location: Baton Rouge, LA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“I have definitely become more confident in my ability to tell my story and get my idea funded. I came in knowing very little about how venture and angel capital works. Now I understand how important it is to expand my company beyond what I thought was possible.”

  • Founder: Lane Jones
  • Company: Brandgelica
  • Description: As an online brand asset management portal, Brandgelica will be the round-the-clock digital member of your creative team, making all of your company’s branded assets accessible and editable in one convenient platform.
  • Location: Burlington, NC
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I recognize and am proud of my accomplishments (which I don’t always pause to celebrate) and confident in my ability to build a great company.”

  • Founder: Leigh Solomon Pugliano
  • Company: Limelight Creative
  • Description: Limelight Creative is a community for the music-making sector.
  • Location: Pittsburgh, PA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I am 100% more confident to go out and get what Local Purse truly deserves, because we are the opportunity for the investor.”

  • Founder: Lola Akinmade Åkerström
  • Company: Local Purse
  • Description: Local Purse is a global marketplace for live cultural experiences and a web-based platform that supports travel guides, local artisans, and cultural vendors by using live video shopping technology to host travelers virtually.
  • Location: Lidingö, Sweden
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I am more ready than ever to claim the life I deserve and the one that allows me to make the greatest impact on others and the world.”

  • Founder: Maggie Williams
  • Company: Equitable Arts
  • Description: Equitable Arts is an ArtTech, Production & Real Estate Company delivering inclusive solutions for Creatives and Creative Connoisseurs to holistically live their best lives.
  • Location: Tempe, AZ
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because Founder Gym, I am more confident and equipped to build the big vision we have for our venture.

  • Founder: Marcie Moore Gantz
  • Company: Sou Sou House
  • Description: Sou Sou House is an affordable, state-of-the-art, mission-aligned space-as-a service-solution and curated work-anywhere community for the growing new majority.
  • Location: Denver, CO
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Before Founder Gym, I viewed myself as an attorney seeking to resolve a problem that our legal system does not support. Post FG, I see myself as an innovative tech startup founder who will disrupt how this problem is solved and how families manage real estate.”

  • Founder: Mavis Gragg
  • Company: HeirShares
  • Description: HeirShares is changing the norm for how families own and manage real estate with innovative, affordable solutions and tools.
  • Location: Durham, NC
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Before this program, I was unsure and afraid to put myself after. Now, I am educated and equipped with the ‘know-how’ and the tools I need to truly enter this new arena of business. Most importantly, I am now confident and ready to introduce myself and my solution to the world.”

  • Founder: Melissa Bloom
  • Company: BloomTech Developments
  • Description: BloomTech Developments is creating optimal AI technology to drastically improve the business processes of healthcare.
  • Location: Clinton, MS
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“I was someone who did not have the confidence to pitch to VCs, and now I am bolder and excited to turn the tables and give people the opportunity to work with me.”

  • Founder: Michelle Heng
  • Company: Everlaunch
  • Description: Step-by-step tool helping entrepreneurs dream, build, and launch
  • Location: Glendale, CA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“I was someone who did not have the confidence to pitch to VCs, and now I am bolder and excited to turn the tables and give people the opportunity to work with me.”

  • Founder: Michelle R. Johnson
  • Company: Ghost Town Oats
  • Description: Ghost Town Oats is the new plant-based milk company that’s bringing oat milk to EVERY block (not just the gentrified ones!).
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I am less intimidated by fundraising!”

  • Founder: Millie Smith
  • Company: Manageroo
  • Description: Manageroo is a Future of Work startup that provides businesses a Chief Happiness Officer to focus 100% on team satisfaction.
  • Location: Brooklyn, NY
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I am a better business owner and know my worth”

  • Founder: Monica Hughes
  • Company: Kreative Connections Inc.
  • Description: Kreative Connections Inc. is an all-in-one advisory business platform creating an app for startups and midsize businesses to stay in compliance in finance, marketing, tech, and human resources.
  • Location: Scarsdale, NY
  • Get Connected: Linkedin

“The 6-week FG Cohort transformed my fundraising storytelling capabilities. It helped me refine my pitch deck and pitch. Also, establish more confidence in my abilities to raise money for my company.”

  • Founder: Montré Moore
  • Company: AMP Beauty LA
  • Description: AMP Beauty LA is a digital retail platform carrying the largest collection of clean Black-owned beauty.
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“The 6-week FG Cohort transformed my fundraising storytelling capabilities. It helped me refine my pitch deck and pitch. Also, establish more confidence in my abilities to raise money for my company.”

  • Founder: Nancy Mwirotsi
  • Company: Building The Tech Pipeline
  • Description: Our mission is to provide curriculum, mentorship, and professional opportunities to students interested in a career in tech, and to provide companies with a passionate and prepared diverse group of students and future tech leaders.
  • Location: De Moines, IA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I have a renewed level of self-confidence and a community of fellow founders on a similar mission to create impactful businesses that change our society for the better. We are powerful.”

  • Founder: Nia Malika Dixon
  • Company: Audaz Entertainment
  • Description: We are a media production company that centers Black and Muslim narratives and empowers underrepresented voices through fresh storytelling.
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I am more clear on expectations from VC’s on when and how they invest in founders.”

  • Founder: Noelle Bonner
  • Company: TheNOBO
  • Description: TheNOBO is a resale marketplace disruptor that allows users to trade, buy, and sell luxury products safely and securely online.
  • Location: San Francisco, CA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“My superpowers as a founder have elevated. I’ve also grown more confident in my capabilities to bring my company to life. I now know what VCs and Angel investors are looking for in my approach and pitch.”

  • Founder: Olivia Wang
  • Company: ErgoGamer
  • Description: ErgoGamer is a gaming accessory company focused on creating a healthier gaming experience.
  • Location: Lexington, KY
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“During the 6-week FG Cohort, I was empowered to feel more confident in the unique skill sets, experiences, and qualities I bring to the table. Now, I don’t only see my differences as strengths, I’m also able to talk about them confidently to friends, business partners, and investors.”

  • Founder: Oyinkansola Sofela
  • Company: A Little Louder Co.
  • Description: A Little Louder Co. is a digital media startup amplifying the joyful and bold stories of women of color through multiple channels including podcasts, an online publication, and a digital platform.
  • Location: Manhattan, NY
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“During the 6-week FG Cohort, I was empowered to feel more confident in the unique skill sets, experiences, and qualities I bring to the table. Now, I don’t only see my differences as strengths, I’m also able to talk about them confidently to friends, business partners, and investors.”

  • Founder: Paige Shelborne
  • Company: Complian Corp
  • Description: Complian Corp provides a cloud-based SaaS solution that digitizes the inspection process for healthcare professionals.
  • Location: Manassas Park, VA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“My confidence level has definitely transformed me to be a better founder. Before Founder Gym I never considered myself a founder but this Cohort17 of black women has boosted my self-esteem. #BetOnBlackWomen”

  • Founder: Roxanne Smith
  • Company: ALFA Custom Clothiers
  • Description: AFLA Custom Clothiers digital-first luxury custom clothing brand, our platform gives women and men the opportunity to design custom garments online tailored to their specific body measurement, with an impeccable fit.
  • Location: Chesapeake VA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“My confidence level has definitely transformed me to be a better founder. Before Founder Gym I never considered myself a founder but this Cohort17 of black women has boosted my self-esteem. #BetOnBlackWomen”

  • Founder: Ruby Dove
  • Company: Ethx
  • Description: Ethx is the only marketplace designed to help small beauty brands grow.
  • Location: Moreno Valley, CA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I am going to bootstrap for as long as possible and leverage this community for support and feedback along the way.”

