Meet the Graduates of Founder Gym’s Fundraising Cohort 15

Paige Hendrix Buckner
Mar 2 · 21 min read

“Before joining FG Cohort 15, I knew little to nothing about the nuances of raising capital from angel investors and venture capital firms. I didn’t have a pitch deck, investor email template, or a concise pitch. Now, I have all of those things as well as access to an extraordinary community of founders who inspire me to level up my game. I now feel more confident about LevelUp Prep’s plans to begin our pre-seed round this summer.”

  • Kevin Covarrubias, Founder of LevelUp Prep

“In the six weeks of participating in Founder Gym, I feel I have become more enlightened to a world that women who look like me are often left out of. It’s a feeling of an invisible world coming into full view and I now have the tools and skills to actively participate.”

  • Jessica Blanding, Founder of Text and Online Counseling

“Founder Gym transformed my perspective on the fundraising process as a whole and opened my eyes to the requirements on how to position both myself and our company to provide us the best opportunity to raise capital. As a founder, it has provided me with an ecosystem of fellow under-represented founders who all are doing amazing things to change the world.”

  • Jaden Risner, Founder of Family Proud

“I significantly grew in confidence during the Founder Gym Fundraising Cohort. There were a lot of vulnerable and transparent talks shared with other founders about fundraising that made me realize I’m not alone in some of the experiences I’m having during the fundraising process.”

  • Mita Carriman, Founder of Adventurely

We are excited to debut the graduates of Founder Gym Fundraising Cohort 15. For six weeks, from January 11th to February 19th, we trained 31 founders in 4 countries on 3 continents on how to successfully raise money to scale their tech startups. With this latest set of graduates in FG Fundraising Cohort 15, the total number of Founder Gym Alumni is now 516.

Since graduating our first FG Fundraising Cohort in January 2018, Founder Gym’s Graduate community has grown 1884%.

FG Graduates are building world-class companies.

  • Financial wellness platform that empowers people to live happier lives while helping businesses increase profits
  • Care management platform that connects patients and families to a community and resources critical to their care, in a time of need
  • SaaS platform integrating the concert touring industry, organizing and managing events in real-time

But, as underrepresented founders, they face unique challenges.

In a recent study, it was reported that only:

  • Less than 1% of venture-backed founders were Black
  • 1.56% of venture-backed founders were Latinx

Another report revealed that companies founded solely by women received only 13% of venture capital.

This is why we built Founder Gym.

Are you ready to level up? Join us! The deadline to apply for FG Fundraising Cohort 16 is Friday, March 5th. Apply here.

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

MEET THE GRADUATES OF FOUNDER GYM FUNDRAISING COHORT 15

“I have been actively fundraising before joining FG. My business is in growth mode and I’m getting deep into operations that day by day distract me from fundraising. The last 6 weeks in the FG Cohort have allowed me to focus on fundraising again and prioritize what I need the most in moving forward in the next 6 months.”

  • Founder: Afshan Abbas
  • Company: Fuchsia
  • Description: A direct-to-consumer brand making artisan shoes with a soul.
  • Location: Kirkland, WA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Before the FG Cohort, I was stuck and unsure how to move forward with fundraising for my business. Now, I’m confident that I will raise the right funds from the right investor partners for the long-term success of my business.”

  • Founder: Anthony Ware
  • Company: Founder Mental Wealth
  • Description: AWare Catalysts commercializes our research studies into tech-enabled solutions that help underestimated founders create generational mental wealth to improve their lives and businesses.
  • Location: Portland, OR
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Being able to learn from people who are paving the way as well as those who are the gatekeepers has been extremely insightful. Prior to Founder Gym, I would simply read as much as I could with no real support network or platform to ask questions. Now, I have a community of teammates who understand what I’m going through and we are encouraging one another to win the championship!”

  • Founder: April Holmes
  • Company: HeroHangout
  • Description: HeroHangout is bridging the gap between parents and teens with influencers to share valuable life lessons and aid in self-development.
  • Location: Orlando, FL
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I am confident about fundraising for my company. In addition to learning how to fundraise, I met amazing fellow founders to add to my network. Building a startup is lonely and it helps to talk to people who get it.”

  • Founder: Audrey Taylor-Akwenye
  • Company: Class Planit
  • Description: We help teachers create more engaging lessons in less time.
  • Location: Austin, TX
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Before I started the Founder Gym Fundraising Cohort, I was starting to really struggle with the feeling of ‘Shit, this founder journey is pretty lonely.’ Coming out 6 weeks later, I have a new surge of knowledge, excitement, and, most importantly, a founder family that I look forward to staying connected with.”

