Offers an automated savings platform and social network for African American Millennials, charging users a subscription fee to extra features, including financial education materials.
Breaux Capital isn't the first business idea founders Derrius Quarles, Ras Asan, and Brian Williams have had. It's just the first one they themselves needed. After being deflected by investors during a previous company's fundraise, they realized just how much race still plays a role in America--particularly in matters of high finance. "Several times throughout the process, we got feedback that ours was the best pitch they had ever heard," recalls Asan, noting that they were nevertheless rejected more than 25 times. "We got that language so much that it was clear to us that, as young, black male entrepreneurs, the experience of building a company would be very different," echoes Quarles.
So in 2016, the three decided to launch their own platform to connect young black men and help them to achieve their financial goals. Their website and mobile app, Breaux Capital, offers a free automated savings platform and social network, charging an onboarding and annual subscription fee of between $9 and $19 to users who want access to more features, such as financial education materials. Over the past 12 months, the company has attracted more than 1,000 users, booking $18,000 in 2017 revenue. It plans to notch $120,000 by the end of 2018.
Although Breaux Capital faces steep competition in the personal finance sector--including from apps such as Mint, which sold to Intuit in 2009 and now counts more than 20 million customers--CTO Quarles says he's convinced that his community, by virtue of being by and for black men, is unique. "We knew that this is part of a bigger problem, which is the inequality that [black people] face," he says. --Zoë Henry
Offers email marketing software for online creators, including authors, makers, podcasters, photographers, YouTubers, teachers, and artists.
ConvertKit is an email marketing tool for professional creators, that features powerful automation and segmentation tools to help you earn a living online.
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A voice, video, and text chat platform for gamers that works on both desktop and mobile devices.
San Francisco-based Discord is the brainchild of Stanislav Vishnevskiy and Jason Citron. Launched in 2015 as a platform where gamers can chat with one another, it has grown from just 20 users to more than 90 million worldwide. Its online platform is similar to social media in that it helps you connect with friends and strangers over shared interests, be it a videogame like Minecraft, or cryptocurrency and anime. You can create communities akin to Reddit's subreddits--chat rooms Discord calls servers--where you can connect with others through voice, text, or video. Joining and creating your own server is free, although in early 2017 the company introduced a paid subscription that offers some digital goodies like custom GIFs and a bigger file-size limit for $5 a month. Its popularity has attracted some superstar gamers like Ninja, a well-known Fortnite player who recently used the platform to chat with hip-hop artist Drake as they played together online. Discord currently has 100 employees, and it has raised more than $100 million from prestigious venture capital firms including Benchmark and Greylock Capital. It is not profitable yet. --Guadalupe Gonzalez
A telehealth company that provides speech therapy, occupational therapy, and mental health and tele-audiology services to individuals in the U.S. and around the world.
Technology is not only improving communication; it's also improving how we communicate. Exhibit A is DotCom Therapy. The three-year-old company was founded by two speech therapists, Emily Purdom and Rachel Robinson, after they realized they could provide services to children in remote areas more efficiently via telehealth. Purdom was spending two to three hours a day driving to rural schools to treat kids with speech therapy, while Robinson's wait list at an outpatient neurology hospital was nearing three months because of high demand. "You can imagine that if you have a child with disabilities or someone who suffered from a stroke, you want them to see a professional right away," says Robinson.
DotCom Therapy took in roughly $2 million in revenue in 2017, and it recently became profitable, after raising just $250,000 from friends and family. The founders now have 103 employees, serving patients in 28 U.S. states and seven countries. "We want therapy to be available to everyone, everywhere, and we take that pretty seriously," says Purdom. "When we look at our target market, it's not just the U.S.--it's global.” --Brit Morse
Provides sustainability consulting services for movie and TV show productions.
Emellie O'Brien sorts trash for a living on movie and television sets--but, no, she's not a garbage collector. She's the founder of Brooklyn-based startup Earth Angel, which helps productions become more sustainable by educating crews on best practices, using eco-friendly products on set, minimizing waste, and tracking carbon footprint usage. By adopting these practices, 29-year-old O'Brien says, productions can save $60,000 to $100,000 on waste bills and make a lasting impact. For instance, a scene from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was shot in an area that was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Her efforts lead to the production crew planting new trees and fixing up the public benches for the scene. (The producers saved about $400,000 incorporating sustainable practices, according to O'Brien.) The four-employee startup, founded in 2015, "greens" about 10 productions annually. Earth Angel generated $250,000 in revenue last year, she says. While O'Brien admits the company is targeting a niche market, it has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry: Director Darren Aronofsky employed her for movies like Noah--even tweeting out her sustainability reports. Earth Angel also worked on the sets of blockbuster films like Black Panther, Ghostbusters, and The Avengers. --Michelle Cheng