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startup

3 mins read

Health In Her HUE Raises $3 Million to Bridge Racial Health Disparities

Health In Her HUE is a digital health platform dedicated to tackling racial health disparities for Black women and women of color. The company recently announced the successful closure of a $3 million seed funding round, marking a pivotal moment in its mission to revolutionize healthcare access through technology and community-driven initiatives.

Founded in 2018 by Ashlee Wisdom, Health In Her HUE emerged with a clear goal: to create a supportive ecosystem that empowers women of color by connecting them with culturally responsive healthcare providers and vital health-related information.

Health In Her HUE

This funding round, led by Seae Ventures, includes backers such as Johnson & Johnson Impact Ventures, Morgan Stanley Inclusive Ventures Lab, Genius Guild, HBCU Founders Fund, Stanford Impact Fund, and a group of angel investors.

Health In Her HUE’s platform includes an array of offerings aimed at addressing the unique healthcare needs of its nearly 13,000 members. The platform encompasses a comprehensive directory featuring over 1,300 diverse healthcare providers across 60 specialties. This directory empowers members to personalize their healthcare journey by connecting with providers who understand and cater to their cultural nuances and individual requirements.

Furthermore, the platform offers an extensive collection of educational health content through various mediums, including long and short-form videos, articles, and live virtual events. These resources serve as informative tools, ensuring women remain informed and engaged in managing their healthcare effectively.

Central to its impact is the vibrant community fostered by Health In Her HUE. Forums and programs, such as the Care Squad Program, provide spaces for women to engage, learn from each other’s experiences, and access peer support groups curated by healthcare professionals. Topics range from fibroids and fertility to mental health, addressing critical issues often overlooked in conventional healthcare settings.

Wisdom expressed pride in the platform’s achievements and emphasized her firsthand understanding of the challenges faced by women of color within the healthcare system. Her vision to provide a safe and inclusive space where women feel seen and heard while receiving quality care has been the driving force behind Health In Her HUE’s growth and impact.

The success of this recent funding round marks the second significant investment received by the company, bringing the total investment to $4.2 million. It not only highlights investor confidence but also underscores the urgent need to address racial health disparities, acknowledging the pivotal role technology and community engagement play in effecting meaningful change.

by Tony O. Lawson

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4 mins read

Driving Change: Shekel Mobility Raises $7 Million to Revolutionize African Car Trading

Shekel Mobility, a B2B trading platform tailored for car dealers in Africa, has secured a $7 million seed investment in its latest funding round. This financial backing comprises $3.2 million in equity and over $4 million in debt, with Ventures Platform and MaC VC leading the investment round.

The primary goal behind this infusion of capital is to fuel the expansion of Shekel Mobility’s operations into new African markets while fostering the development of innovative products and services within the platform.

Nigeria, recognized as the largest market for used cars in Africa with an estimated value of $10 billion, serves as a focal point for Shekel Mobility’s operations. Positioned as one of the key players in this lucrative market, the company stands poised to capitalize on the continuous growth of Nigeria’s economy.

The Nigerian used car market boasts a significant scale, with an annual sale of over 1 million used cars. Forecasts from a 2022 Statista report suggest a prospective escalation of the Nigerian used car market to a value of $1.3 billion by 2025.

However, despite this burgeoning demand, Africa’s car ownership remains notably lower than the global average, standing at fewer than 45 cars per 1000 people. To address this gap, emerging startups like Autochek and Moove have aimed to cater to consumer and driver needs. Yet, a critical need persists for solutions designed specifically for vehicle sellers in Africa, a void effectively filled by Shekel Mobility.

The existing market landscape in Africa remains predominantly offline and fragmented, presenting challenges for both buyers and sellers, including a lack of transparency, difficulty in sourcing suitable cars, and complex paperwork procedures.

Shekel Mobility has strategically positioned itself to tackle these obstacles by offering a centralized online platform that directly connects buyers and sellers. The platform features an array of tools empowering buyers to easily locate their ideal vehicles, leveraging detailed listings, 360-degree photos, and immersive virtual reality tours.

Since its inception, this Y Combinator-backed startup has reportedly facilitated transactions exceeding $56 million. By contributing to the expansion of over 1,400 auto dealerships and facilitating sales involving 7,000 cars, Shekel Mobility has demonstrated its impactful presence within the market.

The linchpin of the startup’s growth lies in its flagship offering, Shekel Credit. This unique service furnishes immediate financing to auto dealers, granting credit limits of up to $200,000 for vehicle acquisitions, typically ranging from $5,000 to $20,000.

Under this financing structure, the dealer contributes 30% of the total cost, such as $3,000 for a $10,000 car, while Shekel covers the remaining 70% as a loan to the dealer. Upon selling the vehicle to the end customer, typically within a three-month period, the dealer reimburses Shekel, encompassing the loan interest and transaction fees associated with the car sale.

Marlon Nichols, the founder and managing partner at MaC Venture Capital, expressed enthusiasm regarding the investment round, highlighting Shekel Mobility’s potential to revolutionize and stimulate growth within Africa’s automotive industry. Nichols emphasized how the team enables substantial financial movement within the Nigerian economy while simultaneously providing affordable automobiles to locals.

by Tony O. Lawson

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6 mins read

Organizely is Redefining Productivity for the Future of Work

Organizely is an AI-powered web app that helps people learn and grow in their careers. It curates and suggests templates, e-guides, and tutorials on a wide range of topics, so people can take control of their own learning and skill development.

In this interview, we speak to Organizely founder Tariqua “Tech Tai” Nehisi about the app’s inception, mission, and how it stands out from other productivity and organizational tools. We also discuss workforce development and the role of technology in shaping the future of work and learning.

What inspired you to start Organizely?

I graduated from college in 2008 at the start of a global economic crisis that significantly reduced my employment opportunities and career mobility. This unavoidable life event inspired me to fully own my professional development and source upskilling programs as a method of resilience.

From my first tech bootcamp participation in 2015 to my most recent in 2020 (at the start of another global crisis); I noticed that the support services during AND after program completion hadn’t improved over time so I created my first digital product, the Tech Sales Toolkit, to address the growing chasm between perceived job training and actual job responsibilities. This was the commencement of my startup, Organizely.

What sets Organizely apart from other productivity and organization tools?

Organizely isn’t exactly a productivity and organizational tool like Trello (a former employer), Asana, Notion etc. The digital tools available on our marketplace are created by subject matter experts that are providing the tips, tricks, templates, and hacks they employ to do their jobs – faster, cheaper, better.

Working professionals who need quick answers to the nuances of their jobs have a place to source solutions to improve their job performance and overall professional development. Organizely firmly sits in the workforce development sphere.

Can you describe the pain points or challenges that you aim to solve within the productivity and organization workforce development domain?

The World Economic Forum states that 1 billion people will need to be reskilled by 2030, which is a huge and inspiring mission. However, our current reskilling/upskilling options and curriculum aren’t available to ALL working professionals AND don’t meet them where they are.

Only .5% of global GDP is invested in adult lifelong learning and the program options are significantly limited. Too many capable individuals are dropping out of the workforce because their employers refuse to provide training materials in expanded formats to complement adult learning styles for absorption and retention OR provide no initial and or additional training yet still expect increased and sustainable output from their personnel.

Organizely’s unique advantage is our focus on community, digital accessibility, and neurodiversity to empower the adult learners of today AND tomorrow.

What is your vision for the role of technology like Organizely in addressing the productivity workforce development challenges of the future? How do you anticipate the industry evolving in the coming years?

Our vision is to create a central hub for digital downloads that support the future of work and learning. By crowdsourcing subject matter experts to create work-based content, we want to galvanize a multigenerational workforce, that is dominated and greatly influenced by Millenials and Gen Zers, towards more supportive personal and professional performance that reduces anxiety, imposter syndrome and improves overall mental health respective to the workplace.

Inherently, the use of technology should provide more efficient and effective solutions to everyday issues. We have the tools to support a diverse global workforce with proper consideration of ALL working professionals. However, we live in a very ableist world that refuses to broaden the deployment of learning despite all the data we have about the benefits of diversity. We need to make better tools accessible for freelancers, permalancers, STARs (skilled through alternative routes), hearing impaired, visually impaired, neurologically impaired, etc.

Where do you see the company in 5-10 years?

Since Organizely is a solution for individuals to complement or supplement their upskilling/reskilling efforts, it should be attractive to large e-learning providers like Coursera. They provide great educational resources that would be greatly improved by acquiring our company.