  • Founder: Ben Camara
  • Company: Remote Coach
  • Description: Remote Coach provides a technology suite for personal trainers to digitize their business and a b2b2c marketplace to where they can find more clients.
  • Location: London, United Kingdom
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“At FounderGym, we engage, we interact, we get uncomfortable, and it’s all to better ourselves because it doesn’t get any easier in this competitive marketplace we all find ourselves in. I’m very grateful for what I’ve learned in the past 6 weeks and will look to keep this energy. In Week 1, we completed an exercise where we communicated to our VIPs about being in the cohort. My VIPs have seen a lot of growth in me. They say that I talk differently now. Thank you, Founder Gym, for guiding misrepresented founders like me. You all are the best!”

  • Founder: Bunnarith Bao
  • Company: Fit Goals AI
  • Description: Fit Goals AI rewards people for investing in their health and wellness.
  • Location: Arlington, VA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Before Founder Gym, I was always second-guessing myself because I had received so much advice from so many people with various track records. After Founder Gym, I know that I am representing myself and my company in the best possible light.”

  • Founder: Claude-Reynald Christian Lecorps
  • Company: Atlas Prime NRG
  • Description: Atlas Prime NRG is the first global independent power provider that produces electricity that actively reverses climate change in all economic and social climates.
  • Location: Brocton, MA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I have more confidence to go out and raise venture funding knowing I have the tools, information, and resources I need to acquire funding.”

  • Founder: Crysta Tyus
  • Company: SkilledPro
  • Description: SkilledPro is an ecosystem that is revolutionizing the tax and accounting industry around the world.
  • Location: Milford, MI
  • Get Connected: Linkedin

“The whirlwind experience gave me deep insight into the process, the realities, and the environment of fundraising in the tech startup world. I feel this experience has allowed my confidence to shine through and given me the necessary tools to be prepared to start raising.”

  • Founder: Crystal Sol Hays
  • Company: Hōm
  • Description: Hōm is the holistic digital platform for the modern mom and her family.
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“I feel more confident about my ability to fundraise for my startup and I now have a great support system thanks to the Founder Gym Community!”

  • Founder: Dani Pascarella
  • Company: OneEleven
  • Description: OneEleven is a financial wellness platform that empowers people to live happier lives while helping businesses increase profits.
  • Location: Piscataway, NJ
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I understand fundraising and now I am more hopeful to create generational wealth for my family’s future.”

  • Founder: Donaldy Salvant
  • Company: Maja Nu
  • Description: Maja Nu is a socially conscious startup using food and technology to connect people.
  • Location: Watertown, MA
  • Get Connected: Linkedin

“As our company has completed a major pivot, I was having trouble articulating the story. After Founder Gym, I am able to tell a compelling story with more confidence.”

  • Founder: Dr. Eric Luster
  • Company: Movement Interactive
  • Description: Movement Interactive delivers a life-saving platform and technology for youth athletes and senior citizens.
  • Location: Phoenix, AZ
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Participating in Founder Gym has encouraged me to take things to the next level. Being surrounded by so many ambitious founders who are turning their dreams into a reality reminds me that I can do the same. I am more confident in my ability to fundraise so that this vision I have can be realized and make an impact for Black and Brown women.”

  • Founder: Elizabeth Gay
  • Company: Ìpàdé
  • Description: Ìpàdé is a community and coworking space that builds power for Black, Indigenous, and womxn of color who are transforming society for the good of our communities.
  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I know that Smiile can be the next billion-dollar company and I can confidently go make it happen!”

  • Founder: Iesha Usher
  • Company: Smiile
  • Description: Smiile is a family wellness platform leveraging AI technology that connects families to engaging experiences that strengthens the connection between parent and child.
  • Location: Mount Olive, NC
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I am better prepared to begin fundraising and have a support network in place to reach out to.”

  • Founder: Jaden Risner
  • Company: Family Proud
  • Description: Family Proud is a care management platform that connects patients and families to a community and resources critical to their care, in a time of need.
  • Location: San Diego, CA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I have a clearer vision of where I want to take my business and how to do it.”

  • Founder: Jessica Blanding
  • Company: Text and Online Counseling
  • Description: Text and Online Counseling is a revolutionary two-way marketplace and intuitive web platform with a goal of reinventing the process of receiving and rendering telehealth counseling services.
  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“The best thing about the Founder Gym Cohort was the amazing community and the very, very, very valuable insights dropped from my FG Gymmates, FG leadership, trainers, and curriculum.”