  • Founder: Rumbidzai Mufuka
  • Company: I AM WILLING
  • Description: I AM WILLING is a platform dedicated to providing curated content, tailored resources, and trusted advisors that help the Black community protect its wealth with estate planning.
  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I am now prepared to start seeking investment, I have a positive attitude and can achieve my goals”

  • Founder: Sagal Jama
  • Company: Sagal Jama
  • Description: Online e-commerce offering plant-based beauty products using an ancient African botanical to tackle everyday skin and hair care needs.
  • Location: London, U.K.
  • Get Connected: Twitter

“During the course of Founder Gym, I was able to see and obtain knowledge to build, a greater extension of what I’ve already built. The community of Black Women reminded me that they see me even when the ones closest to you don’t in times of entrepreneurship. This process, this education, this shift in mindset have made me more confident and focused on what to do, how to do it. I’m no longer standing in uncertainty.”

  • Founder: Samaria Brown
  • Company: Azar Ezer
  • Description: Herbal serum that focuses on healing hair, scalp, and skin.
  • Location: Cedar Hill, TX
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Spending 6 weeks of learning and growing at the Founder’s Gym has shifted my mindset and confidence to raise capital for GEMS.”

  • Founder: Shana Cooper-Silas
  • Company: GEMS
  • Description: GEMS is a social media learning platform for kids and tweens.
  • Location: Brooklyn, NY
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Before Founder Gym, I was isolated in my fundraising journey and somewhat naive to the process of raising capital. Because of Founder Gym, I have the resources to be more strategic in raising capital.”

  • Founder: Shanice Black
  • Company: Bèlsou
  • Description: Bèlsou is a beauty-tech platform that inspires smarter skincare purchases by connecting consumers to quality products, services, and professionals based on needs.
  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I have the ability to go out and raise the funds needed to scale my company to new measures.”

  • Founder: Shayvon McCullum
  • Company: Secure Bridges
  • Description: Secure Bridges is a reward-based platform giving youth the opportunity to advocate for their own well-being in our wellness marketplace of local resources.
  • Location: Milwaukee, WI
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I can no longer be invisible. Between my expertise and current reasons to flex, my digital presence, my EdTech startup idea, I have stepped up and stepped out in a way that I never would have before. I’m out here!”

  • Founder: Shelley Henderson
  • Company: READY Nationwide
  • Description: READY Nationwide is a racial and gender equity-focused consulting, facili-training, and coaching firm that equips leaders to improve outcomes at critical loss points across the education-to-workforce continuum.
  • Location: Omaha, NE
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“I am now more confident in myself and my abilities to build a billion-dollar company. With the training I received and access to all the resources, I understand what it takes to get there. But most importantly I’m connected to a network of brilliant women who look just like me, eager to support and build one another up, so that we all are successful in our businesses.”

  • Founder: Sherrill Mosee
  • Company: SkyPie
  • Description: SkyPie is an inflight social shopping platform connecting passengers to local retailers and delivering purchases wherever they land.
  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Before Founder Gym Cohort 17, I was very worried about the money; it was the only thing I could think about. Now I know money is there. I pivoted my focus to further developing the best story in order to strongly present my product and brand to the world.”

  • Founder: Shiara Robinson
  • Company: LaSette Lingerie
  • Description: LaSette Lingerie is a disruptive lingerie brand turning secrecy into empowerment, by showing everyday women how to incorporate lingerie into their every day.
  • Location: Brooklyn, NY
  • Get Connected: Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I know my worth as a founder and that even my differences are strengths.”

  • Founder: Simi Olabisi
  • Company: Makashe
  • Description: Makashe is the first AI/AR-enabled hair marketplace that connects consumers to a curated selection of Luxury Hair Extensions and Wigs.
  • Location: Austin, TX
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founders Gym, I am confident and ready to begin my fundraising journey.”

  • Founder: SoJohna Bell
  • Company: Ryze Manufacturing
  • Description: Ryze Manufacturing is the first AI-enabled product development platform to unlock revenue opportunities for beauty professionals and entrepreneurs through private label haircare and skincare products.
  • Location: University City, MO
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I now feel confident to lead my company in a successful fundraising campaign AND I feel confident in my voice and my deservability to be in any room!”

