We are excited to announce the inaugural cohort of Immerse founders!
Bubble’s Immerse pre-accelerator for Black and Afro-Latinx founders launched in September 2020 and hundreds of great founders applied. These ten founders stood out because of their passion for solving problems, understanding of their market, and need for a product that they can bring to their eagerly waiting customers.
70% of cohort members identify as female; our founders span geographies including Ghana, Canada, and U.S. states like Texas, Maryland, and Michigan. They’re building businesses across industries, including fintech, health & wellness, beauty, diversity & inclusion, travel, international shipping, recruiting, and consumer tech.
Over the next three months, they will be building their products in the Immerse pre-accelerator to present at Demo Day on December 16, 2020.
Meet the Immerse Founders
Inclusivity in tech is about more than race and gender - it’s about broadening the scope of where great entrepreneurship comes from. Innovative Black founders come from all over the country, and we are proud to highlight these 10 incredible entrepreneurs.
Tosin Bosede is a tech veteran with over 10 years of experience working at stealth startups as well as at companies like Twitter and LinkedIn. Through her own personal experiences and firsthand accounts from families of color, Bosede realized that families have few tools to inform geographic moves. It’s far too difficult to determine if a neighborhood is a good fit, leaving many to either make life changing moves with little to no information or not move at all, forgoing career and educational opportunities.
And thus, LocalPoint was born. LocalPoint is meant to simplify the neighborhood search for families of color, allowing them to gain an understanding of a neighborhood's cultural identity. Users will be able to apply specific filters in their neighborhood search (factors like ethnicity, profession, age of child, and ability) to find a community that meets their family’s specific needs. Users would be able to join discussions in as many neighborhoods as they’d like, eliminating the need to already “know somebody” to get much needed context. What would normally take months or even years in person, can now be achieved in moments from anywhere.
With Bubble, Tosin will take LocalPoint from a Facebook group to a fully fledged MVP, with the goal of making the transition to new neighborhoods easier for families of color.
Garry Johnson has been passionate about entrepreneurship since his adolescent years, working alongside his mom in their small family business. His interests blossomed into a strong passion, fueled by bustling tech communities from coast to coast. During Johnson’s travels, he realized how many small businesses and employees lacked financial awareness. It became clear that despite the influx of financial tools, people in low-income communities weren’t getting the resources they needed to move upward.
That’s when Johnson decided to create KnowCapp, a platform that will offer financial health and financial literacy to individuals, schools, and businesses. Individuals in need of financial advice could use the platform to find out what financial service is right for them based on what they’re preparing for (retirement, home purchases, college savings, etc). Businesses and institutions on the other hand would be able to use KnowCapp to further support their employees’ financial health.
Financial health is a significant issue for all of us, especially those of us in low-income communities, and Garry is working to solve it.
Like so many Black people around the world, D’azhane struggled with her haircare journey when she ventured out on her own. Everyone’s hair is different, but D’azhane noticed that there just weren’t enough resources to help people with kinky hair. The University of Austin graduate opted to create a solution along with her co-founder Ariel Lee: Remane.
Remane will offer data-driven hair care suggestions, regimens, and tips for Black women and men with kinky-curly hair. Gone are the days when those with curly hair would have to scour multiple stores in search of the right products. With Remane, Black and Brown users will be empowered to confidently manage their curls.
Remane’s platform will create a unique profile for users based on their hair’s details, lifestyle, concerns, etc. From there users will receive a roadmap of sorts that offers guidance on hair-care treatments and specific products that will work best. Your hair care regimen will even connect with your calendars!
Cook has been making some noise at incubators across the country, and was recently named to Austin Inno Business Journal’s 25 under 25 list.
Nichole Bestman’s experience in the non-profit and shipping arenas positioned her to take on her biggest task yet. During her time working in shipping, Bestman noticed the outrageous international shipping costs in Liberia. Furthermore, she saw how small textile/fashion businesses who couldn’t pay the exorbitant prices were coming up with a solution of their own. Businesses relied on frequent travelers to deliver their products internationally in return for discounts, and it was happening all across Asia, Latin America, and Africa. But with a lack of guardrails and infrastructure, both the small business and the traveler suffered at times. That’s when Bestman had the idea for Shipfair, a two-way solution that makes international shipping affordable for business and helps travelers monetize their extra luggage capacity.
As a more frequent alternative to existing social shipping networks, Shipfair will make the traveler’s time worthwhile by offering actual pay, and will make the shipping process more dependable for the businesses involved. And best of all, the process would be a fraction of the cost of traditional shipping fees.
Shipfair will make it easier and more affordable for global fashion brands to ship their products to other countries. With the introduction of a formal structure and an MVP, Bestman has the chance to reinvent international parcel shipping and offer financial stability and economic opportunities to the communities that need it the most.
Meet Theophile Ossinga, a Ghana native who has his sights set on accelerating Africa’s economic development. Although it may sound like a massive undertaking, Ossinga grew up hearing that his generation would lead monumental change, and that’s exactly what he plans to do with Ajuma.
Ajuma acts as a talent marketplace that connects global businesses with some of Africa’s brightest tech talent. After talks with a few Canadian entrepreneurs and members of the tech community, he saw a clear need for experienced tech talent on the employer side that could be remedied by talented African workers in search of opportunity.
