First published on May 7, 2020, as a Linked In article by Dr. Silvia Mah

The founders demonstrate a strong pipeline of investible companies, which are diversified across sector, geography and stage

As a proud member of the Investment Committee of Next Wave Impact Fund, I am so pleased to announce our first Founders of Color Showcase, a virtual pitch competition with Founders of Color, men and women, who are thriving in the startups they are leading, all having a social impact. This is Social Innovation in action with founders who are breaking molds. They are advocating for & serving underserved communities, from farmers to special needs families & students, to incarcerated individuals.

Next Wave Impact, a global fund of 99 women investors, today announced the 10 finalists that will present their early-stage impact companies during Next Wave Impact’s inaugural Founders of Color Showcase on May 11, 2020. During the virtual event, each company’s founder will exhibit its product or service to an audience of investors, funds and angel groups.

“It is with great enthusiasm that we announce the Founders of Color Showcase finalists, who are bringing inventive and investible products and services to the market,” said Alicia Robb, CEO of Next Wave Impact. “We are proud to provide a platform for these founders, who overdeliver yet are underserved in the startup community. In fact, less than 5 percent of venture capital in the United States goes to companies with female, black or Latino CEOs, and we’re working to change this.”

Representing 8 different states, the FINALISTS were selected from among more than 100 applicants nationwide & include:

·      Martha Montoya of Agtools – Irvine, CA

·      Donnel Baird of BlocPower – New York, NY

·      Sonja Ebron of Courtroom5 – Durham, NC

·      Marcus Bullock of Flikshop – Washington D.C.

·      Andrew Hill of LiftEd – Brooklyn, NY

·      Erica Plybeah of MedHaul – Memphis, TN

·      Florence Furaha of Meetcaregivers – Auburndale, MA

·      Sona Shah of Neopenda – Chicago, IL

·      Shani Dowell of Possip – Nashville, TN

·      Christian Zimmerman of Qoins Technologies – Atlanta, GA

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Also during the event, the organization will honor its semifinalists, who with the finalists have earned a spot in Next Wave Impact’s upcoming six-month growth program. The semifinalists include:

·      Joshua Itano of CareCar – Newport Beach, CA

·      Adrian J (AJ) DeLeon of Innovare Social Innovation Partners – Chicago, IL

·      Ramona Ortega of My Money My Future – Brooklyn, NY

·      Sivan Cohen of Noria Water Technologies – Los Angeles, CA

·      Kayla Michele of PeduL – Newark, NJ

·      Frederick Hutson of Pigeonly – Las Vegas, NV

·      Janna Westbrook of Provider Pool – St. Louis, MO

·      Sunti Wathanacharoen of Pulmonaer Analytics – Kansas City, MO

·      Tinia Pina of Re-Nuble – New York, New York

·      Oscar Garcia of Uulala – Ontario, CA

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The virtual showcase is free to attend. To register, visit

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A event like this and the opportunity of funding cannot happen without dedicated sponsors for the Showcase. We would collectively like to THANK the sponsors for their alignment to providing resources & opportunities to founders of color & growing the impact investing space. Sponsors of the inaugural Founders of Color Showcase include Kauffman Foundation, Anchor Point Foundation, Next Wave Foundation, Grasshopper Bank, Carta, Loon Creek Capital, and Foley Hoag. Prize sponsors include Foley Hoag, Republic, Techstars, Beta Boom, Simple Startup, HRx Services and more.

About Next Wave Impact

Based in Boulder, Colorado, Next Wave Impact is a movement driving impact, diversity and inclusion in early-stage investing and the entrepreneurial ecosystem through its innovative learning-by-doing progressive fund model and other activities that drive capital to typically underserved entrepreneurs. Its current impact fund has 99 female investors, 25 of them women of color, and is led by an experienced investment committee of 10 women. The fund has just completed a portfolio of 15 companies, all led by women and/or people of color and diversified across industry, stage and geography. The organization is creating the next wave of educated and trained impact investors who are committed to a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem.

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JOIN US for the inaugural Founders of Color Showcase on Monday, May 11, 2020 at 12 pm PST / 3 pm EST. The founders are exceptional, the investors attending are eager to make an impact & invest, and the community is advocating for this group (and others!) of founders of color to thrive!

Register today: