Browse Tag

uk

/

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


Subscribe and Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube & Twitter

/

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


Subscribe and Follow SHOPPE BLACK on Facebook, Instagram Twitter

/

Black Owned Vegan Dessert Brand Invests $1.3 Million to Keep Up With Demand

Freaks of Nature is a Black owned Vegan dessert brand based in the UK. Peter Ahye launched Freaks of Nature in 2016 after identifying a gap in the market for inclusive, delicious tasting vegan and vegetarian snacks.

In January of 2020, the company launched a new chocolate mousse product and the demand far exceeded their expectations. Sales soared by 200% in three weeks and have been strong since then.

black owned vegan dessert
Peter Ahye

The company is now investing £1 million ($1.3 million) to expand its manufacturing capacity due to the growing demand for its vegan desserts. They also have plans to build a second production line and invest in larger, more eco-friendly equipment with the goal of increasing production capacity by 400 percent.

black owned vegan dessert

“This investment is very exciting and marks a significant turning point in our business,” Freaks of Nature founder Peter Ahye told Foodmanufacture UK. “In the first quarter of this year our production volumes were up by 100 percent, despite being held back by COVID-19, and strong indications show they are set to continue.”

black owned vegan dessert

“We had a fantastic year last year developing a number of great new puds, growing our production capacity and attracting some significant new retailers. We also won a number of leading industry accolades including The Grocers Best Start Up award. Following the really positive interest we have already received for our new mousse and the unstoppable rise in veganism we’re seeing here in the UK, I think this next year is going to be an even more exciting one for us!”

black owned vegan dessert

All of Freaks of Nature’s desserts are produced in its purpose-built facility which is British Retail Consortium (BRC) grade A accredited and is the largest factory of its kind in Europe.

 

-Tony O. Lawson

 

Related: Black Owned Snack Brands You Should Know


Subscribe and Follow SHOPPE BLACK on Facebook, Instagram Twitter


 Get your SHOPPE BLACK Apparel!

 

/

This Black Owned Makeup Brand Is Now Valued at Over $1 Billion

Pat McGrath Labs, the eponymous cosmetics company launched by the legendary makeup artist back in 2016, has just hit a major financial milestone.

On Monday, New York City-based investment firm Eurazeo Brands announced that it had struck a $60 million deal to become a minority shareholder in the company.

Pat McGrath

Eurazeo’s investment brings Pat McGrath Labs‘ total external funding to $88 million, according to a press release from the firm. While the specific terms of the deal were not disclosed, industry sources estimate that Eurazeo took a 5 to 8 percent stake in the company, putting its full valuation at more than $1 billion, according to a report by WWD, which also projects that the brand will bring in more than $60 million in sales for 2018.

black owned makeup

Pat McGrath Labs has become a popular staple at Sephora, reaching top-selling SKU status and attracting a reported 30 billion social media impressions since its debut. In its two years of business, it has outpaced many other brands, no doubt capturing the attention of industry executives and legacy corporations.

There has been some speculation in the industry as to what the next step, business-wise, would be for the fledgling hit, but for McGrath, the objective of her line has remained constant.

“It has always been my dream to create an iconic beauty brand that goes beyond the usual limitations, that lives outside the parameters of what is expected,” said McGrath in a statement via press release. “I am thrilled to be working with the unique and expert team at Eurazeo Brands.”

black owned makeup

Erazeo’s previous investments within the beauty sector include Nest Fragrances, while its fashion investments include Moncler, Vestiaire Collective and Farfetch. It joins McGrath and existing investor ONE Luxury Group (also believed to be a minority stakeholder) in efforts to scale the brand, expand its product offerings and grow its global footprint.

“We are honored to be working with Pat, whose vision, talent and trailblazing history in the beauty industry have set Pat McGrath Labs up to be one of the most authentic and innovative makeup brands to ever come to market,” said Jill Granoff, CEO of Eurazeo Brands, via a press statement.

“We’re excited to combine our experience of building global beauty and fashion brands with Pat and her team’s unmatched creativity and passion.” Granoff, who herself has an extensive background in beauty, spent a decade in senior leadership roles at Estée Lauder and in Victoria’s Secret’s beauty division.

As for what this investment will mean for the company, it’s all about expansion. Pat McGrath Labs is currently sold online at PatMcGrathLabs.com and Sephora.com and in 54 Sephora doors; in the U.S., the brand plans to expand into 90 Sephora stores in the fall, as well as continue building on its “drop” product release strategy. It will also forge ahead with merch and apparel.

“The next phase is to continue our incredible trajectory,” said McGrath exclusively to Fashionista. “We have been so blessed to have such an engaged and passionate customer base and the aim is to continue to provide them with more groundbreaking, straight-from-the-runway products and a makeup experience that they cannot get anywhere else.

I get so much joy and satisfaction when I see how much our loyal customers love the products, it fuels us to come up with even more innovative creative ideas.”

 

Source: Fashionista

/

Heroic schoolboys awarded for saving suicidal man

Three heroic schoolchildren in the UK who refused to let go of a man trying to jump off a bridge and saved his life are set to be presented with national awards.

heroic
Shawn Young, Devonte Cafferkey-Wilson and Sami Farah

Devonte Cafferkey, 13, and Sammy Farah, 14, rushed to grab a man sitting with a rope around his neck on the edge of an  overpass on September 21 last year. Friend Shawn Young, who was 12 at the time, called for help.

While trying to keep the man back and talk him out of suicide, he passed the boys his mobile phone saying “if it rings, don’t answer it”.

Jacqueline Cafferkey, Devonte’s mum, said the incident was traumatic for her son, who is glad the man is recovering.

Devonte did not want to go to school on Monday (September 25), which Jacqueline said “never happens”.

“He does not want to talk about it, it has been hard. Sammy has come over and has been quiet.

“I am filled with pride, I keep telling him he saved someone’s life and I hope that he realises that now.”

Mohamed Farah, Sammy’s dad, described his son as a “quiet and humble boy”.

“He has always been helpful to other people, when he sees an older lady on the street with shopping he goes to help,” he said.

He added: “What they did was very brave. The man was a lot bigger and stronger than them and he didn’t care about his life so he could have hurt the boys.

Jacqueline Cafferkey, Devonte’s mum, found out the good news a couple of weeks ago and described it as a “huge achievement”.

The three children, who go to St Mary’s High School, picked up Special Achievement Awards at the Broxbourne Youth Awards for their bravery.

Special Achievement Award winners Shawn Young, Devonte Cafferkey-Wilson and Sami Farah with John Conteh and council leader Mark Mills-Bishop

 

Source: Hertfordshire Mercury

/

9 Caribbean Restaurants In The UK

Caribbean cuisine is known and enjoyed for its exotic flavour. Our list of Caribbean Restaurants in the United Kingdom has some great choices that will leave those taste buds tingling.

Hopefully, you can handle the spice!

caribbean food

Caribbean Restaurants In The UK

PandaBerry Caribbean restaurant & Jerk centre. We are family run business dedicated to serving you hot, delicious and nutritious food.

Levi Roots Caribbean Smokehouse aims to aim to serve the best Jerk Chicken in the world amongst other traditional Caribbean favourites.

The Rum Kitchen is a Caribbean eatery that bends the rules. We focus on bringing Caribbean beach shack drinks with travel inspired flavours to London.

Negril is a Simple, unfussy Caribbean restaurant with a traditional comfort food menu & outdoor seating.

Rudie’s is a hip Jamaican joint serving banging real jerk and small plates with a contemporary twist.

Cafe Caribbean is a counter-serve Caribbean joint with chalkboard menus listing familiar regional cuisine.

Jamaica Patty Co. is a simple takeaway for traditional Jamaican patties, plus soups, coffee, juice and imported cakes.

Fish, Wings & Tings is a compact restaurant dishing up a vibrant menu of Caribbean favourites at pavement tables.

Bokit’la is the first French Caribbean street food vendor based in London. It’s a family run business sharing a taste of Guadeloupe.

 

Also check out our list of African Restaurants in the UK.