On the surface, Ajuma will bridge the gap between international companies and the African tech community, but Ossinga’s ultimate goal is to elevate and improve African communities with an influx of resources and developments, courtesy of Ajuma opportunities.
Even without a software product, Ossinga has already piloted trial contracts with notable Toronto firms, and has a lengthy waitlist of clients who are eager to use the service.
Theo is looking forward to using his Bubble MVP product to accelerate customer growth and work towards making Ajuma an innovation lab, where African innovators and entrepreneurs can network, offer resources, and build the products that will make a difference.
Dior Sarr, an experienced health care veteran, noticed that premium health and wellness care was exclusive to those who could afford it. More often than not, women of color are excluded. That’s why Sarr wants to make health care and wellness accessible to all, including marginalized women and mothers.
But how does Sarr plan to do that? By digitizing healthcare education. We’ve all seen the 50-year old education pamphlets in our local hospitals, and we all know how ineffective they can be. That’s why Sarr is bringing a much-need facelift to healthcare resources, that can also be accessed with ease by anyone.
The platform will include classes and instructional videos on wellness, pregnancy, post partum, parenting, and more. Beyond education, Sarr understands the importance of community support in a woman’s journey. That’s why the platform will also act as a means for mothers to not only learn, but also engage with and support one another. While she is starting with issues most relevant to mothers, Sarr plans to rapidly expand to other areas of women's health such as hormonal health and menopause, thus supporting women in their entire journey.
Sarr hopes to build an inclusive platform, with a personal mission to address and minimize health disparities faced by Black and Brown women.
An experienced business veteran, Kwaku Osei has always wanted to help people maximize their financial potential. Osei noticed the overwhelming desire for everyday people to invest locally within their communities. The one thing standing in their way was access, but with Osei’s Cooperative Capital, that’s about to change.
Cooperative Capital allows community members to come together, aggregate their money, and invest in the development of their own communities.
Through Cooperative Capital, community members can invest for both the short & long term in small businesses that need an influx of capital, real estate projects, community center developments and more. Osei is essentially rewriting the rules of investing, empowering communities and its members to literally be the change they want to see.
Christina Strong-Regan is a marketing extraordinaire by day, an author in her spare time, and an innovative entrepreneur by night. Christina wants to make it easier to find a roommate with Shack Buddy™. If you’ve never had a nightmare roomie experience, consider yourself lucky. For those of us that have, Shack Buddy™ may just be the blessing we’ve needed.
Shack Buddy’s main goal is to improve the roommate search experience, making it more efficient and more effective. Shack Buddy tests for compatibility, institutes pre-screening measures, and facilitates a face-to-face meeting for potential roommates.
The beauty of Shack Buddy™ is that it truly works around the users’ needs such as eliminating time constraints in finding the right roommate at the right time.
The platform is still in its early stages, but with the help of Immerse, Shack Buddy™ is sure to take the roommate search by storm.
With over 1,000 flights under her belt and visits to 26 different countries, Jaki (pronounced Juh-kai) is a certified travel expert. She’s even been published by the likes of the Washington Post and Conde Naste Traveler. But when she isn’t traveling, Jaki is cozying up to her eco-friendly wellness and clean skincare products.
With the combination of her travel and cosmetics experience, it should come as no surprise that Jaki has her sights set on improving health and wellness for women travelers that are on the go.
Through her travels, Jaki found that women face extensive challenges when it comes to maintaining their health and wellness; including things like anxiety, skin dryness, bloating, and insomnia. The need for women to have products and resources that would enhance their wellness while traveling was abundant, and Jaki’s here to fill it.
Jaki’s platform provides on the go wellness regiments in the form of an app, as well as solution-oriented physical products that can be used in tandem with the app's wellness teachings. Lessons will include things like wellness practices and self-care rituals, and instructions on using the associated products.
Jasmin Hinnant, a DEI, people operations, and higher education professional, is well versed on the biases and microaggressions that people of color, women and LGBTQIA+ experience in the workplace. Many employees don’t feel comfortable reporting their negative experiences due to fear of retaliation. While companies large and small fail to create safe environments for their workers, a number of talented professionals are leaving these companies for greener pastures - or at least an inclusive workplace.
That’s why Hinnant created Sojo Signal, a platform that allows workers to confidentially communicate their experiences in the workplace, and allows businesses to identify common problem areas that need to be improved before employee's leave. One of the most exciting prospects about Sojo Signal is its potential to cultivate a community. The platform can allow POC and other underrepresented groups to safely speak about microaggressions with others that are experiencing similar discrimination anonymously and across industries.
Jasmin’s background in DEI, people operations, and higher education could prove to be an exciting combination in reworking DEI efforts as a whole.
Bubble is a leader in the no-code movement. Bubble offers a powerful point-and-click web editor and cloud hosting platform that allows users to build fully customizable web applications and workflows, ranging from simple prototypes to complex marketplaces, SaaS products, and more. Over 600,000 users are currently building and launching businesses on Bubble - many have gone on to participate in top accelerator programs, such as Y Combinator, and even raise $365M in venture funding. Bubble is more than just a product. We are a strong community of builders and entrepreneurs that are united by the belief that everyone should be able to create technology.