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Powering a New Generation of       Black Innovators

New Venture Competition

Powering a New Generation of

    Black Innovators

New Venture Competition

The New Venture Competition (NVC) is a pitch competition for early-stage ventures, designed to showcase a new generation of Black innovators.

The competition provides a platform for exceptional Black entrepreneurs to access expert mentorship, valuable exposure, and a strong peer network.

Selected NVC finalists will pitch their new venture in front of a panel of esteemed judges on Friday, February 19, 2021 and compete for a chance to win up to $175,000 in non-equity financing and other in-kind prizes to springboard their businesses.

The top three new ventures will be chosen to deliver their final pitch presentation at the WMY Conference on Saturday, February 20, 2021, and the following prizes will be awarded at the close of the Conference:

  • First Place | $75,000
  • Second Place | $50,000
  • Third Place | $25,000
  • Crowd Favorite | $25,000
  • In-kind prizes sponsored by Google, including:
    • Quarterly bootcamps over the duration of one year on topics including (1) Product Design, (2) User Experience, (3) Data & Tech Infrastructure, (4) Growth, Sales, & Analytics
    • Dedicated start-up technical office hours from Google technical mentors on data & tech infrastructure considerations
    • In-depth 1:1 business review sessions from Google for Startups Team to offer holistic feedback on product design, user experience, and pitch decks

For any questions or concerns, please contact the NVC team at nvc@wmyconference.com.


February 19-20, 2021



New Venture Competition Semi-Finalist Lookbook

Open Application Period

Sept. 15 - Oct. 30, 2020

Application Screening Process

Oct. - Nov. 2020

Top 20 Semi-finalists Announced

Late Nov. 2020

Workshop Modules for Top 20 Semi-finalists

Late Nov. - Dec. 2020

Delivery of Short Pitches by Top 20 Semi-finalists

Early January 2021

Top 10 Finalists Announced & One-on-one Office Hours with NVC Mentors

Mid Jan. - Mid Feb. 2021

Who is eligible for this competition?




The competition seeks to elevate Black founders who are creating innovative products, solutions, or services that strategically tackle addressable market challenges.

To be eligible to participate in the NVC, founders must meet the following criteria:

  • Black founder, co-founder, or other member of C-suite
  • Pre-seed or Seed
  • Company founded within four years of competition date
  • Open to all geographies, business sizes, and industries



Judging Criteria

Business Model Validation

Has the startup shown any traction or produced revenue? If not, is there evidence to validate that the current business model can produce attractive returns and is also scalable?


What other solutions exist today that also solve for the identified problem? Does the startup have any competitive advantages or moats?

Market Landscape

Founding Team Experience

Does the current team have the required skills for execution?


Is there a demonstrated need or gap in the market that the startup’s solutions solve for? Is the total addressable market substantial enough to make this a lucrative investment opportunity?  

Product-Market Fit

The strength of an application submission will be assessed against the following four category areas:


Our Finalists


Crop2Cash makes formal financing accessible to smallholder farmers in Africa.

Over 38 million smallholder farmers in Nigeria lack access to financing to increase their agricultural production. Crop2Cash’s CashCard enables smallholder farmers in rural Nigeria to receive digital payments and build their financial identity. Crop2Cash is also digitalizing the value chain of food crops by building tools for agro-processors, easing activities like weighing, quality control, and extension services, among others.

Founders: Michael Ogundare, Enem Essien, Seyi Alabi


dollaride profile (2)

Dollaride is a mobility company for communities that are underserved by public transit.

Dollaride provides digital infrastructure to the world of informal transit (i.e. “dollar van” drivers and riders). Dollaride's mobile platform enables millions of informal transit drivers to provide first/last mile service to businesses and commuters in transit deserts.

In NYC, where a network of hundreds of “dollar vans“ serve over 120,000 daily riders, Dollaride provides the digital maps, routes, and payment services that make this hidden transit system accessible to the masses.

Founders: Su Sanni, Chris Coles


Freeman Capital

Freeman Capital is an investment app that provides a hyper-personalized wealth journey and is fanatical about simplifying comprehensive wealth management into a monthly subscription service.

Designed specifically for Black people, Freeman Capital simplifies comprehensive wealth building through the integrated use of humans and technology. Unlike robos and traditional advisors who focus on just investing, Freeman Capital’s wealth management tech provides culturally relevant financial visualizations, education, and contextual analyses – all real-time – plus a “Wealth Score” that measures their progress.

Founder: Calvin Williams, Jr.


A computer vision powered solution for customizing hair products for African American women.

For Black women, hair is a huge part of our identity. As we grow up, we learn about the hundreds of ways to style and care for our hair, but the process is inconsistent, expensive, and time-intensive. That’s why we’ve set-out to change the customization experience for the better. By infusing technology into the customer experience, we help women understand the best protective hairstyles for every phase of life, learning and growing with our customers along the way.