 

Tony O. Lawson

Subscribe and Follow SHOPPE BLACK on Facebook, Instagram &Twitter


 Get your SHOPPE BLACK Apparel!

/

Top 12 African Restaurants in The UK

Whether you’re looking for savory dishes that originate from the East, West or South of the Continent, this list of African Restaurants in the United Kingdom has some great choices to explore.

African Restaurants in the UK

Couscous Darna deals in the fragrant and warming dishes of Marrakesh. They serve a unique list of Moroccan beers, wines and cocktails to explore.

Ikoyi is a Chic space with decor that reflects the cuisine: a modern twist on authentic West African flavours.

Squires African Restaurant has over ten years experience of delivering authentic West African cuisine.

Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen brings Ghanaian flavours to @Popbrixton and beyond.

Momo serves Couscous, tagines and lamb dishes in colourful setting filled with furnishings from a Moroccan souk.

Mosob is a family-run restaurant serving authentic, vibrant Eritrean cuisine in a setting that reflects the country’s culture, with original art and artifacts.

Sweet Handz blends a relaxed atmosphere with delicious authentic Ghanaian food.

Enish Restaurant is an upscale Nigerian restaurant in London serving the best Nigerian Food.

Hammer & Tongs entire menu is braai-cooked over Sickle Bush & Blackthorne wood imported directly from South Africa.

805 is a stylish, contemporary restaurant,in light and airy setting for Modern Nigerian and West African dishes.

Adulis serves Eritrean food, based on stews and unleavened bread, served for sharing, in modern-rustic setting.

Spinach and Agushi are famous for their home cooked Ghanaian street food sold at Exmouth, Broadway and Portobello Market in London.

Tony O. Lawson


Subscribe and Follow SHOPPE BLACK on Facebook, Instagram &Twitter


 Get your SHOPPE BLACK Apparel!

/

14 Black History Month Events in The UK (2017)

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Black History Month in the UK. As usual, there are several amazing events going on through October and beyond. Here are just a few:

Black History Month Events:

 

LEICESTER

Black Skin White Mask

New Walk Jazz – celebrating Jazz Music and Black History Month, New Walk Museum & Art Gallery hosts its inaugural Jazz Music Concert Season – New Walk Jazz in their renowned fine art and music venue the Victorian Art Gallery. (Thursday 12, 19 and 26 October 7:00pm – 10:00pm)

Lost Legends is an exhibition that celebrates the contributions of Leicester’s African and African Caribbean community to the cultural heritage of the UK over the last three decades. (Ends Tuesday 31 October)

Black Skin White Mask – Exploring the life and work of the psychoanalytic theorist and activist Frantz Fanon, the Martinican-born, Paris-educated author, intellectual and activist. With his interest in violence, Black identity and psychiatry, tracing Fanon’s involvement in the anti-colonial struggle in Algeria and throughout the world. (October 18th)

 Greater London

Hank Willis Thomas: The Beautiful Game

Hank Willis Thomas: The Beautiful Game – In his first solo exhibition in the UK at Ben Brown Fine Arts, Hank Willis Thomas presents The Beautiful Game comprising new floor and wall based sculptures and quilts. The Beautiful Game will explore the intersection of art, sports and geopolitics.  (until 24 NOV 2017)

Join Dr. Boyce Watkins as he visits London in his mission to empower black people through the method of teaching financial literacy. Dr. Boyce will be at the historical venue “The Rock Tower” (from October 13th to the 14th)

Dr. Boyce Watkins

Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power – The show opens in 1963 at the height of the Civil Rights movement and its dreams of integration. Artists responded to these times by provoking, confronting, and confounding expectations. Their momentum makes for an electrifying visual journey.  (Until October 22nd)

Basquiat: Boom for Real is the first large-scale exhibition in the UK of the work of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960—1988). Basquiat: Boom for Real brings together an outstanding selection of more than 100 works, many never before seen in the UK. (Until January 28th 2018)

Basquiat: Boom for Real

Black Sound – Black Sound tells the story of 100 years of musical creativity and DIY ingenuity. Black British music has migrated from the margins to re-master the mainstream. This exhibition celebrates the pioneers that made it happen – the players, the promoters, the producers and the punters that changed Britain’s cultural history. (Until November 4th)

Africa on the Square – This popular event continues to grow with over 25,000 attending last year as it celebrates African arts and culture. You can expect another fantastic line-up of entertainment including live music, dancing and a talent show. Plus an African market, food stalls, fashion show and lots of fun stuff for kids. (October 14th)

Africa On The Square

The UK Black Business Show – The show will highlight the achievements and contributions black businesses have made to the economy. Attendees will gain cutting-edge insight and advice in entrepreneurship, leadership, soft skills and cultural development from some of the UK’s leading black business owners.

