Want to Support Diverse Founders? These 27 Startups Need Your Help!

Our Podcast Pitch Competition kicks off today! Help these founders reach the finals by listening to their stories...

Here at First Founders Inc., we’re serious about amplifying the voices of diverse founders while working hard to get them access to the resources necessary to succeed. We’re also driven by creativity and constant experimentation, so we’re especially excited to officially kick off our new Podcast Pitch Competition! We’ve got a dynamic group of 27 startup founders from across the U.S. competing for $10,000 in cash prizes (Sponsored by Delaware Prosperity Partnership), and they need your help to win...

Each participating startup has been challenged with answering a series of questions in their own episode on our Innovation Included Podcast. Questions included: Who are you and why do you do what you do? What’s your 3-minute startup pitch? What does Inclusive Innovation mean to you? How can our community support you?

Each startup has from now until February 5th at 11:59pm ET to get as many listens on their podcast episode as they can. The top 5 startups with the most listens and top 5 selected by a panel of judges will advance to pitch live at the Finals on February 24th at 7pm ET (Save the Date)!

So, if you’re serious about supporting underrepresented founders and building a more inclusive ecosystem, we need your help! Please listen to each episode, share their stories, and help them win! See below for links to each startup’s episode.

Thank you!
Garry Johnson III
Founder & Executive Director


Shannon Leon
VPack for Women is a subscription-box service that’s transforming the personal stigma and shame often associated with urinary and vaginal health.

Suryanuj Gupta & Shahroze Ali
Backyard Gig is a two-sided marketplace that allows local households and small businesses the ability to outsource their everyday tasks to skilled and local college students in their area.

Danielle Allen
Si · La · Bul: TikTok built for language learning.

Amika Adams I
Latrenae' Collection: Online store eco-friendly handbag for heels that is stylish and can be used as a purse. You will be able the choose the strap you like as in handle, chain, or shoulder strap.

Irma Mesa
Cafecito: A platform where we curate 1:1 coffee breaks for solo at home workers and team members to match, meet, and share knowledge.

Justine Parker
JusRédor Collection (Pronounce: *Jus-Re-Dor*) is an athleisure clothing brand that is structured around our sustainable bamboo fibers and love; providing you with clothing that is better for our skin and better for the environment.

Oluwasanmi Ariyo
Wavlength is a fully-integrated platform that leverages the social equity of designers (UI/UX + Graphic) on social media to generate new leads and convert additional clients.

Ashley Joyner
Cinched Collections is an e-commerce apparel line that is specifically curated and designed with curvy black and brown women in mind, including sizes S-5X!

Jasmine C. Green
MARZ Enterprise is a modeling agency that re-imagines beauty by opening conversations with businesses on tokenism, ageism, sizeism, and systemic racism in advertising and marketing.

Jessica Longo
Novello Restoration is a digital concierge that simplifies wardrobe repair for young professionals.

Evan Leaphart
Kiddie Kredit is the first step in a financially free future, creating a responsible path to an individual's first credit card.

Luis Oquendo
Brothers of Color: A biweekly Mindset, Growth, and Brotherhood Podcast!

Karthy Chandra
Goalden Hour is an all-in-one life management tool that helps people make more time for their goals & good habits.

Jewell Singletary
Gratitude Griot LLC is a well-being based business providing mindfulness services that focus on alleviating chronic stress and pain using yoga meditation and therapeutic arts.

Tenlie Mourning
Dendwell: Hypebeast for vintage furniture and home décor.

Moises Velazquez
Better Puzzles LLC: Most puzzles you see are old and boring. We want to change that. Our team partners with professional artists to create fun puzzles that you actually want to build.

Melanie Akwule
MINWO Inc. uses smart matching technology to connect VC Firms and Incubators to the communities of Black Founders we know exist, helping them move from one-time diversity outreach efforts to sustainable long term engagements.

Abu Kamara & Hope Vega
GetPotluck is an ethnic grocery delivery startup that partners with local ethnic grocers to deliver culture through food.

April Roy
femPAQ Inc.: We take the oops out of unexpected periods.

Joel Amin
Wilminvest: Social impact real estate investment firm.

Taiye O. & Lola O.
The T.L. Hospitality Group: A Community for the Cultural Connoisseur.

Deirdre Horan
Dri is a line of durable, fashionable, and environmentally sustainable umbrellas made from up-cycled ocean bound plastic.

Joshua Kim
The Cubby: The online marketplace for student creators.

Alikiah Barclay
ReRent: Monetizing underutilized housing.

Pamela Garza
Bbeauty: Social media marketplace app for the beauty community that empowers micro creators & small brands.

Christian Essimbe & Erica Lockett
One Way Tour Life is a Luxury Travel Company that provides luxury travel services such as planning and concierge.

Kenneth Burnett
LitterHero allows conscientious citizens to report trash, litter, needles, potholes and graffities in a matter of seconds though our app by simply taking and tagging a picture.


  • Join our Community Sessions happening weekly on Wednesdays from 7pm-9pm ET. This is simply a time to get your startup questions answered, practice your pitch, and connect with the entire community. Each session is free & open to all who want to join in. Register Here!

  • Congratulations to L’Vonne McMillan, Founder & CEO of Advocate for Me, LLC for winning second place in Drexel University’s B. Smart Program, as well as a grant from Citizens Bank!

  • The finals of our Podcast Pitch Competition will be held on February 24th from 7pm-9pm ET. Three teams will win $10,000 in prizes. Be sure to support the participating startups and vote on who makes it to the final round!



Free Resources & Upcoming Opportunities

  • AppGyver says that they are “the world's first professional no-code platform, enabling you to build apps for all form factors, including mobile, desktop, browser, TV and others.” For those that don’t know how to develop an app, this is an incredibly versatile and super-valuable resource. For organizations with less than $10 million in revenue, this app-builder is FREE. [Shared by Abu]

  • The Tulane Business Model Competition is open to startup teams that include at least one degree-seeking undergraduate or graduate student from any college or university. The Tulane Business Model Competition seeks early-stage ventures that can demonstrate how they are adapting to their customers’ needs. More info can be found here. [Shared by Abu]

  • NFLPA Pitch Day gives women- and minority-led early-stage companies a chance to present their products and business plans in front of an elite group of judges, athletes and potential investors. Our goal is to empower women- and minority-led businesses by providing a platform to pitch their innovative products and services. Participating startups are competing for access to funding, mentorship and the NFLPA’s unique assets which may include group licensing rights. Register for the February 3rd event here. [Shared by Jannice]

  • Startup 302 is a Delaware-based funding competition for technology-enabled startups led by underrepresented founders. Winners will receive prize money, access to mentors, and valuable connections. Innovation thrives when diverse perspectives are fostered and included.

    Prize awards include a mix of grant-based, investment and in-kind prizes with a current total value of more than $150K (and counting). Startups will also benefit from engagement with investors, industry and key influencers. Application deadline is FEBRUARY 12, 2021. [Shared by Noah]

Listen to Innovation Included!

  • The Black Ambition Prize provides a platform for eligible entrepreneurs to access growth capital, pitch feedback, and mentorship. Eligible applicants consist of Black and Latinx founders building across these distinct categories: Consumer Products and Services, Design, Healthcare, and Tech.

    Black Ambition’s goal is to fund bold ideas, and to help reduce barriers to capital. Black and Latinx entrepreneurs will be eligible to receive mentorship and win up to $1,000,000 in funding. Applications Due 02.18. [Shared by Earl]


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