Next, I will deploy the employer solution for delivering improved upskilling/reskilling resources to their staff which is the sister company.

My mission is to support working people so that a job/career is a healthy part of their lives and not their entire identity. There will always be layoffs, furloughs, hiring freezes, and terminations along with economic shifts that can and will affect us but there will also be success and opportunity that derives from these life events.

by Tony O. Lawson

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6 mins read

Tynt Technologies: Redefining the Role of Windows in a Sustainable Home

Tynt Technologies is a company on a mission to optimize human health and comfort within the home. Their innovative approach involves dynamic windows that intuitively control daylight and privacy, challenging the traditional notion of windows as mere openings to the outdoors.

Tynt Technologies has raised $16 million to date. This funding is being used to develop and commercialize the company’s smart window technology.

In this interview with founder and CEO Ameen Saafir, we explore Tynt’s journey and vision within the context of evolving climate technology trends.

Can you tell us about the inspiration behind Tynt Technologies?

Tynt Technologies’ journey began with a passion for innovation and a commitment to addressing climate change. In 2003, after completing my degrees at Stanford, I delved into the world of flat panel display technology, specifically OLEDs, with industry giants Samsung and DuPont. As I successfully scaled up a unique method for producing these displays, which involved coating active materials from a solution, I began pondering how I could utilize my expertise to combat climate change.

While many in my field were focusing on solar and energy storage, I saw a largely untapped market in smart windows. In 2012, I joined a smart window company with a similar approach to material coating. As Chief Engineer, I led the scaling of this technology, even overseeing the company’s inaugural manufacturing facility. However, this technology was costly and lacked key features for mass-market appeal.

Fast forward to 2020, I received a call from my former graduate school advisor, Professor Mike McGehee, who had developed a groundbreaking smart window technology at CU Boulder. I initially agreed to help craft a business plan and advise his students, but after witnessing the technology’s potential firsthand, Tynt Technologies was born just four weeks later.

What sets Tynt’s smart windows apart from other products in the market?

In recognizing the importance of providing mass-market appeal, Tynt Technologies focuses on offering a cost-effective solution with neutral color, privacy in the dark state, and wireless installation and operation capabilities.

We stand out as the only technology that delivers all these features, making us a game-changer in a market where existing products cater primarily to high-end commercial applications, such as office buildings, airports, and hospitals. Our vision extends to thriving in single and multi-family homes and commercial spaces like shopping malls and restaurants.

With the growing interest in smart homes and buildings, how do you see Tynt’s technology fitting into the broader trend of IoT (Internet of Things) and smart building systems?

Smart building systems aim to optimize energy consumption, comfort, and privacy. Tynt’s technology plays a pivotal role in achieving these objectives. Windows have a substantial impact on these aspects, and our smart windows can reduce a home’s total energy consumption by up to 30% by controlling thermal energy from the sun.

They keep homes cool in the summer by blocking excess heat and allowing natural heating during the winter. Moreover, our smart windows maximize natural light, creating a comfortable and adaptable environment. The ability to completely darken windows also enhances security and privacy, making them a cornerstone of the smart homes of the future.

What kind of partnerships or collaborations do you foresee as critical for your success?

As a startup company with a focus on longevity and customer support, we believe that establishing partnerships with established window companies is critical for our success. Homeowners expect their windows to last over 30 years, and they want assurance that their chosen company will support them, even in the unlikely event of warranty issues. Recognizing this, we have already signed agreements with three renowned window companies (to be announced soon) through which we will introduce our product.

tynt technologies

What’s your vision for the future of Tynt Technologies?

Looking ahead, we envision Tynt Technologies as a company that will provide homeowners with a comprehensive smart window system, integrating intelligence to manage energy, comfort, and security. Our windows will communicate with other devices in the home to deliver a premium smart home experience.

Additionally, by combining Tynt with advanced insulating window technologies like vacuum-insulated glass, we aim to revolutionize home design. This will enable more windows in homes while adhering to stringent energy performance standards, eliminating the need for homeowners to choose between abundant natural light and energy efficiency.