  • Founder: Jon D Brown
  • Company: Black Men’s Health
  • Description: Black Men’s Health is laser-focused on creating more balance through health for men of color.
  • Location: Tallahassee, FL
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“When I came into Founder Gym Fundraising Cohort 15, I knew that I had all the pieces for a stellar pitch and story. After FG Cohort 15, I feel like I’m better able to put these pieces together to tell the Bioloop Sleep story in an even more compelling way.”

  • Founder: Joshua Collin
  • Company: Bioloop Sleep
  • Description: Bioloop offers 1-on-1 remote sleep coaching leveraging your wearable data.
  • Location: Apex, NC
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“The best thing about the Founder Gym Fundraising Cohort was the FG Expert Training Sessions. They were great because not only did we have an opportunity to make meaningful impressions on folks in the VC world, we also learned from their vast wealth of experience and expertise.”

  • Founder: Kevin Covarrubias
  • Company: LevelUp Prep
  • Description: LevelUp Prep is an EdTech startup that empowers students from all walks of life to take control of their standardized test scores through personalized recommendations curated by our machine learning-fueled, standardized test prep platform.
  • Location: Manteca, CA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“In the last 6 weeks with Founder Gym, I gained a much clearer vision of what it really takes to raise capital, how to position yourself for the right opportunities, and how to leverage your differences as strengths.”

  • Founder: Madala Mathurin
  • Company: Kozen
  • Description: Kozen helps wellness professionals connect with people and businesses to improve their mental health.
  • Location: Farmington Hills, MI
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

Before Founder Gym Fundraising Cohort 15, I was all over the place, trying to Google information and wasting precious time. Now that I have completed FG Cohort, I feel a sense of relief because I have access to resources and a strong network of founders willing to step in and provide assistance if needed. I am much more efficient and knowledgeable than when I started.”

  • Founder: Martha Gamboa
  • Company: GoDoSocial
  • Description: GoDoSocial is a friendship platform for adults over 45 to connect and meet face-to-face for real social interaction. Our mission is to improve the well-being of our members through more frequent and meaningful social connections.
  • Location: Monrovia, CA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I found a new wave of confidence and even more excitement going into our fundraise for Adventurely.”

  • Founder: Mita Carriman
  • Company: Adventurely
  • Description: Adventurely is a meetup app for digital nomads
  • Location: New York, NY
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Before entering the Founder Gym Fundraising Cohort, I had a vision and a plan. Now that I’ve completed the cohort, I have more knowledge and confidence to pursue my mission.”

  • Founder: Oscar Bellfield
  • Company: Popcorn Live
  • Description: Popcorn Live is a platform that bridges the gap between social media and book clubs to help this generation stay connected through healthy interactions and communications.
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Prior to Founder Gym, I was lost in the startup ecosystem. I was confused about what to do next and I could have made some really grave mistakes. Now, I understand what it takes to fundraise and I am more informed on what my next steps should be. I feel confident to go forth and conquer!”

  • Founder: Phoebe Ash
  • Company: Curly Sister
  • Description: Curly Sister is an educational platform and directory for stylists and individuals to learn and/or grow clientele with textured hair.
  • Location: Berlin, Germany
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Before the Founder Gym Fundraising Cohort, I was a lonely founder on the brink of founder burnout. Now, I am motivated again with a network of people in my situation to discuss and bounce feedback off of.”

  • Founder: Samenta Agee
  • Company: Sparxs Studio
  • Description: INDIE Sparxs is the place for filmmakers to brand, monetize and showcase their work on a platform where experiential streaming and community discussions happen in one place.
  • Location: Austin, TX
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I found my voice and learned to speak from a place of authority for my business.”

  • Founder: Shannon Atkinson
  • Company: CHNL
  • Description: CHNL is a social networking platform focused on providing a pseudonymous ecosystem for connecting with the world around us.
  • Location: Gladstone, OR
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“The best thing about Founder Gym Fundraising Cohort 15 was the relationships gained. To be able to learn and share knowledge and experience with founders who look like you is life-changing.”

  • Founder: Summiyah Siddeeq
  • Company: Smile Jamaica
  • Description: Smile Jamaica is a sustainable resort concept using technology to connect guests to an authentic Jamaican experience.
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
  • Get Connected: Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I am connected to a community where I am accepted and expected to perform at my peak potential.”