Founders: Isoken Igbinedion, Ifueko Igbinedion


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Koa helps you save and grow your money at the tap of a button.

$8 billion is currently being saved through informal savings groups and co-operatives across Kenya. Consumers across the continent currently use mobile applications to perform their daily tasks - move around, shop, pay bills and now they can save and invest seamlessly. Koa helps individuals take control of their finances using our personalized goal-based savings platform and seamlessly save their money in formal institutions with no hassle.

Founders: Delila Kidanu, Alexis Roman


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OjaExpress is a digital marketplace for ethnic and cultural groceries.

Grocery shopping can be an arduous task. 61% of ethnic American consumers are unable to find ample ethnic food and ingredients at their primary grocery store. For many immigrants and foodies, this task is exceptionally difficult when shopping for authentic ethnic groceries. Many ethnic grocers, mom and pop stores, lack the technological infrastructure to engage current customers and provide a convenient way for people to shop from their stores online.

OjaExpress is a digital marketplace that unlocks the economic opportunity for cultural grocery stores, by providing them with a platform to sell cultural grocery products online and increase access to immigrants, foodies, and those seeking to build cultural bridges.

Founders: Boyede Sobitan, Fola Dada


Sporty is a business marketing advisor that provides athletes with the analytical insights needed to quantify, build, and monetize their brands.

The sports sponsorship market is expected to reach 21 billion by 2023. Yet the majority of traditional and esports athletes can’t quantify the media value of their brand, and brands don’t have a way to analyze which athletes can give them the best ROI during marketing partnerships. Founder Eghosa Aihie, who has been a digital marketer for the past decade, created the first ever analytics platform truly designed for professional athletes and their affiliate organizations with a mission to empower athletes to take ownership of their brand through data.

Founders: Eghosa Aihie, Ohi Dibua, Erica Booze


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Tradeblock is one-part marketplace and one-part social community, a platform built specifically to combine sneakerheads’ economic activities (buying, selling, and trading) with the social validation and connection they get from sharing their passion for sneakers with other like-minded collectors.

The sneaker aftermarket is booming. Over a billion dollars of investment have flowed into the space in the past 18 months, and the two biggest marketplaces in the space boast a combined valuation of nearly $5 billion. That said, there are currently zero platforms that allow you to trade sneakers shoe-for-shoe, and the existing marketplaces put little to no effort into actually building and cultivating a sense of community on their platforms. These two opportunities are at the core of Tradeblock’s strategy to disrupt the market.

Founders: Mbiyimoh Ghogomu, Darren Smith, Tony Malveaux


Tuverl is a public transportation app that seeks to make public transportation cheaper and more accessible to millions of commuters across African countries by helping public transportation operators optimize their routes, reduce operational costs, and increase revenue.

The $60 billion public transportation market in African countries is run by millions of individuals and small- to medium-sized enterprises whose fleet of buses and minibuses operate without any timetables and schedules. This is very inefficient and results in the loss of valuable productivity time for commuters and losses in man hours and fuel for operators worth billions of dollars every year.

Tuverl leverages smart phones, cloud computing, geolocation, fintech, and machine learning to optimize public transportation and fundamentally change how commuters access it and pay for it.

Founders: Hope Tariro Ndhlovu, Bahlakoana Mabetha


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Views is an online, no-code platform that empowers restaurants to manage their internal operations.

Over 90% of customers review online menus for restaurants before visiting or patronizing them. Additionally, over 30% of restaurants update their menu seasonally and monthly. With Views, restaurants can convert over 35% of their online visitors with a beautiful menu, save money by eliminating stale price differences across delivery platforms, and eliminate tedious inefficiencies by employees.

Founders: Chisom Ebinama, Tochukwu Okoro, Seun Akinyosoye


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Selected NVC finalists will have the opportunity to pitch their new venture in front of a panel of esteemed judges and compete for a chance to win up to $175,000 in non-equity financing and other in-kind prizes to springboard their businesses

Industry Practitioners

Our Judges

Mercedes BentPartner, Lightspeed Venture Partners
Brittany DavisGeneral Partner, Backstage Capital
Erik Moore WG '96Founder & Managing Director, Base Ventures
Elliott RobinsonPartner, Bessemer Venture Partners
Jason ScottHead of US Startup Developer Ecosystem, Google
Alice VilmaManaging Director, Multicultural Client Strategy, Morgan Stanley

Selected NVC finalists will have the opportunity to connect for two one-on-one sessions with our NVC mentors to further refine their pitch and seek additional business guidance on their ventures

Industry Practitioners

Our Mentors

Kofoworola AgbajeInvestor, Quona Capital
Frederik GrocePrincipal, Storm Ventures | Co-Founder BLCK VC
B.A. SillahManaging Partner, Kola Global Advisors
Jarrid TingleManaging Partner, Harlem Capital
Brittany HenryInvestment Associate, Impact America Fund

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