Our goal is not only to challenge the perception of windows but also to redefine what’s possible in a modern, energy-efficient home.

by Tony O. Lawson

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3 mins read

HealthTech Platform Free From Market Secures $2.1 Million for Expansion

Free From Market (FFM), a digital platform that helps lower-income Americans with chronic health conditions access personalized diet-specific foods and support, has closed a seed investment round of $2.1 million.

The funding will be used to improve the platform’s technology and expand the service to provide affordable, accessible solutions for improving health outcomes. The funding round was led by Bluestein Ventures and supported by Acumen America, Beta Boom, KCRise Fund, 1st Course Capital, AssetBlue Ventures and Google for Startups Black Founders Fund.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three Americans have a chronic health condition that can be managed through food. However, many Americans do not have access to the necessary resources and support.

Free From Market addresses this issue by offering bulk ordering for organizations and direct-to-door access for individuals to purchase diet-specific meals, produce and grocery items, along with telenutrition support. The platform also measures health outcomes for users with chronic conditions where food is the standard of care.

Free From Market
Emily Brown, Co-Founder and CEO of Free From Market

Emily Brown, Free From Market’s Co-Founder and CEO, is a recognized thought leader in the “food is medicine” space, serving on the NIAID National Advisory Council and the Children’s Hospital Association’s Next Generation of Quality Steering Committee. She is also a participant in the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. Brown and co-founder Elise Bates created FFM with a mission to help all Americans manage their health through food, regardless of income or location.

FFM’s leadership team, which includes Chief Operating Officer Mark Jaffe, has extensive backgrounds in community health, food distribution, healthcare, technology, and nutrition. “Food has a powerful ability to heal our bodies, and we’re thrilled to support FFM as they build the future in the ‘food is medicine’ space,” said Andrew Bluestein, Managing Partner of Bluestein Ventures. Ed Frindt, Partner at KCRise, added, “This is an innovative model, and this is the type of disruptive tech company that will create real change in public health.”

“One in three Americans has a condition where food is part of the standard of care, yet many Americans do not have access to food and resources needed to treat it,” said Brown. “Our curated food is free from ingredients an individual does not want, and full of all the nutrients they need to manage a healthy life. This funding round is merely one milestone towards our goal to make a lasting impact to improve healthcare in this country and center health equity.”

by Tony O. Lawson

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5 mins read

Black Doctor Owned Startup, CancerIQ Raises $14 Million for Early Cancer Detection and Prevention

Systemic access barriers have created stark inequality when it comes to preventive cancer care in the United States. For example, Black women are more likely to be diagnosed with advanced stages of breast cancer and 41% more likely to die of the disease than white women.

These issues are compounded by the 9.5 million screenings missed during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to an increase in late-stage cancer diagnoses that are more costly and have a greater impact on quality of life and outcomes than early-stage diagnoses.

Enter CancerIQ, the only cancer-focused precision health platform that empowers healthcare providers to detect cancer earlier and prevent it altogether.

“My core belief is that we can drastically change what it means to have cancer if we make cancer risk assessment more accessible and ensure all patients have access to personalized, risk-based care pathways,” said Feyi Olopade Ayodele, Founder and CEO at Cancer IQ. “CancerIQ is driven by the vision to end cancer as we know it. And it is our mission to accomplish this by connecting broader patient populations and providers to the latest innovations in early detection and prevention. ”

Today the company announced that it closed a $14 million Series B financing round.

The new funding comes one month after a report from the President’s Cancer Panel calling for “urgent and immediate action” to close gaps in cancer screening, risk assessment, and timely follow-up care — particularly among diverse, uninsured, or underinsured, and rural populations.

“The cancer research community has made great strides in cancer prevention and treatment,” said Funmi Olopade, MD, Co-founder and Chief Scientific Advisor of CancerIQ. “But now we must accelerate and scale the clinical pipeline, so a diverse population of patients — those receiving care at academic medical centers and community hospitals alike — can benefit from these advances.” Dr. Olopade served on the National Cancer Advisory Board and is one of the field’s foremost authorities on cancer genetics and precision oncology.

“CancerIQ’s vision is to end cancer as we know it by eliminating health disparities and democratizing access to the latest advances in cancer early detection and prevention,” added Feyi Olopade Ayodele, Co-founder and CEO of CancerIQ. “We started by making genetic testing more accessible and connecting patients to the right preventive services at the right time.

