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