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Founders Unfound

Spotlighting exceptional entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds

Founders Unfound tells the stories of exceptional entrepreneurs and tech founders from underrepresented backgrounds – starting with founders of African descent. We have a regular podcast and complimentary blog created to
Latest Episode11/11/2022

Chantal Emmanuel - LimeLoop

Chantal Emmanuel is Co-Founder and CTO of LimeLoop, a company that is delivering a world without waste with their reusable smart packaging.Chantal grew up in Queens, in a neighborhood without many people of color, but with a strong sense of her Caribbean heritage, surrounded by a large extended family. She brought a calling to serve with her after college, leading to work in AmeriCorps, but it was her analytical and logic-driven intellect that soon brought her to data, and software. With a pivot through coding bootcamp and relocation to the Bay Area, Chantall found herself working for Red Clay Design, a company developing software to bring together industrial designers and retail companies. It was at Red Clay that Chantal would come across both the core idea for Lime Loop, and her co-founder Ashley. This would lead to the start of her founder journey years later.Chantal has a great story. You’ll want to listen in.In this episode Chantal and Dan discussed:Growing up with a supportive, big familyGoing from AmeriCorps to software developmentHow she joined the small club of black women who've raised $1MThe inefficiencies and cautions of how we ship todayWhat wakes her up at 2amOUR SPONSORS FOR THIS EPISODE:Entrepreneur Struggle A compelling podcast with host Chris Colbert from DCP Entertainment.Listen anywhere you get podcasts or go to dcpofficial.com/entrepreneurstruggleMORE on CHANTAL and LIMELOOPChantal:linkedin.com/in/chantalemmanueltwitter.com/ChantalEmmanuelinstagram.com/cto_chantalLimeLoop:thelimeloop.comtwitter.com/thelimelooplinkedin.com/company/limeloopinstagram.com/thelimeloopFollow Founders Unfound: Like and share - help us grow!PODCAST TRANSCRIPT#blackfounders #founderstories #foundersafricandescent #commerce #3PL #shippinglogistics
11/11/2022

Chantal Emmanuel - LimeLoop

Chantal Emmanuel is Co-Founder and CTO of LimeLoop, a company that is delivering a world without waste with their reusable smart packaging.Chantal grew up in Queens, in a neighborhood without many people of color, but with a strong sense of her Caribbean heritage, surrounded by a large extended family. She brought a calling to serve with her after college, leading to work in AmeriCorps, but it was her analytical and logic-driven intellect that soon brought her to data, and software. With a pivot through coding bootcamp and relocation to the Bay Area, Chantall found herself working for Red Clay Design, a company developing software to bring together industrial designers and retail companies. It was at Red Clay that Chantal would come across both the core idea for Lime Loop, and her co-founder Ashley. This would lead to the start of her founder journey years later.Chantal has a great story. You’ll want to listen in.In this episode Chantal and Dan discussed:Growing up with a supportive, big familyGoing from AmeriCorps to software developmentHow she joined the small club of black women who've raised $1MThe inefficiencies and cautions of how we ship todayWhat wakes her up at 2amOUR SPONSORS FOR THIS EPISODE:Entrepreneur Struggle A compelling podcast with host Chris Colbert from DCP Entertainment.Listen anywhere you get podcasts or go to dcpofficial.com/entrepreneurstruggleMORE on CHANTAL and LIMELOOPChantal:linkedin.com/in/chantalemmanueltwitter.com/ChantalEmmanuelinstagram.com/cto_chantalLimeLoop:thelimeloop.comtwitter.com/thelimelooplinkedin.com/company/limeloopinstagram.com/thelimeloopFollow Founders Unfound: Like and share - help us grow!PODCAST TRANSCRIPT#blackfounders #founderstories #foundersafricandescent #commerce #3PL #shippinglogistics
8/27/2022

Oluwasoga Oni - MDaaS Global

Oluwasoga Oni is Co-Founder and CEO of MDaaS Global, a company that is building Africa's largest network of physical and virtual diagnostic and primary care facilities, ultimately to provide quality and affordable healthcare for the continent's next billion.Soga, as he’s known, grew up in a rural town in Nigeria, surrounded by a family of doctors and medical professionals. And while he didn’t have the calling himself, he saw firsthand the gaps and challenges faced by providers. His love of tinkering and problem solving led him to software development and work in the US. But it was his time at MIT where he was challenged by one of his professors: come up with a business that will impact a billion people. And so MDaaS was born. Since inception the company has pivoted from a medical equipment supplier to a full stack of diagnostic and testing centers, where MDaaS focuses on patient experience on site, and prevention and wellness when patients are at home and on the go. The company is backed by the likes of Techstars, Google for Startups, and the Jack Ma foundation.Soga has a great story. You will want to listen in.In this episode Soga and Dan discussed:Seeing medical care's challenges from his dad's doctor officeAdjusting to life and college in the US from NigeriaWhy African healthcare has nowhere to go but upLife as husband-wife co-founder teamReading signals - from investors and customersOUR SPONSORS FOR THIS EPISODE:The PlugDelivering clear analysis and powerful insights on what's shaping the Black innovation economy.Get your annual subscription to The Plug at tpinsights.comMORE on SOGA and MDAASSoga:linkedin.com/in/oluwasogatwitter.com/sogatemitypeshare.co/ogasogaMDaaS:mdaas.iotwitter.com/mdaasgloballinkedin.com/company/mdaasinstagram.com/sentinelx.ioFollow Founders Unfound: Like and share - help us grow!PODCAST TRANSCRIPT#blackfounders #founderstories #foundersafricandescent #healthtech #nigeriastartups
7/15/2022