This latest round of funding will help CancerIQ reach more patients and connect to more innovations that promise to transform cancer from a deadly disease to a manageable condition.”

CancerIQ’s precision health platform, which is being used by clinicians at more than 180 locations across the country, makes it easy to determine a patient’s individual risk of cancer based on family history, genetics, behavior, and other factors, and then connect them to the corresponding care pathways.

Those pathways range from MRIs, prophylactic surgeries, and vaccinations to at-home screening kits, multi-cancer early detection (MCED) tests, lifestyle interventions and other services such as clinical trials, educational materials, and social resources.

The funding round was co-led by Merck Global Health Innovation Fund (Merck GHI) and Amgen Ventures. McKesson Ventures, OSF Ventures (the investment arm of OSF HealthCare, a current CancerIQ customer), as well as CancerIQ’s Series A lead investor, HealthX Ventures, also participated in the Series B round.

The new funding will help CancerIQ grow its precision health platform, strengthen its partnership ecosystem, and expand its health system network. Following a recent series of key executive hires, the company also plans to hire 50 team members to meet the rising demand for more efficient and innovative cancer prevention services.

Check out their open positions here.

2 mins read

AudioMob, Black Owned Gaming Ad Company Reaches $110 Million Valuation in One Year

AudioMob is a Black owned gaming advertisement company created to help developers monetize their games through audio ads.

Their in-game audio advertising format allows gameplay and connects brands with highly engaged audiences. According to AudioMob, their clients see up to a 2000% increase in engagement when compared to banner ads.

AudioMob has been used in marketing campaigns for major artists like Nas and Justin Bieber, as well as brands such as Intel and Jeep.

Nas himself has commented, “It was interesting to witness the music react in a different landscape. It’s a dope medium for artists to connect with the globe.”

audiomob
AudioMob co-founders Christian Facey (left) and Wilfrid Obeng (right). AUDIOMOB

Founded in 2020, the UK-based company recently announced that it has successfully raised $14m for its series A funding, bringing its total valuation to a reported $110 million.

The funding will be used to expand the team in London and Abu Dhabi and develop more experimental audio technology. The company will also continue to file patents in more countries, build out its team and open up opportunities in other regions and markets.

Lead investors Makers Fund and Lightspeed Venture Partners. Additional investors include Sequoia Capital and Google which are known for producing unicorns including Snap and Epic Games alongside some music artists which takes total investment to date $16million.

Christian Facey, CEO at AudioMob told TechCrunch, “We’re thrilled to see investors’ excitement for AudioMob’s vision for long term success and our future. We’re on the precipice of innovating a whole industry with audio and now we’re able to build out our tech and team to ensure we’re disrupting the industry in the right way and ensure we eventually become a future tech industry unicorn.”

Wilfrid Obeng, CTO at AudioMob said, “We understand that consumers don’t want to be interrupted, advertisers want their ads to be heard and game developers want to ensure monetization does not affect retention. And now we have built products which meet all three needs.”

Tony O. Lawson


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13 mins read

This Black Owned Health Tech Company is Disrupting The Multi Billion Dollar Elder and Disability Care Industries

Due to the rising aging population and increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, there is a growing demand for home healthcare services. The US home care services industry was estimated at $96.9 billion in 2020.

Empathy is a digital health tech company that helps home health agencies streamline and improve all their administrative and care delivery tasks.

We spoke to founder Keziah Njuguna to learn more about her business.

Empathy founder, Keziah Njuguna

What inspired you to start Empathy Algorithm

I first started out in aeronautical engineering at the University of Central Missouri and stumbled upon home health as most of the people in my immediate social network were either agency owners or knew someone who worked at an agency.

I was quickly drawn into how selfless and fulfilling the nature of providing care was, but also in time discovered how venerable life as a senior receiving care could be in our society.

As someone who believes in finding solutions to problems in a practical and demonstrative manner,  I realized my life was fulfilled by changing the world one person at a time in one of the most selfless professions which is providing care to our aging population.

So what is Empathy exactly?

Empathy is an end to end home health platform that aims to revolutionize the entire care delivery process in elder and disability care. Basically, we provide a web and mobile software solution that empowers providers who provide home health services to deliver care that improves the quality of life for their clients and at the same time streamlines their entire care delivery and administrative tasks.

