During its heyday, the neighborhood popularly known as “Black Wall Street” was considered one of the most prosperous and wealthy black communities in the country.
Located in the mostly Black Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, OK in the early 20th century, it bustled with hotels, upscale stores, restaurants, banks, and many other businesses. But it ended with the Tulsa Race Massacre, which destroyed the area and led to the murder of hundreds of black Americans.
Now, Black and Latino businesses intend to be part of a larger movement to revive Black Wall Street with tech startups in Tulsa. Seventeen founders of these companies are part of the first cohort of ACT House. This is a new accelerator in town designed to harvest minority-led startups with coaching, programming, and other services. Each business will receive a capital investment of $70,000 to help grow their business.
After participating in the six months ACT Tulsa program, the cohort will participate in a live demo day and virtual event on February 9 to showcase their technologies. ACT Tulsa is part of the Build In Tulsa network.
In an email, Dominique Ard’isCEO of ACT House, said: “Watching these nine companies grow over the past 6 months has been nothing short of amazing! As business leaders, these companies are showing the world that Latinx and Black founders can return capital!”
One of the founders is Chandler MaloneCEO of BootUp, a platform that helps tech companies close talent and diversity gaps through access to its database of more than 20,000 boot camp and vocational school graduates.
“From July to December 2021, we placed 254 candidates in their first technology jobs for a total of more than $17.6 million in salaries while oversubscribing our seed round to all black-led funds and investors. angels,” Moore said via email.
Meet the other new startups and their founders in Tulsa based on insights from ACT House.
- Boddle Learning, an educational platform that uses 3D games and adaptive learning technology to deliver personalized math experiences for K-6 students. Founded by Edna Martinson and Clarence Tan.
- Without rebound, offers sports bras for women with large breasts to get the support they need during physical activity. Its co-founders are Chantelle Lott and Debra Edwards.
- fansub is a SaaS platform developed to empower creators with fan data, monetization and engagement. It was co-founded by former NFL player Brandon King, with Mike Lombardi, Cameron Williams and Chris Davis.
- Bite Way Nutrition, a meal prep company that offers healthy, affordable meals, complete with nutritional advice. It was founded by Jayvin Washington.
- Bodify, a web-based platform that uses computer vision and artificial intelligence to help online shoppers find the best brands for their bodies. It was founded by Carlanda McKinney.
- Like Man, a tech brand directly aimed at American men who are bald or struggling with hair loss. It was co-founded by Kene Onuorah and Mejoy Lawson.
- Fresh fabrics, a mobile laundry service that takes the stress and hassle out of laundry and provides pickup and drop-off services through a digital scheduling system. It was founded by Ambrose Midget.
- Cadenza, a marketplace that bridges the gap between artists and venues so they can easily book live events and communicate with each other. It was founded by Andrés Gonzales, Marc LaManque and Troy Smith.