Rod Johnson - BLK & Bold

Rod Johson is Co-Founder of BLK & Bold, the preeminent black-owned coffee company in America. Black & Bold was founded with the desire to unite coffee and tea lovers worldwide through a common interest of investing in community.Rod grew up in the working-class city of Gary Indiana and eventually went on to Indiana University and a career in development and giving. But he soon developed a restlessness that only business ownership could fix. Along with lifelong friend Pernell, Rod set out to find their entrepreneurial calling, one that could match purpose with profit. And so BLK & Bold was born in 2018. Since then, Rod and Pernell have grown BLK & Bold into a national brand carried by the likes of Target and Whole Foods. They have a rare licensing deal with the NBA and have been celebrated by Dwanye Wade on the Ellen show. All this, completely bootstrapped from their headquarters in Des Moines Iowa.Rod has a great story. You’ll want to listen in.In this episode Rod and Dan discussed:Growing up in Gary and the MidwestHow a basketball hoop brought Rod and his Co-Founder togetherWhy starting a business built on giving back is so importantHow the fire department was a part their early product developmentTradeoffs when doing a start up with a 'day job'OUR SPONSORS FOR THIS EPISODE: AfriBlocksThe global pan-African freelance marketplace and collaboration platform.Tell them "Dan sent you" for 10% off your first order. More at afriblocks.comMORE on ROD and BLK & BOLDRod:linkedin.com/in/johnsonrod2342/BLK & Bold:blkandbold.cominstagram.com/blkandboldlinkedin.com/company/blkandboldtwitter.com/BlkandBoldFollow Founders Unfound: Like and share - help us grow!PODCAST TRANSCRIPT#blackfounders #founderstories #foundersafricandescent #blackowned #coffee
7/1/2022

Happy 3rd Anniversary Founders Unfound!

SPECIAL EPISODE! OUR 3RD ANNIVERSARY 🎉🎆What an amazing three years!Since we started in 2019, we’ve had 50 episodes interviewing 50 founders from 48 companies. As of mid-2022, our guests employ close to 500, and have collectively raised over $213M in outside funding. Incredible when you think about the challenges in fundraising that have faced all entrepreneurs, especially founders of color.They would make a pretty great portfolio!To celebrate our anniversary, we decided to go back to the beginning, 2019, and catch up with the 5 founders we had on the show that first year:Stella Ashaolu of Wesolv, Kwame Boler of Neu (Spritz), Ikechi Nwabusi of TRiBL, Bara Cola of Carbice and Coack AK Ikwuakor from E-LETE StylesI wanted to find out what the world of 2022 looked like compared to 2019, from their eyes.Thanks to Stella, Kwame, Bara, Ikechi and Coach AK for catching us up and reflecting on their journeys.Make sure to listen in.In this episode:We review the last three year and where our past guests are collectivelyUpdates from the 5 guest founders who first came on the show in 2019Insights from our 2019 guests on being a black founder in 2022 vs 2019EPISODE GUESTSStella Ashaolu:linkedin.com/in/stellaashaolutwitter.com/StellaAshaoluwesolv.com/Kwame Boler:linkedin.com/in/kwamebolertwitter.com/useSpritzusespritz.comBara Cola:linkedin.com/in/baratundecola/twitter.com/baratundecolacarbice.comAK Ikwuakor:linkedin.com/in/akikwuakorinstagram.com/ak.ikwuakorsociatap.com/coachakIkechi Nwabuisi:linkedin.com/in/ikechi-nwabuisitwitter.com/buisi_xjointribl.comFollow Founders Unfound: Like and share - help us grow!PODCAST TRANSCRIPT#blackfounders #founderstories #foundersafricandescent
6/3/2022

