It’s undeniable — startups are changing the world. Some of today’s most brilliant, recognizable brands began their journeys as small companies, with founders who worked endlessly to nurture and grow them into important parts of our everyday lives.
Unfortunately, many new companies are not started by people of color. And more inauspicious, even fewer are led by Black women. In a time when talk of diversity is being discussed every other minute, the lack of visible Black women founders is a problem. Maybe knowledge or exposure is to blame, but whatever the case, this needs to change.
Though somewhat of a unicorn, Black female founders do exist. Take Blavity's very own Morgan DeBaun, for example!
With a diverse array of businesses, the following 11 incredible Black women are breaking barriers by being super creative and inspiring other Black women to jump into the game with them.
1. Jessica Matthews – Founder of Uncharted Play
While still a student at Harvard, Jessica Matthews came up with her first invention, the SOCCKET, at 19 years old. It’s an “energy generating soccer ball that provides off-grid power for the developing world.” After kicking it around like any regular soccer ball, you can plug devices into the SOCCKET, and power will come out of it.
2 and 3. Ashlee Ammons and Kerry Schrader – Co-founders of Mixtroz
This mother and daughter super-duo, Ashlee Ammons and Kerry Schrader, worked together to create Mixtroz, an app that helps meeting people at networking events easier. In an interview with Startup Savant, they stated that the idea came to them “over the course of a Sunday evening conversation.”
The two women are the perfect pair for the project. Ammons was LeBron James’ first intern, as well as an events producer for big names such as Jay-Z, Coca-Cola, Leonardo DiCaprio and the queen herself, Oprah Winfrey. Her mom, Schrader, has an equally impressive resume, working more than 25 years for major companies that include Ford and Sears Holding Corporation.
4. Angel Rich – Founder of The Wealth Factory Inc. and Credit Stacker
Angel Rich is being positively touted as “the next Steve Jobs,” and after diving into her resume, where’s the lie? She’s the founder of Credit Stacker, an app that teaches a plethora of financial related skills including budgeting, saving, investing & credit management. Rich also founded The Wealth Factory Inc., a company that designs games to improve workplace skills and financial literacy.
Aside from being an amazing founder, she also is an author, penning the book, History of the Black Dollar. Rich is working overtime to make others rich by way of financial education through technology and literature.
5. Kristina Jones – Co-founder of Court Buddy
Kristina Jones, alongside her husband, James Jones, founded Court Buddy, a legal tech company that provides “people and businesses with access to an attorney when needed, regardless of their financial status.”
According to Forbes, she is also only the 14th African-American female founder to raise $1 million in funding. A feat that, hopefully, will continue to happen for other black women many times over.
6. Jasmine Crowe – Founder of GoodrCo.
Atlanta, Georgia based entrepreneur, Jasmine Crowe, is the founder of GoodrCo., “a sustainable food waste management company” that utilizes technology to fight hunger.
By donating businesses’ food waste, GoodrCo., which also has an app, will help them earn tax deductions. It’s a win-win of an idea. Companies can save money and people who may not have proper resources will be able to eat.
Crowe is all over the place spreading the word by serving freshly grown veggies, fruits, meats and prepared foods, with help from major companies like, Chick-fil-A and United Way.
7 and 8. Amanda Johnson and KJ Miller – Co-founders of Mented Cosmetics
Fenty Beauty isn’t the only makeup company shaking the table. Meet Amanda Johnson and KJ Miller. These ladies are making major moves with their company, Mented Cosmetics. The Harvard grads’ product line includes nude lipsticks and nail polishes created in the perfect shades for women of color.
They also follow behind Court Buddy’s Kristina Jones as the 15th and 16th black women to raise $1 million in capital.
9. Juliana Rotich – Co-founder of BRCK
Similar to Uncharted Play’s Jessica Matthews, Juliana Rotich is bringing energy to developing worlds. Through her company, BRCK, Rotich focuses on providing free, reliable internet access to places where service is spotty, or non-existent.
BRCK isn’t Rotich’s first time at the rodeo. She also co-founded iHub and Ushahidi.
10. Arlan Hamilton – Founder of Backstage Capital
Backstage Capital is a VC fund that invests in companies with founders that are women, people of color and LGBT. Arlan Hamilton saw a need for this in 2012 while remotely helping companies connect with investors.
“Over time, I started noticing a pattern. If I sent certain pitch decks that showcased companies with an all white, male team, they would get to the next step, no matter what they were building. If the company had someone of color or a woman, there would be a push-back about not understanding the market, no matter what the market was,” Hamilton said in an interview with Black Enterprise.
Hamilton may not be directly building a product or service, but she is supporting marginalized creators by providing the necessary financial resources to get started.
11. Felecia Hatcher – Co-Founder of Code Fever Miami
Felecia Hatcher is grooming the next generation of tech startup founders by teaching them how to code. Code Fever Miami is a startup and coding school dedicated to ridding Black communities of innovation deserts.
Code Fever not only benefits the present, but the future in a continuous way. The minorities who are developed through the school that move on to build their own companies, are twice as likely to hire other minorities — helping fix current problems of diversity.
These fantastic, Black female bosses are great, but it’s just a start! Hopefully these women’s ventures move you to start your own, helping to literally color the landscape of startups, and future mega companies. #BlackGirlMagic is real, and when it comes to business, we definitely need more of it.