  • Founder: Sonia Russell
  • Company: Mindful You
  • Description: Mindful You is a culturally relevant mindfulness app, for and by Black folks with stress reduction and healing justice in mind.
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“I felt lonely in the fundraising process but have found kinship and familiarity with black women who are sharing my same experiences. So, I am more open about my journey as you never know who is going down the same path.”

  • Founder: Stacy Celestin
  • Company: myBalbo
  • Description: At myBalbo, we are revolutionizing politics and disrupting democracy by empowering the next generation of voters.
  • Location: Norfolk, VA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“I know all things are possible and we can do this! We are capable of building multi-billion dollar companies. We can dream and achieve as long as we choose execution over excuses.”

  • Founder: Tam Cutten
  • Company: cGlobally
  • Description: cGlobally is a social and immersive virtual showing platform for real estate that makes it easy for agents to show homes anytime and anywhere through the use of XR technology.
  • Location: Spring, TX
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Prior to joining the cohort experience, It was a very insular experience building a product. Being a part of the cohort is great because there was an opportunity to build alongside and learn from other startup founders at similar stages of evolution.”

  • Founder: Temilola Adebayo
  • Company: HumanSquad
  • Description: HumanSquad is an immigration technology startup that provides a simple, affordable, and convenient solution that helps prospective migrants navigate the often complex immigration system more confidently and rapidly by connecting them to a pool of licensed and regulated immigration consultants and HR Advisors.
  • Location: Ajax, Ontario, Canada
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Before Founder Gym I felt lonely and it was hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel. After — I feel confident, supported, and empowered.”

  • Founder: Tisha Rowe
  • Company: Honeycomb Clinic
  • Description: Honeycomb Clinic is the clinical co-working space for physicians of color in communities of color.
  • Location: Houston, TX
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I am no longer afraid to talk dollars, I am confident in my FLEX, and I know that it’s no better time to be a Black woman. LET’S GO!!!”

  • Founder: Tisia Saffold
  • Company: Cleare
  • Description: Cleare is a compliance software that helps home and center daycares stay CLEARE of licensing violations.
  • Location: Alexandria, VA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I have been able to make my dream tangible.

  • Founder: Toi Gilbert
  • Company: Naive
  • Description: A cannabis cultivation, distribution, and dispensing company.
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I have been able to make my dream tangible.

  • Founder: Tunisia Sharpe
  • Company: Assured For Us
  • Description: Assured For Us is creating a safe space for Black professionals to help each other avoid toxic work environments online while also building enterprise software that helps companies identify where they’re toxic, why, and what to do about it.
  • Location: New York, NY
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“These 6 weeks with Founder Gym allowed me to build the foundations of my business. It allowed me to evolve my business model but above all to acquire skills that I did not have in terms of finance, organization, and communication.”

  • Founder: Virginie Bapaume
  • Company: 23Beauty Paris
  • Description: 23Beauty Paris is a brand of nail polish vegan and inclusive. Made in France, it contains no toxic ingredients and also offers natural nail care.
  • Location: Puteaux, France
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“FG helped me to see myself fully as a founder and what amazing strengths I’m bringing to the table. The FG process thoughtfully includes flexing, pitching over and over, and building community with all these amazing Black women founders. It was so affirming and I feel so lucky to have grown in such little time.”

  • Founder: Wenimo Okoya
  • Company: Healing Schools Project
  • Description: Created by educators of color, we heal teachers so they can heal their students
  • Location: Bloomfield, NJ
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I am able to navigate fundraising with a new level of confidence and conviction.”

  • Founder: Yaa Achiaw
  • Company: Henewaa
  • Description: A black-owned beauty search engine.
  • Location: Sunnyvale, CA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I am more likely to succeed at raising capital for Sign-Speak which aims to change the lives of millions.”