Francisco Baptista - TeamSportz

Francisco Baptista is Founder and CEO of TeamSportz, a company building an AI sports platform to help team athletes enhance their performance. Francisco was born in Angola, growing during a period of civil war in that country. He used basketball as an escape from this harsh environment, first by watching his mother play, and then finding sanctuary on the courts himself. Francisco moved to Brazil for his teenage years, then to Portugal, and finally now in the UK. All the while pursuing his dual passions for hoops and software development. It’s the meeting of these two loves where TeamSportz, with a zed as they say, was born. The company now boasts notable investors including Mark Gainey, co-founder of Strava and Rand Fishkin of Moz fame.Francisco has a great story. You will want to listen in.In this episode Francisco and Dan discussed:growing up in war and in different countrieshow his upbringing matured him past his contemporaries while in schoolhow Portuguese differs from Angola, to Brazil, to Portugalhow asking for advice, led to an investor, and another, and another...playing university-level basketball as a teen, by "being Francisco Sr"OUR SPONSORS FOR THIS EPISODE:Founders Livethe global venue for entrepreneurs to experience events, content, and community.Check out founderslive.com to join and to find a live event near you.MORE on FRANCISCO and TEAMSPORTZFrancisco:twitter.com/tomboalinkedin.com/in/baptistafranciscoTeamSportz:teamsportz.prolinkedin.com/company/teamsportztwitter.com/teamsportz_instagram.com/teamsportzFollow Founders Unfound: Like and share - help us grow!PODCAST TRANSCRIPT#blackfounders #founderstories #foundersafricandescent #sportstech
5/20/2022

Keara Kindelynn - Foreverly

Keara Kindelynn is Founder and CEO of Foreverly, a company with a mission to make dealing with death--a little less stressful. Foreverly helps organizations support their employees who have experienced the death of a loved one. Kera was born to a family with deep roots to her hometown of Brooklyn. She emerged from college and business school, climbing the corporate ladder. Leading all the way to Seattle and Microsoft. But it was her calling to volunteering and service that led her to the world of hospice, end of life, and the underserved season of bereavement. Kera saw that the death of a loved one is an unguided, stressful, and lonely experience - for those grieving and for those who want to support them. It’s from this transformative understanding that Foreverly was born. We spoke with Kera recently just after finishing the Techstars program.Keara has a great story. You’ll want to listen in.In this episode Keara and Dan discussed:growing up in Brooklynparents who supported continuous curiositybeing mind-blown by her first experience with affluent black Americathe "tragedies in 3's" that spurred on starting Foreverlypivoting from selling service to customers, to a benefit for companiesOUR SPONSORS FOR THIS EPISODE:Trajectory: Startup - Ideation to Product/Market FitA new book by entrepreneur and investor Dave Parker.This hot-off-the-presses publication is THE playbook for those at the earliest stages of the startup journey.Or even if you are just contemplating the jump to entrepreneurship. To get this great resource, go to dkparker.com or find anywhere you buy books.MORE on KEARA and FOREVERLYKeara:linkedin.com/in/kearakindelynninstagram.com/kearakindelynnForeverly:foreverly.colinkedin.com/company/foreverlycotwitter.com/foreverlycoinstagram.com/foreverlycoFollow Founders Unfound: Like and share - help us grow!PODCAST TRANSCRIPT#blackfounders #founderstories #foundersafricandescent #bereavement
5/6/2022

Sabrina Williams - SEED

Sabrina Williams is Founder and CEO of SEED, a company that helps consumers and underserved farmers grow smart and feed more by democratizing access to agriculture technology.Sabrina is a native Californian, born and raised in Compton. Her curiosity and passions led her to pursuits in architecture, law, and urban planning. Through her non-profit, she dedicated herself to social justice challenges in urban communities. It was in this arena that Sabrina discovered the core issue that would lead to SEED: food insecurity amongst the most vulnerable, lower income populations. Now her company is bringing together technology, climate policy, and food equity to create more and better access to growing.Sabrina has a great story. You’ll want to listen in.In this episode Sabrina and Dan discussed:the journey from architecture to law to urban planninghow SEED started as a big idea and morphed into a huge onethe link from food equity and social justicethe connection between Elvis, Karl Marx, and the Bluesbalancing the startup life by playing in a ska bandOUR SPONSORS FOR THIS EPISODE:The PlugDelivering clear analysis and powerful insights on what's shaping the Black innovation economy.Get your annual subscription to The Plug at tpinsights.comMORE on SABRINA and SEEDSabrina:linkedin.com/in/sabrina-l-williamstwitter.com/SabWillinstagram.com/sabwilllSEED:seedbox.systemslinkedin.com/company/seed-sustainable-entrepreneurial-ecosystem-developmenttwitter.com/seedboxsystemsinstagram.com/seedbox.systemsFollow Founders Unfound: Like and share - help us grow!PODCAST TRANSCRIPT#blackfounders #founderstories #foundersafricandescent #agritech