In its prime, the district popularly known as “Black Wall Street” was regarded as one of the most prosperous and affluent Black communities in the nation.
Located in the mainly Black Greenwood district in Tulsa, OK, in the early 20th century, it was sizzling with hotels, luxury stores, restaurants, banks, and many other businesses. But that ended with the Tulsa Race Massacre, which destroyed the area and led to the killing of hundreds of Black Americans..
Now, Black and Latino companies have plans to become part of a larger movement to revive Black Wall Street with tech startups in Tulsa. Seventeen founders of those firms are part of the first cohort of ACT House. It is a new accelerator in the city geared to harvest minority-led startups with coaching, programming, and other services. Each company will get a $70,000 capital investment to help build its business.
After partaking in the six-month ACT Tulsa program, the cohort will engage in a live Demo Day and virtual event on Feb. 9 to showcase their technologies. ACT Tulsa is part of the Build In Tulsa network.
In an email, Dominick Ard’is, ACT House CEO, stated, “Watching the evolution of these nine companies grow in the past 6 months has been nothing short of amazing! From raising north of $4 million, founders growing their emotional quotient (EQ) and teams as business leaders, these companies are showing the world that Latinx and Black founders can return capital!”
One of the founders is Chandler Malone, CEO of BootUp, a platform that helps tech companies fill their talent and diversity gaps through access to its database of over 20,000 boot camp and vocational school graduates.
“From July to December 2021, we placed 254 candidates into their first tech jobs for a total of over $17.6 million in salaries while oversubscribing our seed round from all Black-led funds and angel investors,” Moore said via email.
Meet the other new startups and their founders in Tulsa based on ACT House information.
- Boddle Learning, an education platform that uses 3D games and adaptive learning technology to offer personalized math experiences for K-6 students. Founded by Edna Martinson and Clarence Tan.
- Bounceless, offers sports bras for fuller bust women to have the support they need during physical activity. Its co-founders are Chantelle Lott and Debra Edwards.
- Fansub is a Saas platform developed to give fan data, monetization, and engagement autonomy to creators. It was co-founded by former NFL player Brandon King, along with Mike Lombardi, Cameron Williams, and Chris Davis.
- Bite Way Nutrition, a meal prepping company in that provides healthy and affordable meals, paired with nutrition advice. It was founded by Jayvin Washington.
- Bodify, a web-based platform that leverages computer vision and artificial intelligence to help online shoppers find the best brands for their bodies. It was founded by Carlanda McKinney.
- Comme Homme, a tech-enabled, direct-to-consumer brand for American men who are bald or dealing with hair loss. It was co-founded by Kene Onuorah and Mejoy Lawson.
- Fresh Fabrics, a mobile laundry service that eliminates the stress and hassle of laundry and provides pick-up and drop-off services through a digital scheduling system. It was founded by Ambrose Midget.
- Cadenzo, a marketplace that closes the gap between entertainers and venues so they can seamlessly book live events and communicate with one another. It was founded by Andres Gonzales, Marc LaManque, and Troy Smith.