  • Founder: Timothy Burkhead
  • Company: All Access
  • Description: All Access is integrating the concert touring industry, organizing, and managing events in real-time from a SaaS platform.
  • Location: Nashville, TN
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I was finally able to hone in on a concise and punchy company description and key stats that were meaningful. Discussing this issue with Paige and the cohort helped as well as applying key points from our live sessions and lectures.”

  • Founder: Dr. Tope Mitchell
  • Company: Reflekt Me
  • Description: Reflekt Me increases sales conversion for online retailers through a hyper-personalization size and fit system, that drives successful product recommendations and creates an inclusive shopping experience.
  • Location: Fayetteville, NC
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

“The highlight of the program for me was the Accountability Group. It was a safe and supportive space where we could bounce ideas off each other and receive constructive feedback. It was great to be surrounded by humble, knowledgeable people who were all working toward the same goal, all willing to help and support each other to succeed.”

  • Founder: Ulunma Izejiobi
  • Company: GuardianWealth
  • Description: GuardianWealth is an all-in-one personal finance app that empowers underserved communities with tools and resources to build wealth.
  • Location: Lagos, Nigeria
  • Get Connected: Linkedin

“Because of Founder Gym, I have an enhanced library of knowledge that fuels confidence (knowledge is power), an expanded network, and a stellar baseline fundraising toolkit.”

  • Founder: Vickie Harris
  • Company: Community ConneXor
  • Description: Community ConneXor is a technology-enabled social enterprise improving the health and well-being of vulnerable individuals by developing a world of connected community networks of social care organizations to decrease the navigation burden of those seeking services.
  • Location: Nashville, TN
  • Get Connected: Twitter and Linkedin

Get the skills, knowledge, and network needed to raise capital for your startup. Join us! The deadline to apply for FG Fundraising Cohort 16 is Friday, March 5th. Apply here.

Congratulations to the FG Fundraising Cohort 15 “Best in Cohort”

To be considered FG Fundraising Cohort Graduates, founders deliver their 2-minute pitch at Graduation Day. The FG Fundraising Cohort members voted for the top three founders based on the effectiveness of their pitch and the strength of their deck. Congratulations to our FG Fundraising Cohort 15 Best in Cohort winners Claude-Reynald Christian Lecorps, Dani Pascarella, and Dr. Tope Mitchell.

Meet the FG Fundraising Cohort 15 Expert Trainers

Brian Patterson is Partner at Gunderson Dettmer. He is one of the few attorneys who combine a dynamic emerging company practice with representation of venture capital and investment funds. Brian’s business law practice is focused on representing emerging growth companies (startups) throughout their life cycles and representing venture capital and private equity investment funds. He is broadly experienced across many sectors and industries in business and corporate formation and governance, deal structuring, equity and debt financing, public offerings, a variety of M&A transactions, strategic, partnering and commercial transactions, and fundamental IP, employment, and stock and option matters.

Get connected: Linkedin

Jarrid Tingle is Co-founder and Managing Partner of Harlem Capital, a $40mm venture capital fund on a mission to change the face of entrepreneurship by investing in 1,000 women and minority founders over the next 20 years. Jarrid was featured on the 2019 Forbes 30 under 30 list, 2019 Inc. 30 under 30 list, 2019 The Root 100 list, and the 2018 Ebony Power 100 list. Outside of Harlem Capital, Jarrid is a Board Member on the Penn Fund Executive Board. He received his MBA from Harvard Business School (HBS) in 2019 where he was a Baker Scholar (top 5% of class). Previously, Jarrid was a Private Equity Investment Professional at ICV Partners. Prior to ICV, Jarrid was an Investment Banker in the Global Technology, Media & Telecommunications Group at Barclays.

Get connected: Twitter and LinkedIn

Jess was the first woman partner at Sequoia Capital and she focuses on seed and early-stage companies. She serves on the boards of Ironclad, Wonolo, and The Wing. Prior to that, she was Co-founder and CEO of fashion app Polyvore (acquired by Yahoo in 2015) and a Product Manager for Google Maps. Jess is also a Founding Member of All Raise, a non-profit dedicated to improving diversity in the tech industry. She has been featured by Forbes, TechCrunch, Bloomberg, Business Insider, Fortune, and more. Jess earned a B.S. from Stanford in Computer Science.

Get connected: Twitter and LinkedIn

Dr. Iman Abuzeid is the Co-founder and CEO of Incredible Health, a career marketplace whose custom matching technology offers hospitals the fastest, most effective way to hire qualified permanent nurses in less than 20 days (the national average is 90 days). She is an MD who holds an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Abuzeid raised $17 million and is backed by top-tier venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and has been featured by NPR, Inc.com, CNBC, TechCrunch, Cheddar, Bloomberg, and more.

