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1 min read

Black Founder Raises $2.3M To Help Businesses Prevent Cyberattacks

In this Black founder spotlight, we’re speaking with Tiffany Ricks, the CEO of HacWare, a company that helps organizations identify phishing attempts and defend against data breaches.

During this interview, Tiffany shares:

  • How businesses can reduce the risk of cyberattacks.
  • Thoughts on the recent closing of HBCU, Lincoln College due to a cyberattack.
  • Raising $2.3M and what the fundraising process was like.
  • What she feels made HacWare attractive to investors.
  • The milestones that she wants to achieve in the next 5 years.

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2 mins read

157 Year Old HBCU, Lincoln College Now Closed Following Covid-19 And Cyberattack Related Struggles

Lincoln College survived the economic crisis of 1887, a major campus fire in 1912, the Spanish flu of 1918, the Great Depression, World War II, the 2008 global financial crisis, and more.

Unfortunately, the Illinois-based institution has finally met its match and closed its doors for good today.

Despite record-breaking student enrollment in Fall 2019, the coronavirus pandemic dramatically impacted recruitment and fundraising efforts, sporting events, and all campus life activities.

lincoln college
Ke’Shawn Hess, a business student at Lincoln College | Credit: (Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune)/Chicago Tribune via AP)

The economic burdens initiated by the pandemic required large investments in technology and campus safety measures, as well as a significant drop in enrollment with students choosing to postpone college or take a leave of absence, which impacted the institution’s financial position.

According to a statement on the school website, Lincoln College was also a victim of a cyberattack in December 2021 that thwarted admissions activities and hindered access to all institutional data, creating an unclear picture of Fall 2022 enrollment projections.

All systems required for recruitment, retention, and fundraising efforts were inoperable. Fortunately, no personal identifying information was exposed. Once fully restored in March 2022, the projections showed significant enrollment shortfalls, requiring a transformational donation or partnership to sustain Lincoln College beyond the current semester.

A Facebook group called Save Lincoln College tried unsuccessfully to help the school keep its doors open. The school, named after President Abraham Lincoln, held its final graduation last week.

“Everyone started leaving and we said our goodbyes, but we kind of realized we weren’t coming back,” a student said. “Other universities are offering them tuition and allowing them to start into the programs there but there’s never going to be a place like Lincoln.”


Tony O. Lawson

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3 mins read

Meet The Black Woman CEO and Veteran Who Has Built a Multimillion Dollar Cybersecurity Company

Phyllis Newhouse is the first Black woman to lead a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). She is also a serial entrepreneur and investor, retired military senior officer, and mentor.

While serving in the United States Army on various assignments she specialized in National Security and established the Cyber Espionage Task Force. After a 22 year military career, she decided to shift her focus to entrepreneurship.

Black woman ceo
Phyllis Newhouse

In 2002 she founded Xtreme Solutions (XSI).  XSI provides state-of-the-art information technology and cybersecurity services and solutions and has employees in 42 states, with 40% of its workforce made up of veterans. XSI revenues are reported to exceed $8 million.

In 2019 she founded ShoulderUp alongside Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis, a nonprofit dedicated to connecting and supporting women on their entrepreneurial journeys.

ShoulderUp Ventures is the first women-founded and led influencer fund providing impact and exclusive access to a diverse portfolio of media, technology companies, and sports entertainment. In 2019 alone its members and affiliates invested over $10 million in companies like Lime, Rent the Runway, and Airbnb.

In 2020, Phyllis co-founded Athena Technology Acquisition Corp., to carry out mergers, capital stock exchanges, asset acquisitions, stock purchases, and reorganizations with one or more businesses in the technology, DTC, and fintech industries.

black woman ceo
Phyllis Newhouse

While Athena is joining over 500 other active SPACs, only 17 of those have a woman as chair or CEO, according to SPAC Track.

In March 2021, Athena closed a $250 million IPO, making it the only SPAC listed on the NYSE with a Black woman CEO. In November 2021,

She told Forbes, “I think about the impact and responsibility that you have to be successful at this. You could be the first Black woman to lead a SPAC, and it could flop, and it would be a disaster, or you could be responsible and own this. “So in my mind, from day one, I had to own this, because I know with the ownership comes a deep responsibility. Others are watching.”

According to a press release, the company currently intends to focus its efforts on identifying businesses in the technology and cybersecurity industries.

Tony O. Lawson

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2 mins read

Lumu, a Black Owned Cybersecurity Startup Just Raised $7.5 Million

Lumu, a Black owned cybersecurity startup yesterday announced that it has closed its Series A round of funding for the amount of $7.5 million.

The Miami based company offers a cloud based service that offers a cloud-based service that helps companies continually scan and react to data compromises in real time. They not only help companies prevent breaches, they also allow them to automate their responses.

Lumu Founder and CEO, Ricardo Villadiego

Lumu launched in February 2020 and already has 1,300 enterprise customers. In just over 12 months, the company said it has analyzed more than 55 billion metadata records and detected more than 11 million cybersecurity threats.

The investment round was co-led by SoftBank Group Corp’s SB Opportunity Fund and Panoramic Ventures. ISS former CEO Tom Noonan and Palo Alto Networks former CEO Lane Bess, are also part of the round. Lumu also announced that Dr. Paul Judge, Managing Partner of Panoramic Ventures and a member of SB Opportunity Fund’s Investment Committee, has joined the company’s board.


“While attackers have become adept at covering their tracks once inside the network, they also must themselves use the network to move around, leaving trace remnants behind that become obscured amidst all the network noise. The LUMU solution was purpose-built to sift through massive amounts of network metadata in real-time, detect the telltale signals of compromise, and illuminate those network blind spots with pinpoint accuracy,” said Lumu CEO, Ricardo Villadiego.

The company intends to use the funds for sales and marketing initiatives, and additional research and development.

Villadiego previously founded Easy Solutions, which was part of a $2.8 billion acquisition by Cyxtera in 2017.

Tony O. Lawson

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