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Next Wave Impact Semi-Finalists for Founders of Color Showcase

The field of innovative startup companies has narrowed from dozens of nominees to 12 remaining semi-finalists hoping to pitch their companies in Next Wave Impact’s second annual Founders of Color Showcase on May 3, 2021. By hosting this virtual event, Next Wave Impact, a global impact investor syndicate with more than 200 women investors, offers startup leaders a platform to exhibit products and services to a broad audience of investors, funds and angel groups.

“Fueled by a commitment to reverse the limited opportunity for talented female, black and Latino CEOs who want to scale their businesses, the Founders of Color Showcase provides the kind of exposure needed for that boost,” said Alicia Robb, founder of Next Wave Impact. “This year’s applicants are disrupting their industries and we’re grateful to have the opportunity to amplify their voices.”

Next Wave Impact will highlight all 12 semi-finalists in the Founders of Color Showcase program on May 3, 2021 at noon PT/3 p.m. ET. The top 5 to 7 finalists, announced on April 20, 2021, will present their companies at the event, with the potential for growing their network and creating new syndication partnerships.

The 2021 semi-finalists are:

  • Janna Westbrook of Provider Pool
  • Kwaku Owusu and Melanie Igwe of DrugViu
  • Debbie Chen of Hydrostasis
  • Clarence Tan and Edna Martinson of Boddle Learning
  • Vanessa Castañeda Gill of Social Cipher
  • Ruben Arias and Luis Gringras of Beereaders
  • Diana Yousef of change:WATER Labs, Inc.
  • Troy Clarke and Calvin Mackie of Golden Leaf Energy
  • SaLisa Berrien of COI Energy
  • R. Jerry Nemorin of LendStreet
  • Sonja Ebron and Debra Slone of Courtroom5
  • Kim Roxie of LAMIK Beauty

At the inaugural showcase in 2020, the 10 finalists – all founders of color – gained exposure to more than 200 investors from the early-stage investing ecosystem. They went on to raise millions of dollars last year. Next Wave Impact partnered with Loon Creek Capital to set up Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs), which brought nearly $1,000,000 in investments to five of the finalists. View the full program from the May 11, 2020 Showcase here and the recording from the event here.

“Next Wave Impact’s Founders of Color Showcase allowed us to be who we are – a social impact solution for our farmers in the USA and across the world,” says Martha Montoya, founder of AgTools, a 2020 Founders of Color portfolio company. “Selected through Microsoft to work with UN and women farmers across the world this summer is only one of the highlights Next Wave Impact brought to us. Gracias!!! You are all a blessing!”

“We had an incredible time pitching and learning from other founders during the Founders of Color Showcase,” shares Marcus Bullock, founder of Flikshop, also a 2020 Founders of Color portfolio company. “It was awesome listening to the thoughtful questions that would eventually land us investment from more than check-writers. We gained partners.”

Currently, only a tiny fraction of angel and venture capital investments go to women and people of color. By tapping into Next Wave Impact’s syndicate of investors, more underserved entrepreneurs gain access to capital for the purpose of scaling their businesses. 

Co-hosts of the second annual Founders of Color Showcase include Kachuwa Impact Fund, Beta Boom, Fundr, Stella Angels, Founders First, Women 2.0 and the Angel Capital Association. 

Company Champions include Chloe Capital, Avestria Ventures, Ad Astra Ventures, Pax Angels, Groundswell Ventures, Atento Capital, Sputnik ATX, New Orleans Startup Fund, Precursor Ventures, SheEO, AT&T Aspire Accelerator and the International Accelerator.

Showcase sponsors include Aspiration, Anchor Point Foundation, Kauffman Foundation, Stella Labs, Signature Windows, Clean Energy Credit Union, Eleanor Friedman Fund, Ascent CFO Solutions and Loon Creek Capital.

The virtual Founders of Color Showcase on May 3, 2021 is free to attend. To register, please visit www.foundersofcolorshowcase.com.

About Next Wave Impact
Based in Colorado, Next Wave Impact is a movement driving impact, diversity and inclusion in early-stage investing and the entrepreneurial ecosystem through its innovative learning-by-doing progressive fund model and other activities that drive capital to typically underserved entrepreneurs. Learn more at www.nextwaveimpact.com.

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