NorthEast

Three Days… a Queen, a Prince and a ‘King’ – A display celebrating 40 years since World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Muhammad Ali visited South Shields, featuring images and objects from his visit. (Until December 16th)

NorthWest

Black History Month
Lubaina Himid

Lubaina Himid: Meticulous Observations and Naming the Money features works selected by Lubaina from the Arts Council Collection, alongside 20 figures from her major installation Naming the Money.

The full installation Naming the Money was gifted by the artist to the International Slavery Museum. It addresses how Europe’s wealthy classes spent their money and flaunted their power in the 18th and 19th centuries, by using enslaved African men and women. (Until March 2018)

Ink and Blood –  a curator-led tour of our fascinating exhibition Ink and blood: stories of abolition, which brings together iconic documents and rare objects to explore the stories of those affected by abolition (the ending of slavery) and later freedom. (October 19th)

 SouthWest

Black Ballet – In this latest mixed bill, Artistic Director Cassa Pancho commissions bold choreography once more, blending the classical and contemporary, narrative and abstract, for her ballet company comprising British and international dancers of black and Asian descent.

 

Check out the other BHM @30 events at blackhistorymonth.org.uk

 

 

by Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson

IG @thebusyafrican

 

/

22 Black Owned Businesses in the UK

Here it is! Our third list of Black Owned Businesses in the UK! As usual, we’re delighted to find out that so many amazing Black owned businesses exist across the pond.

 

Black Owned Businesses in the UK

Detola and Geek offers African inspired handmade fabric lampshades, cushions & other home decor products.

 

Jamaican Patty Co. offers simple takeaway for traditional Jamaican patties, plus soups, coffee, juice and imported cakes.

Black Owned Businesses

Elizabeth’s Cake Emporium creates amazing cakes that dazzle the eye and the taste buds. The company has a prestigious list of clients including royalty, celebrities, TV shows, five-star hotels and glamorous West End stores.

Black Owned Businesses

 

Momineral Mineral Makeup is specifically formulated for dark skin to even the skin tone, provide nourishment and protection while enhancing natural beauty.

Brown coconut oil offers Handmade organic brown coconut oil.

Sunu Ker creates 100% natural, plant-based beauty products and handmade accessories inspired by African beauty.

The Wild Peanut makes flavoured gourmet peanut butter with no preservatives and no additives.

Black Owned Businesses

Ebony Status delivers fresh Caribbean fruits and vegetables to your door.

Kelechnekoff Studio offers a range of pole fitness and twerk lessons.

 

New Beacon Books is the UK’s longest running independent book store specialising in African Caribbean literature, cards and artwork.

Jamaican Valley produces and distributes blends of Jamaican herbs and spices.

INOIR is trend in fashion designed for a lounge athletic aesthetic that is worn in other settings, casual or social occasions.

Afrocenchix blends natural and organic ingredients with expertise to make hair care as simple as possible.

Moor Hair is a beauty supply store that offers hair and skin care products with a natural twist.

Ayannas offers classic Jamaican dishes in a modern and elegant environment.

Nia Ballerina has designed a children’s musical jewelry box with a Black ballerina.

Nice Nails Baby is a nail salon that provides fabulous nails, 3D nail designs, great waxing, beautiful tinting, and stunning eye.

 

Me by Amma Gyan produces handmade pouffes, bags, purses, and leather jewelry for men and women.

Subscribe and Follow SHOPPE BLACK on Facebook, Instagram &Twitter


 Get your SHOPPE BLACK Apparel!

