BlogEdition 10 - November 2020

10th Startup Runway Doubles Down On Underrepresented Founders Mission

By November 19, 2020 No Comments

The 10th Startup Runway Showcase focused a dozen first-check-writing investors on 9 strong founders–over 75% of whom call the Southeast region home.  Catch the energy by:

  1. Watching the keynote with Calendly founder and CEO Tope Awotona
  2. Reviewing how you can be part of the action as a partner of Startup Runway

The 10th Showcase shared a story of a year of change, with founders focused on mental health, smarter debt collection, smarter payments, smarter eating, smarter work.

The founders of the 10th Showcase articulated a clear vision for innovation, yet investors in the broader world lag behind. Black founders come from, on average, 1/10th the wealth of white founders. They represent at least 15% of all founders. Yet despite the Black Lives Matter movement and social protests across the country, the share of venture capital investment earned by Black founders hovers at 2%.

Even more stark, female founders’ fundraising during the tail end of 2020 plummetted to lows not seen since 2011. It is truly winter for women.

In this atmosphere, the mission of Startup Runway to introduce quality underrepresented founders to first investors found fresh energy.

The 10th Showcase saw more applications, more investors, and more mentors than any previous Showcase. We can tell you that while the larger VC world may not have an appetite for more inclusive innovation, the return-focused tech investors who frequent Startup Runway are most definitely looking for outsize returns from overlooked overachievers.

Support 10th Showcase Finalists

If you’re a VC, you know what to do–invest. Startup Runway Finalists attract significant VC interest, with 1 in 3 founders closing a seed round within a year of the program.

If you’re not a VC, the #1 thing you can do for a Finalist is introducing them to a customer that would like to use their services.

Here are the bold founders who distinguished themselves from hundreds of applications to rise to the top on business merit, vision, and execution at the earliest stages and were selected as 10th Showcase Finalists:

Startup Runway 10th Showcase Finalists

Company Name Company Website City State About us Presenter Name
UnDelay https://www.undelayapp.com Atlanta GA
Our company UnDelay has developed proprietary technology that converts hundreds of radio conversations into text simultaneously. With this data, airlines, airports and travel companies can find out if a flight will be delayed before that delay is reported.
Safir Monroe
Film Connx http://www.filmconnx.com Atlanta GA
Film Connx is the job marketplace for production professionals that connects studios to vetted local crew. We provide opportunities for production professionals of all backgrounds and are proud to help level the playing field for women and professionals of color, who are underrepresented in the industry.
Carolyn Pitt
Creative Critique https://www.creativecritique.community/ Atlanta GA
Creative Critique facilitates quality critiques on creative work for design schools and the global creative community.
Eban Bisong
Vegan Tiger https://www.vegantiger.co/ Atlanta GA
Vegan Tiger makes Tiger nuts food based products . Our products deliver optimal digestive health support with the prebiotic benefits of Tiger nuts whether on a AIP or Paleo compliant diet.
Evodie Epane
Qatch https://joinqatch.com/ Boston MA
Qatch is a digitally native, community-based shopping platform that uses data from text behavior and social media to drive sales. Allowing users to interact with recommendations via text helps us capture unique consumers insights, which we can user to enhance, improve, and socialize online shopping.
Nicole Phillips
Buble http://www.buble.me Washington District of Columbia
Buble is a real-time review platform that bridges the gap between customers and local businesses. It is the “Waze” for local venues.
Chuck Ezekwem
TooDeep https://wearetoodeep.com/ San Jose CA
TooDeep is a peer-to-peer support journal to help guide and express your emotions.
Bens Hilaire
Debtle https://www.debtle.com New Orleans LA
Debtle’s cloud-based SaaS solution automates, improves, and simplifies the negotiation and settlement of bad debt accounts and overdue invoices. Our product empowers consumers to easily purchase their bad debt directly from the entity that they owe, while optimizing margins on accounts receivable.
Stephanie Hoskins
KAOSHI https://kaoshinetwork.com/ Chicago IL
Kaoshi is the one stop shop for all immigrants financial needs/obligations in their home country. Kaoshi connects immigrants directly to financial institutions that provide services that address the pertinent obligations of immigrants in their home countries – remittance, health insurance, mortgage, auto-loans, investments, etc.
Chukwunonso Arinze

10th Showcase Grant Winners

We were extremely proud of the VCs and the audience, who voted on live pitches for two separate $10,000 grant prizes at the 10th Showcase.

  1. The Audience Choice Grant presented by AmFamInstitute was awarded to Too Deep, founded by Bens Hilaire, a former Google product manager. The audience connected with his pitch around voicing pain in an anonymous and safe way. One of the investors, a large corporate VC, mentioned that voice contains so much data the data itself around topical tags was valuable. Congratulations to TooDeep!

2. VCs chose FilmConnx by founder Carolyn Pitt as the “Most Investable” for the 10th Showcase Judge’s Prize, presented by Cox Enterprises. FilmConnx, based in Atlanta, is earning its growth by connecting film production companies to local talent in legally informed ways that lowers overall costs and boosts production quality.

Partner with Startup Runway

Startup Runway has doubled its impact every year since it was founded in 2016. That is directly thanks to presenting sponsor Cox Enterprises and community grant partner AmFam Institute, with the support of sponsors including Slalom, Write2market, Goldman Sachs, TIE Atlanta, and The Gathering Spot. In 2021, we’re going long on getting funding for founders–who happen to be of color or women. Join us in the inclusive innovation journey. Learn more about our impact and how to partner.