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2 mins read

TestParty Secures $4M to Champion Inclusive Web Design

TestParty, an AI-powered company working to revolutionize digital accessibility, has secured a significant step forward with a $4 million seed funding round co-led by Harlem Capital and the Urban Innovation Fund.

This investment will fuel their mission, as outlined by CEO and co-founder Michael Bervell, “to make it easier for any software developer to write accessible code before it becomes a problem.”

Bervell highlights the vast need, stating “Even though 17% of the world’s population (over a billion people) has a disability, it is far too difficult and expensive today to make websites digitally accessible.” TestParty’s approach ensures everyone can benefit from the web.

Currently, 96% of the world’s top websites fail to meet accessibility standards, creating a barrier for people who rely on assistive technologies. TestParty tackles this challenge by automating accessibility testing and remediation using AI. This eliminates manual code reviews, saving businesses time and resources. Their platform proactively finds and fixes accessibility issues within the code itself, preventing violations from the start.

TestParty’s focus goes beyond finding problems. Bervell explains, “Our focus isn’t just on finding issues but on fixing accessibility bugs and providing senior leadership with critical insights and a corrective and future prevention path.” He emphasizes the cost-effectiveness of their approach, noting “Especially since research shows that every bug in production costs up to $10,000 to fix.” This full-stack, end-to-end approach sets TestParty apart, aiming to serve everyone from designers and developers to product managers and Chief Accessibility Officers.

The company’s vision extends beyond its current offerings. They are actively developing solutions for mobile app accessibility, advanced code remediation tools, and even exploring the potential of generative AI to write inherently accessible code from the start.

This ambition positions TestParty to become the industry standard in digital accessibility innovation.

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3 mins read

Resilia, Software Provider For Nonprofits, Raises $35 Million

After nearly a decade of advising nonprofits and grantmakers of all sizes, Sevetri Wilson set her sights on using technology to transform the nonprofit sector.

In 2016, she launched Resilia, a software solution that enables nonprofits to increase capacity and funders to go beyond their grant allocations with technical assistance, coaching, and capacity-building support.

Resilia has over 15,000 nonprofit users and enterprise customers including Oxfam America, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Goldman Sachs’s One Million Black Women Initiative, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the United States Tennis Association Foundation, and The Boston Foundation.

The company has experienced over 300% annual revenue growth while growing net revenue retention by greater than 150%.

On Thursday, the New Orleans and NYC-based company announced that it has closed $35M in a history-making series B round to further help nonprofits increase their day-to-day capacity and funders scale impact through resources that extend beyond just a monetary grant.

The round was co-led by Panoramic Ventures and Framework Venture Partners. Returning investors include Mucker Capital, Callais Capital, Cultivation Capital, Engage Ventures, SoftBank Group’s SB Opportunity Fund, Kimble Ventures, The Jump Fund, and Fearless Fund. New investors include Goldman Sachs Asset Management Fund, Chloe Capital, Gaingels, Mana Ventures, and others.

The latest funding will be used to scale Resilia’s technology platform and expand access to the sector by bringing more North American organizations into its ecosystem—and comes at a time when 86% of U.S. grantmakers provide capacity-building support to nonprofits through investments in areas such as leadership development, fundraising, evaluation and learning, communications, technology, collaboration, or DE&I.

Further, capacity-building assistance “beyond the grant” [such as Resilia’s platform] is a key pathway for funders seeking to support equity and justice efforts, according to the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.

“Our goal at Resilia has always been to provide nonprofits with access—something our team has worked tirelessly to do,” said Wilson in a recent press release. “This latest investment gets us closer to realizing our vision of democratizing philanthropy by reallocating power over its decision-making and resources as well as providing more seats at the table.”

While Black and Latina women founders received less than 1% of VC funding combined in 2021, Resilia’s latest capital raise marks another historic feat: it is the largest raise ever for a solo Black female-founded tech company, and also marks the largest VC raise of a female founder in the state of Louisiana.

Resilia first made history when it closed an $8M Series A in 2020, the highest venture capital raise by a woman-founded tech company in the state of Louisiana.

With close to $50M in venture capital to date, Resilia’s latest funding round marks the largest raise ever for a solo Black woman-founded tech company.

-Tony O. Lawson

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2 mins read

Calendly, The Black Owned Scheduling App, Just Raised $350M, and Is Now Valued At Over $3Billion

Calendly is a Black owned scheduling app, designed to make the process of finding meeting times easy. Currently, about 10 million people use the platform on a monthly basis.

Today, Calendly announced that they have closed a $350 million investment which now values the company at more than $3 billion. OpenView Venture Partners, along with new investor Iconiq Capital, were part of the investment.

black owned scheduling app
Tope Awotona, Founder and CEO of Calendly

Tope Awotona founded Calendly in 2013. Since then, the Atlanta based company has been very popular and very profitable.

Last year, the company made about $70 million in subscription revenues and is projecting revenues will get to $1 billion in the near future.

The investment will be used to provide liquidity for early shareholders and employees as well as continue product innovation, according to the announcement. The software startup also added two new senior executives at the end of 2020 to grow its employees and revenue.

black owned scheduling app

“Our profitable, unique, product-led growth model has led to Calendly becoming the most used, most integrated, most loved scheduling platforms for individuals and large enterprises alike,” said CEO Tope Awotona. “While we considered outside investment an unnecessary distraction, we made the decision to partner with OpenView and Iconiq because of their insight and extended network within the tech industry.”

 

Tony O. Lawson


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