/

Black Owned Footwear Brand Blends British and Jamaican Culture

Uptown Yardie is a Black owned footwear brand that makes you stop and stare. Ever since we discovered this brand, we’ve been in awe of their bold and unique styles.

We decided to chat with the owners, husband and wife team, Rohan and Natasha Clarke to find out more about their brand.

black owned footwear
Rohan and Natasha Clarke, owners of Uptown Yardie

What inspired you to start this business?

The designer behind the brand is Rohan Clarke. He trained at the London School of Fashion Cordwainers and had worked for several shoe companies. But the one thing that frustrated him was being told that his designs couldn’t be made.

black owned footwear

He knew that this wasn’t true because not only does he design shoes he also makes shoes. He was disillusioned, but his wife convinced him that he could do this himself and so with some gentle persuasion this husband and wife team started Uptown Yardie.

black owned footwear

How did you come up with the name Uptown Yardie and what does it mean?

Uptown Yardie is a British company inspired by Jamaican heritage, selling a lifestyle, captured through shoes and clothes.

The name is inspired by a Bob Marley quotation “me ah bring downtown uptown” meaning he is bringing the man dem from the ghetto to where he was living uptown at the time. The original uptown yardie is someone who comes from the more affluent parts of Jamaica.

For us using the term Uptown Yardie is about reclaiming the name from a negative association to a positive. To the true meaning of the word “yard” which to a Jamaican means home. For instance, “nowhere nah better dan yard” mean nowhere is better than home.

black owned footwear

What separates your brand from the numerous other shoe brands in the market?

The Uptown Yardie brand creates for a progressive man or woman who does not follow fashion. We design for people like us who have a passion and love for things that are well crafted and that has more longevity than one season.

We believe that a shoe should have a distinctive and individual character that is shaped through the ideas and vision of its designer and craftsman who are united and driven by a common goal, a common spirit to create the most beautiful shoes.

Each piece has been carefully selected by our team to ensure it embodies the qualities of style, elegance, and exclusivity synonymous with the Uptown Yardie brand whilst reflecting the unique philosophies of design and craftsmanship for which Rohan Clarke the designer is renowned.

What has been the most challenging and most rewarding part about owning your own business?

The most challenging part of owning your own business is realizing that you have to have many strings to your bow, you have to be more than a creative to make it work.

What we mean by that is the creativity of what we do is our passion but we need to be able to market what we do, we need to be able to understand how to maximize our online sales, we need to be social media experts.

All of these things take skill, expertise, and time. Juggling this, whilst maintaining creative time is a constant challenge. But we are learning and we are pulling in people who do have that expertise.

The most rewarding thing about owning your own business is loving what you do, seeing your passion come into fruition. In the past when we’ve worked for other people they want to be safe, they want to follow the crowd, it stifles innovation.

black owned footwear

Where do you see your brand in 5 years?

That it has an appeal to a diverse audience across the globe. Although the brand is inspired by our Jamaican heritage, Uptown Yardie is created to appeal to people that think outside the box.

It is a brand that crosses boundaries, ages, and races. Ultimately if we can do that and make the brand self-sufficient that’s where we want to be in 5 years’ time.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Be prepared to put the work in. Owning your own business is not a 9-5. The other important aspect is to know your business inside out, costings, business forecasts, risks, and opportunities.

If you’re a creative, this isn’t the sexy stuff but it’s vital if you want what you to do to be more than a hobby. Ask yourself “If I was standing in front of a group of potential investors and they put me on the spot.

black owned footwear

How confident could I answer questions about my product and my business model?” If you’d struggle, then there is some homework to do. We did it, wrote a business plan with costings and forecasts. It was long, believe you me but we are more confident about exactly how much it costs to manufacture every aspect of a shoe, what the wholesale cost is, and the retail price based on a formula.

black owned footwear
Besides the above, if you have a dream and want to do it. Go for it. Don’t listen to the naysayers. You never know your idea might be the next big thing.

-Tony O. Lawson


 

Related: Black Owned Men’s Shoe brands

Follow SHOPPE BLACK on Facebook and Instagram (@shoppeblack)