We also provide home health agencies with their own branded agency, caregiver, and family portal web and mobile apps that keep them connected 24/7 365 to their business. Whether you have a small agency with a few clients and caregivers or a big agency – we are at your service.

What are some of the stats in the elderly industry that show there’s an opportunity to help make money in this market?

Before looking at the numbers on a page, I think it’s important to internalize that each and every one of us will become of senior age if we are fortunate. It’s inevitable that your parents, your brothers, your sisters, your husbands, your wives and yourself, will need some sort of care. You can’t escape it.  And the amount of care needed will increase as time moves on.

In the United States, elderly age is considered anyone age 65 and above and the demand/need for care begins and increases from this point on. There are 10,000 people turning 65 every single day in the USA and there will be over 2.5 million elders in one year who will need care at some point in their lives. Now compound that by 10 or 20 years and the numbers are staggering and opportunities endless.

According to Congressional Budget Office, elder care needs will increase to 3% of GDP by 2050. This means for the next foreseeable future, the home health business will be one of the most stable careers that can guarantee upward mobility especially for minorities who are at the front lines as caregivers and agency owners. Entire communities could directly benefit from ownership in home health businesses.

Can you tell us about your plans to help others create their home health business?

As I mentioned before, there are 10,000 people in the United States turning 65 every day, which means 10,000 potential clients that will require care needs from caregivers and home agency owners. The potential as a home agency business owner or independent caregiver is huge.

Most people in our community have considered starting entering the home health business either as a home health agency or independent caregiver but do not know where to start. There are also a good number of existing agency owners who are having issues running and growing their home health agency business to the next level. Our goal is to create an information pipeline for both.

A large number of caregivers and agency owners in the home health business are women and specifically women of color. As a woman and business owner with over 10 years of experience in the home health industry, I believe there’s a massive opportunity for women to be the guardians of providing care to the vulnerable in our communities and as such, should be the beneficiaries of the benefits that are accorded to business owners – upward mobility, job satisfaction and the betterment of their community.

To that end, Empathy not only provides you with the tools to run a successful home health agency but a wealth of education that caters to providers regardless if you are new or seasoned in the industry. I write a weekly blog that guides your home health business journey from how to get your first client, to how to run a large major home health agency with multiple clients.

We try to focus on the tiny details that would typically get lost such as how to create a professional client payment sheet that helps agencies submit a form to clients showing their agency care rates. We provide a wealth of free information on how to successfully run your agency which can be found on our blog at www.empathyalgorithm.com

We know how steep the learning curve can be in the home health industry, so I try my best to provide years of my knowledge free to our users so they can focus on what’s important which is providing care and growing their business.

Why did Empathy come up with a mobile app for agencies?

We wanted to make running your home health business not just easy but accessible from anywhere and at any time. The advent of Covid has forced us to rethink how we view the workplace and it is no different in the home health industry where remote working is not just essential but is a necessity.

As someone with a background in home health especially in the care delivery process, we have to be on site and on our feet. It became apparent to us that the care delivery process i.e the taking care of your client and administrative tasks eg invoicing and payroll, must be seamlessly connected and accessible on site and remotely.

For example, if you have to create a note or make changes on a client medication reminder, that information needs to be shared in real time with your caregivers as opposed to going to your work desk and sending an email. We knew that it is important for agencies to have their own branded portals that connect them to their caregivers and their clients on the web and mobile app.

The mobile app allows agencies to have 3 branded apps under their business which are an Agency, Caregiver, and Family.

We also wanted to help every single agency to maintain a high standard of professionalism for their business that is consistent from day to day. From clinical documentation such as care notes and administrative documentation such as invoices, timesheets, and payroll, our mobile applications help agencies maintain a consistently good quality of service for their clients and this was very important to us.

So if I just want to start or considering starting a home health business or even have an agency already how do I get involved?

If you currently do not have a home health business I recommend subscribing to our blog and follow my posts on how to start and grow your home health business. We try to give you an overview of the business but also the little details that will guide you along the journey.

If you are an existing agency owner l please download our app and request a tutorial on how to get your business up and running with empathy. Empathy agency is available on the Apple App Store as well as Google Play for agencies, caregivers, and family members.

At Empathy, we try to reduce the learning curve when it comes to running and growing your home health business.