Get connected: Twitter and LinkedIn

Chauncey joined XYZ as a partner in April 2020. Prior to XYZ, she was on the investment team at First Round Capital where she first worked directly with Rob Hayes on the investment team and later Dorm Room Fund, First Round’s student-run venture fund. Chauncey stumbled into venture after stints in the media world at WIRED and Thrillist. Chauncey lives in San Francisco with her two kids and wonderful husband

Get connected: Twitter and LinkedIn

No one has trained more underrepresented founders than Mandela. After becoming one of the first Black women to raise venture capital in 2012, and later becoming one of the first Black women to work at a venture capital firm, Mandela saw the disparities in funding up close. This is why she built Founder Gym — to help more women, people of color, and other underrepresented groups in tech — gain access to knowledge, network, and know-how to raise capital to scale their startups. Mandela is an inaugural member of First Round Capital’s Angel Track program and an industry expert, who has shared her frameworks for success on over 150 stages (e.g. TEDx, SXSW, Startup Grind) and more than 100 publications (e.g. Forbes, Wired Magazine, Business Insider). Mandela has received various recognitions, including being named as Entrepreneur magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Women, Forbes 30 Under 30, and LinkedIn’s Top 10 Voices in Venture Capital and Startups.

Get Connected: Twitter and LinkedIn

Special thanks to the FG Alumni Orientation Guest Speakers

Dana L. Wilson, Founder of CHIP, is an experienced financial professional with over fifteen years in the financial services industry. She graduated from North Carolina Central University, where she received her Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) with a marketing concentration.

Before starting CHIP, Dana has had experience at firms, such as Merrill Lynch, State Farm, SunTrust Bank, SunTrust Investment Services, a boutique firm on Wall St, and most recently ran her independent advisory practice, Active Financial Planning, before joining Manhattan Wealth as an Independent Financial Advisor.

Get Connected: Twitter and LinkedIn

Julius Bryant is the Founder and CEO of Jax Rideshare Rentals. Educated in the fields of marketing and analytics by the award-winning faculty at Central Michigan University and Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, Julius has developed defined skill sets focused on marketing, digital media and data, and aesthetics.

Julius decided to depart corporate America to make his side-hustle into his main-hustle and embark on his entrepreneurial journey full-time. He is currently building his company, Jax, which rents vehicles to Uber and Lyft drivers in metro Atlanta.

Get Connected: Twitter and LinkedIn

MEET THE FG FUNDRAISING COHORT LEADERSHIP TEAM

“Founder Gym Fundraising Cohort 15 has been an exceptional group to support. They are innovative and ambitious, with visions for transforming a variety of industries from fintech to health and human services. Every week, they showed up to office hours, gracefully received feedback, and put in the work to update their FG Fundraising Toolkits so they can put their best foot forward. I’m so proud to have worked with them and can’t wait to see what they accomplish.”

Paige Hendrix Buckner, COO

Location: Portland, OR

Get Connected: Twitter and LinkedIn

“I am very proud of how driven this Founder Gym Fundraising Cohort was to take their journey to the next level. There is no doubt in my mind that will see many success stories from this group in the near future.”

Cord Brown, Fundraising Cohort Operations

Location: Birmingham, AL

Get Connected: Twitter and LinkedIn

JOIN THE MOVEMENT

The FG Fundraising Cohort is a 6-week program designed for underrepresented founders who want to raise capital to scale their startup. The entire cohort experience is 100% virtual, so founders can participate from anywhere in the world.

FG Fundraising Cohort 16 operates from March 15, 2021 — April 23, 2021. The FG Fundraising Cohort is a 6-week virtual program designed for underrepresented founders who want to raise money to scale their startup. The entire cohort experience is 100% virtual, so founders can participate from anywhere in the world. Cohort Trainers are announced as they are confirmed.

Apply here by the deadline THIS FRIDAY, March 5th, 2021, at 11:59 pm PST.

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

You’ve heard from our founders. You’ve seen the results. Join one of the world’s fastest-growing communities of world-class underrepresented founders.

Set aside time to complete the FG Fundraising Cohort application today. Applications will be reviewed as they are submitted. The sooner you apply, the sooner you will be notified and be able to secure one of the limited spots in the cohort. Once the cohort reaches capacity, it will be closed, so take action quickly. The last day to apply is Friday, March 5th at 11:59 pm PST. Late applications will not be accepted.

CLICK HERE to apply to FG Fundraising Cohort 16.

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