  • Founder: Yamillet Payano
  • Company: Sign-Speak
  • Description: Sign-Speak is the first real-time AI Sign Language recognition software that allows businesses to improve compliance with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) while serving the 48 million Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HH) individuals in the United States.
  • Location: New York, NY
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I’ve gained knowledge in steps and methods for developing a capital raising campaign. It has also helped to reduce the stress about asking people for money.”

  • Founder: Yvonne Fitzpatrick.
  • Company: IvyNet
  • Description: The world’s 1st digital estate management solution to prevent loss of generational wealth.
  • Location: Elgin, IL
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

Congratulations to the FG Fundraising Cohort 17 “Best in Cohort”

To be considered FG Fundraising Cohort Graduates, founders deliver their 2-minute pitch at Graduation Day. FG Fundraising Cohort members then vote for the top four founders based on the effectiveness of their pitch and the strength of their deck. Congratulations to Farah Brunache, Tisha Rowe, Tunisia Sharpe, and Yamillet Payano our FG Fundraising Cohort 17 Best in Cohort winners

Meet the FG Fundraising Cohort 17 Expert Trainers

Eight industry experts trained FG Fundraising Cohort 17 on how to formalize their financing strategy, craft their fundraising materials, and perfect their two-minute pitch. We would like to thank the following FG Trainers for everything they contributed to help level up our founders!

Special thanks to the FG Alumni Orientation Guest Speakers

We always invite FG Alumni to join us for Orientation so Cohort Members can learn from their experience. We were fortunate to have FG Fundraising Cohort Graduates Lisa Love, Co-Founder of Tanoshi, and Kimba Wiliams, Founder of Kushae, join us. Thank you for your time and all the gems you dropped to help your newest community members successfully complete the FG Cohort experience.

MEET THE FG FUNDRAISING COHORT LEADERSHIP TEAM

“It was an honor and privilege to serve our first FG Cohort dedicated to Black women founders. Having been a Black woman founder trying to fundraise, I know all too well what an uphill battle it is, and it brought me joy to support our incredible FG Cohort 17 Graduates as they embarked on their own fundraising journey. They are already building such transformational companies and I can’t wait to see what they do with the knowledge and skills that they acquired during this experience.”

Paige Hendrix Buckner, COO

Location: Portland, OR

Get Connected: Twitter and LinkedIn

“It was a tremendous honor to serve our first Black Women Cohort. There is no doubt that this group will go on to do special things and show why you should #BetOnBlackWomen.”

Cord Brown, Operations

Location: Birmingham, AL

Get Connected: Twitter and LinkedIn

JOIN THE MOVEMENT

Sign up here to get notified about the next FG Fundraising Cohort, so you can get trained by world-class trainers.

Structure to Succeed

If you already had everything you needed to succeed, you would not be here. The truth is, everyone needs help to get where they want to go, and Founder Gym is here to provide you with an inclusive community, rigorous accountability, and a clear roadmap that will get you the results you have been searching for. Founder Gym has custom-designed a virtual experience unlike anything out there, and our model continues to prove effective in accelerating founder success.

We’re Here to Help You and Your Company Succeed

Sign up now to get notified about the next FG Fundraising Cohort.

Clap it up!

Enjoy what you read? Consider giving us a few claps by clicking the clap icon.

Share This Opportunity

Tweet this article or share this on Facebook

Get Plugged In

We share special announcements and advice on fundraising every Tuesday at 9:00 am via the FG newsletter — subscribe here!

Follow us on Social Media

Twitter | Instagram

Keep Reading

Four Secret Benefits of Raising Venture Capital That No One Tells You About

--

--

--

Stories that highlight the next generation of successful tech founders

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Paige Hendrix Buckner

Paige Hendrix Buckner

Interim CEO | Founder Gym | An educator and entrepreneur who loves helping people pursue their passions.

More from Medium

Walking the Walk — Our Investment in Mr Yum

Early Stage Recruiting: What do we look for in a startup?

Our journey from pre-seed to Series A with Otta

Shining Light Into the Venture Black Box + 25 Firms With the Most Seed Investments In Unicorns