American Underground

American Underground Selects 12 Startups for Inaugural Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange Program for Black Founders

American Underground Selects 12 Startups for Inaugural Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange Program for Black Founders

Teams headed to Durham represent a range of industries and metros including Austin and Boston, New Orleans and New York

(Durham, NC) — Sept. 14, 2016 — The American Underground startup campus in Durham will host founders from around the nation, Oct. 9-14, as part of Google For Entrepreneurs (GFE) Exchange series. The GFE Exchange is a week­long immersion program that bridges the gap between startups, experts and new markets. The focus of the American Underground’s Exchange programming will be: ‘Building and Funding the Best Black Led Startups.’

Twelve startups (below) and numerous venture capitalists have confirmed their participation, including Village Capital (Washington DC), Comcast Ventures (Philadelphia), Backstage Capital (West Hollywood, CA), SJF Ventures (Durham), FullTilt Capital (Raleigh), Investors Circle (Durham) and more. Selected teams will also meet with CEOs such as Jim Whitehurst of Red Hat during their time in Durham.

Participating teams will receive intensive mentoring and a behind-the-scenes view of the approach venture capitalists take in vetting prospective companies so they are better prepared to raise a round of capital. Training will also be provided around overcoming racial bias in the fundraising process. The program ends with a pitch event before dozens of venture capitalists and corporate CEOs from up and down the East Coast. The goal of the program is for half of the startups to be funded within nine months.

“The funding gap for diverse founding teams is one of today’s most pressing issues in tech and business,” says Adam Klein, chief strategist of the American Underground. “We’re honored to host world-class entrepreneurs, investors and corporate leaders in Durham to address that need head-on, and are thankful to Google for Entrepreneurs for their partnership and shared vision.”

Event organizers chose the twelve startups from an international pool of applicants totaling more than 160 startups. The American Underground has emerged as a national model for its intentional efforts to foster diversity and inclusivity.    

Participating startups:

  • AM Money (Chicago): Providing cheaper financial services to underserved young adults (16-24) through alternative risk assessment.
  • Bandwagon (Greenville, SC): A sports tech company that utilizes data to help fans optimize their game day experience while helping teams gain transparency into attendance.
  • BlindedHR (Raleigh): A platform that helps companies form a talented, creative and inclusive workforce from use of inclusive unbiased recruiting measures. BlindedHR seeks to eliminate human error in the early stages of the candidate review process.
  • CareAcademy (Boston, MA): In an $84 billion industry the US will need five million caregivers for older adults. CareAcademy fills the gap through online training.
  • Castar (Los Angeles): An app-based community for creatives, talent, artists and entrepreneurs to connect, collaborate, and find opportunities.
  • Ceek VR (Miami Beach): A platform for self generating, managing and distributing Virtual Reality experiences. CEEK enables anyone with digital assets, even those with no developer experience, to create and distribute VR.
  • InstaFund (New Orleans): InstaFunds focuses on the unbanked and underbanked population and works to help them in becoming financially organized and disciplined, while also increasing financial literacy.
  • Little Bird HR (NYC): The first HR software and employee benefits platform purpose-built for K-12 schools.
  • RantRoom (Durham): A social engagement platform which allows users to create public and/or private rooms based on specific topics.
  • RewardStock (Durham): Our free website creates plans for the best way to travel with frequent flier miles, credit card rewards and hotel points instead of cash.
  • SandBox Commerce (Austin): SandBox Commerce allows retailers who are selling products online to build, deploy and maintain a mobile application that increases sales on iPhone and Android devices.
  • TresseNoire (Philadelphia): The premiere beauty booking app for on-demand, on-location hair & makeup services for women of color.

About the American Underground

The American Underground, a Google for Entrepreneurs Tech Hub, is where smart startups grow and thrive. Deemed “the startup capital of the south” by CNBC, the American Underground is home to more than 250 entrepreneurial organizations. The American Underground is owned by Capitol Broadcasting Company (CBC). American Underground visitors include TechCrunch, TIME Magazine, The Atlantic, the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, G.E’s Jeff Immelt, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Steve Case.

About Google for Entrepreneurs

Google for Entrepreneurs provides financial support and the best of Google’s resources to dozens of coworking spaces and community programs across 125 countries. We also create Campuses: physical hubs where entrepreneurs can learn, connect, and build companies that will change the world. To learn more about Google for Entrepreneurs, visit or follow us on G+ (+GoogleForEntrepreneurs) and Twitter (@GoogleForEntrep).


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *