Announcing the 2023 Braze Tech for Black Founders Cohort
The Tech for Black Founders program was launched in 2020 in an effort to level the playing field for Black-led businesses. Through this initiative, Braze provides free software access to qualifying Black-led startups in order to help founders accelerate their business growth, increasing their chances at securing venture funding to build successful, sustainable businesses.
In January, we opened our third call for applications. The response was incredible, with over 350 inquiries received (an 88% increase from 2022). Selections were ultimately made based on overall product fit, understanding of how Braze can influence their business goals, and bandwidth for timely implementation of an advanced tech tool. Selected companies span across a variety of industries and business models, including a digital banking app designed to support Black business owners, a food delivery app spotlighting local Black-owned restaurants, a chore tracking app that teaches kids about credit, and more.
Each company will receive a year of free Braze technology with the opportunity to renew at a discounted rate, onboarding and educational resources, and—new this year!—a dedicated Customer Success Manager to help their business get the most out of their experience with Braze. Also new this year, founders will gain access to a private digital community in Bonfire and receive invites to quarterly founder events to network with and learn from fellow founders in the technology space.
Since accepting the newest cohort of companies highlighted below, the Braze Tech for Black Founders program now provides a total of 28 early-stage, Black-led startups with free access to its comprehensive customer engagement platform, including 11 women-founded businesses.
With that, I’m excited to announce the 12 startups selected for our 2023 cohort below. Please join me in congratulating our newest Tech for Black Founders class:
Beatmatch (Los Angeles, CA): Beatmatch is a dating app helping music lovers find relationships by matching people with similar music tastes. Founded by Chudi Iregbulem.
CampusLush (New York, NY): CampusLush is a college event and engagement platform that helps schools drive enrollment of prospective students and retention of current students by increasing the awareness of events, campus organizations, and school resources that are available to them. Founded by Mac Exume.
EatOkra (New York, NY): EatOkra is the go-to app for discovering Black-owned restaurants. Founded by Anthony Edwards Jr. and Janique Edwards.
Glow Up Games (Brooklyn, NY): Glow Up Games is a creative R&D studio building the future of interactive entertainment and centering innovative storytelling about Black and brown joy. Founded by Latoya Peterson and Mitu Khandaker.
Grow Credit Inc (Santa Monica, CA): Grow Credit is a first-of-its-kind financial product that allows the estimated 100 million consumers with no credit or thin credit files to establish or build credit for free using their existing subscription accounts such as Disney Plus, Netflix, Spotify, and more. Founded by Joe Bayen.
Guava (New York, NY): Guava is the digital banking and networking platform designed by and for Black small business owners. Founded by Kelly Ifill.
Hi Neo (Redondo Beach, CA): Hi Neo is a health information solution that enables subscribers to price compare for medical procedures, in one place, similar to how you would shop for flights, hotels or car insurance. Founded by Tanya Tohill-Farber.
Kiddie Kredit (Miami, FL): Kiddie Kredit is a mobile chore tracking app that teaches kids about credit. Founded by Evan Leaphart.
Remynt (San Francisco, CA): Remynt helps people rebuild their credit by repaying debt. Founded by Gwyneth Borden.
Riff App (Palo Alto, CA): Riff is the next generation social platform, combining voice and video chat with music. Founded by BL Lewis, Steve Petersen, and Kara Katz.
SWITCH (Atlanta, Georgia): The SWITCH app allows you to record, listen, and send personalized voice notes to choose who you connect with for a live audio speed date. Founded by Kiana (Kiki) Mincey and Corey Staples.
TutorD (Los Angeles, CA): TutorD is SaaS-based subscription service that provides educators the ability to drive student engagement via SMS, while allowing students to self identify their learning styles. Founded by Brandon Bailey.
Interested in learning more about the Tech for Black Founders program? Visit the program page on Braze.com for more information.
Blair Pettit is the Corporate Social Responsibility Lead based in Austin, TX. Outside of leading our product/cash grant strategies and employee volunteerism, Blair can be found snuggling with her 90 lb fur baby (Millie the Great Dane), trying to win the next OrangeTheory fitness challenge, or working her way through all the seasons of Survivor.