Where do you see empathy in the future or in years to come?

I see Empathy as a vehicle for women’s empowerment in business ownership and especially for women of color like myself who have benefited from this industry. I also see Empathy algorithm as a healthcare tech company that can simultaneously address some of the issues in the eldercare industry

We have seen the conversation around health equality and from the perspective of access to care, but we have never really had the conversation around health equity from the perspective of access to upward mobility. We try to address that by providing a pipeline for new and existing home health agencies to thrive.

Similarly, There’s also a myriad of issues facing the home health industry, especially in the elder care segment. These are fragmented collective national issues that we believe Empathy can tackle not just from a business perspective, but for our collective greater good.

I believe Empathy algorithm is positioned to address these issues head on not just now but also in the future.

Any parting advice for people in or wanting to get into the home health industry?

The opportunities in the home health industry are massive and will only continue to grow for the next 30-40 years. You can replace or outsource people in the general workplace with machines and all sorts of automation but you can’t replace care provided to you by another human being…well at least for now. The Empathy and compassion that come with the human touch are irreplaceable.

No one said it would be easy – but once you get into the groove of it, things really get moving.

Watch the interview here:

 

Tony O. Lawson


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2 mins read

Black Owned Insurtech Startup in UK Hits Billion Dollar Valuation

Insurtech is a term that barely existed five years ago. It is used to describe the use of technology to disrupt the insurance industry. Because the global market is expected to reach $60 billion by 2028, companies operating in this space are attracting a lot of investor attention.

One such company is Marshmallow, a Black owned insurtech startup that recently reached a valuation of over $1.25 billion, becoming the newest and one of only two Black owned billion dollar (pound) startups in the UK.

The valuation came after an $85 million funding round, bringing the total amount raised by the company in the last year to more than $100 million.

Founded in 2017, by Oliver Kent-Braham, his twin brother Alexander Kent-Braham, and David Goate, the company aims to modernize the insurance industry by using data to provide more affordable auto insurance to customers who fall outside the typical “good risk” profile. These often include immigrants, expats, and people traveling within the UK.

Marshmallow has expanded its staff by more than 200% in the past year to around 170 people, and also plans to use its funding to hire 400 more over the next two years and to expand overseas and into other types of insurance beyond the auto segment.

“Customers are voting with their feet — and they clearly want a modern insurance offering,” Oliver Kent-Braham, co-founder and chief executive of Marshmallow, said.

Tony O. Lawson


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3 mins read

South African Payment Platform Yoco Raises $83M For Expansion

You’ve probably heard the phrase “small business is the backbone of the economy” before, and for good reason: it is true. Small businesses employ a huge percentage of workers around the globe.

But in countries like South Africa, where more payments are going digital and more customers are looking to swipe their debit and credit cards, smaller businesses still largely do not accept digital payments, potentially missing out on customers accustomed to not carrying any cash.

The fintech company Yoco has decided to tackle this problem head on, using its portable card machines as a way for small businesses and merchants to accept digital payments in person.

yoco

Yoco’s Strategy

Yoco’s strategy to gain a foothold in the industry is twofold: the company aims to be the most recognizable brand in the market and to make the adoption of their portable card machines as seamless as possible for their customers.

And this strategy appears to be working, as the company boasts that it is adding up to 500 merchants a day and has processed over $1 billion in payments, and growing. The company is carving out a market for itself and building a reputation in the process.

$83 Million In Funding

It’s no wonder that Yoco was able to raise $83 million from the Dragoneer Investment Group, a major investor in Chime and Square as well. This makes Yoco the most valuable startup in all of South Africa.

It has raised the most funding of any startup in South Africa and is only third across the entire continent. Yoco plans to use this investment to deliver new products to their customers, such as QR payments and a peer to peer money transfer. As they grow and add new features, they are only cementing their market dominance.

Expanding To New Regions

Yoco is looking past South Africa for growth: The startup is looking at rapidly expanding throughout all of Africa and into the Middle East. This provides an excellent growth opportunity as many merchants throughout these regions are still dealing mostly with cash at the moment but are interacting with customers who are increasingly going digital.

And with word that the company is hiring former employees from Paypal and Uber, Yoco is poised to reach exciting new heights in the fintech sector.

 

Written by Johnny T. Ross


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