The 2020 Grid110 South LA Cohort

Austin Clements
Published in
4 min readJul 2, 2020


What happens when you put out a call for innovative entrepreneurs in South Los Angeles?

Grid110 usually accepts between 15 and 20 Los Angeles based companies for each cohort. But since South LA represents only 8% of LA’s population, we questioned whether we would be able to fill a cohort our first time out. The challenge was compounded because we only had a few weeks to promote the program, instead of our typical application window of a few months.

Close to a hundred applications later we heard the answer loud and clear. There is an abundance of innovative entrepreneurs in South LA actively seeking quality support and community. Even in this time of uncertainty, they are eager to rebuild our local economy with new models that fit the times. In the end, Grid110 South LA selected 19 phenomenal companies for the inaugural cohort.

Over 90% of the selected companies are led by Black and Latinx founders, and the majority of founders are women. The companies are wide ranging — from CPG products to B2B SaaS, from early childhood support all the way to death care services, from for-profit Co-Ops to non-profit boutiques. Some are first time entrepreneurs right out of college, others have long track records of shaping business and culture.

What they all have in common is a passion for their community and ambitious goals for their businesses. Check them out!

Post 21: founded by Blair Paysinger and Juana Williams, Post 21 is a marketplace that creates a modern shopping experience celebrating Black-owned businesses.

Ride On! Bike Shop/Co-op: founded by Adé E. Neff, Ride On! offers bike repairs, sales, and rentals. The Leimert Park based shop also facilitates bicycle safety/repair workshops and advocates for bicycle infrastructure equity in South-West Los Angeles.

La Create Space: founded by Terell Johnson and Marisa Johnson, La Create Space is a membership based, co-working community. Members have access to work spaces, hot desks, conference rooms, production studios, as well as all of the resources needed to create projects, and host events.

Coffee Del Mundo: founded by Jonathan Kinnard, Coffee Del Mundo is about tasting the world one cup at a time.

Humble Ceramics: founded by Delphine Lippens, Humble Ceramics creates artisanal pottery made with mindfulness in South Los Angeles since 2014.

Budget Better: founded by Carmen Perez, Budget Better is a personal finance app automating all the boring parts of money management so you can focus on making the decisions that really matter.

Sole Folks: founded by Akil West, Nika King, and Taz Arnold, Sole Folks is a sneaker boutique with a purpose. Sole Folks is a community based retail incubator program for young designers and artisans from underserved communities.

Gorealla Burger: founded by James Black and. Shauna Black, Gorealla Burger is a plant based burger brand whose mission is to empower South LA for productive & healthy life.

Ivery Arie: founded by Ijeoma Ejimadu, Ivery Arie is a digital media company dedicated to sharing the story of the African woman.

ComplYant Inc: founded by Shiloh Johnson, ComplYant uses technology to teach business owners how to comply with all tax requirements.

The Melanin Touch: founded by Melanie Kimes, The Melanin Touch is safe space for individuals and families to receive massage therapy and intentional bodywork while offering childcare to keep the little ones occupied with healthy activities.

South LA Brewing Company: founded by Craig Bowers, South Los Angeles Brewing Company is a social impact craft beverage incubator, production and packaging facility (beer, cider, coffee, etc.) based in South Central LA.

On the Go LA: founded by Gabriel Gamez, Alberto Rivera, and Enrique Loyola, On The Go LA is a platform that provides local restaurants an easy and flexible way to rent food trucks, then handles full-scale logistics such as route planning for cruising neighborhoods and marketing.

Snojo: founded by Nadiyah Ward, Snojo brings skiers and snowboarders lessons, when they want, where they want and provides resorts with the system to manage it all.

Love, Jen: founded by Dr. Julie Shaw and Erica Ferguson, Love, Jen is on a mission to revamp the death care industry by creating a user friendly platform for when death occurs.

Kiddie City: led by Nkechi Howell, Kiddie City is an indoor playground for kids 0–7 and their caregivers to play, party, create and connect.

NextDorm: founded by Biniyam Asnake, NextDorm is a textbook rental management platform for college campuses.

The Honey Block: founded by Branché Foston, The Honey Block is a digital & in-person health & wellness platform for millennials of color providing classes, content & community.

New Barber Supply: founded by Alberto Bugarin, An interior design company focused on empowering barbers and their community.

The national conversation has shifted since we first announced the Grid110 South LA program. Within the tech and innovation economy, much attention has turned to supporting founders from underrepresented groups, leaving many people looking for ways to connect and help… Here’s your opportunity.

We have several ways to get involved. First, Grid110 is a non profit, so we accept and appreciate every single dollar donated as it enables our programming. Another way to get involved is to support the companies directly by becoming a customer, or a partner, or by investing. If you have something else in mind for how you or our organization can support, please reach out to me (austin at grid110 dot org) or directly to any company.