Next Wave Impact Invests $825,000 in Five POC-Owned Startups

The startups are working to solve the world's largest challenges, from neonatal care to agricultural supply chain to incarceration rates

BOULDER, Colo. - ColoradoDesk -- Five finalists from Next Wave Impact's inaugural Founders of Color Showcase each received investments through Next Wave Network's syndicate of investors, which includes Queen City Angels, Pipeline Angels, Next Wave Impact, Social Venture Circle and Kachuwa Impact Fund. Food industry data service Agtools, healthtech company Neopenda, incarceration connection tech platform company Flikshop, IOT building software company BlocPower, and EdTech software company LiftEd were awarded a combined total of $825,000 from investors structured as five special purpose vehicles (SPVs), which aggregate smaller investors into combined, larger investments.

The five investments served to mobilize more capital to underserved entrepreneurs who receive a tiny fraction of angel and venture capital investments. "By mobilizing more women and people of color as investors, we are working to create a more diverse and inclusive ecosystem," said Dr. Alicia Robb, founder of Next Wave Impact Fund and lead of the Founders of Color Showcase. "The goal of the Showcase was to highlight a pipeline of scalable companies being led by founders of color and move the needle on the amount of capital going to these underserved entrepreneurs. We are pleased to have mobilized almost a million dollars from more than forty angel investors."

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"Funding founders of color is what will level the playing field for great companies solving the world's largest challenges, from neonatal care to agricultural supply chain to incarceration rates," said Dr. Silvia Mah, founder of Stella Labs, a female-focused business accelerator, and Next Wave Impact Investment Committee member. "More nimble financial vehicles, like SPVs, coupled with quality, collaborative due diligence and advocacy for underrepresented founders allows for investors to de-risk their investments to make a larger impact."

Agtools is a California financial company that provides algorithm data services to farmers and corporate buyers to offset volatility in the marketplace and minimize food loss.

Neopenda is a healthtech startup bringing sustainable, high-quality care such as neonatal monitors to resource-constrained health facilities where patient loads are high and healthcare workers are strained.

Flikshop founder/CEO Marcus Bullock used his personal experience of incarceration to establish a method for connecting prisoners to loved ones through digital photo postcards.

BlocPower is an energy technology startup based in Brooklyn, NY which provides heating and cooling systems to buildings in American cities. Software is used for analysis, leasing, project management and monitoring of urban clean energy projects.

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LiftEd provides tools to interdisciplinary school teams for special needs students from pre-K through 12th grade, facilitating more effective instructional planning, tracking and communication.

There were 10 finalists and 10 semi-finalists chosen from more than 100 applicants in the Founders of Color Showcase in May 2020. All 20 winners earned a spot in Next Wave Impact's six-month scale program, which has tailored webinars hosted by experts in the fields of law, HR, finance and more. Sponsors of the Showcase include Kauffman Foundation, Anchor Point Foundation, Next Wave Foundation, Grasshopper Bank, Carta, Loon Creek Capital, and Foley Hoag. Prize sponsors include Foley Hoag, Republic, Techstars, Beta Boom, Simple Startup, HRx Services, WOCstar Fund, SustainVC, Ozone Ventures, NextGen, Kapor Capital, Astia and Rockies Venture Club. For more information on the showcase, please see www.nextwaveimpact.com/showcase.

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Source: Next Wave Impact
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