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Finalists for 2021 Founders of Color Showcase

The diverse companies hail from seven U.S. states, represent six different industries and address 10 UN Sustainable Development Goals

The diverse companies hail from seven U.S. states, represent six different industries and address 10 UN Sustainable Development Goals

After receiving nearly 50 nominations for its second annual Founders of Color Showcase, global impact investor syndicate Next Wave Impact has selected six finalists who will pitch their companies to an audience of investors, funds and angel groups on May 3, 2021. All founders of color, this year’s innovative startup leaders tackle 10 of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and represent a range of industries including healthcare, education, environment, consumer and cleantech.

“Funding opportunities are glaringly disproportionate for founders of color who want to scale their businesses, and the Founders of Color showcase is one way to help reverse that,” said Alicia Robb, founder of Next Wave Impact. “We look forward to welcoming this year’s talented finalists to the stage to present their innovative products and services, with the potential for growing their network, creating new syndication partnerships and scaling their businesses.”

Sonja Ebron and Debra Slone of Courtroom5 are named 2021 Founders of Color Showcase finalists.

The top six finalists will present their companies at the Founders of Color Showcase program on May 3, 2021 at noon PT/3 p.m. ET.

The 2021 finalists are:

  • Janna Westbrook of Provider Pool in St. Louis, MO
  • Kwaku Owusu and Melanie Igwe of DrugViu in New York, NY
  • Clarence Tan and Edna Martinson of Boddle Learning in Tulsa, OK
  • Diana Yousef of change:WATER Labs, Inc. in Cambridge, MA
  • Troy Clarke and Calvin Mackie of Golden Leaf Energy in San Francisco, CA and New Orleans, LA
  • Sonja Ebron and Debra Slone of Courtroom5 in Durham, NC

To register to attend the free event, please visit www.foundersofcolorshowcase.com.

“What an incredible group of founders,” says finalist Westbrook, who is powering the future of work for nurses. “I am honored to be among these individuals and look forward to building relationships through the Founders of Color Showcase.”

At the inaugural showcase in 2020, the 10 finalists 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.

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. 

“Fundr is proud to be one of the co-hosts of the 2021 Founders of Color Showcase which provides a unique opportunity and commitment to elevating and funding incredible founders that tend to go overlooked in the industry”, says Lauren Washington, co-founder of fundr.  

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

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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