Five BIPOC-led startups will pitch in front of values-aligned investors in Las Vegas, NV on May 15, 2023, for a chance at funding; last 3 year’s event spurred $1.2M+ in investments

Investors report capitalizing multicultural and women-owned businesses at 80 percent less than businesses overall, according to a report by Morgan Stanley. Five minority-led startups from across the United States don’t want to be a part of this grim statistic – and with the opportunity to pitch in front of 200 impact-driven investors on May 15, 2023 – won’t be. Meet the startups who today have been named finalists in the 2023 Founders of Color Showcase organized by a coalition/network of investors advocating for more capital to get into the hands of deserving diverse founders.

Five BIPOC-led startups will pitch in front of 200 investors in Las Vegas, NV on May 15, 2023, for a chance at funding. RSVP today!

Congrats to all 5 Founders of Color Showcase finalists:

  1. Femly | Co-Founder & CEO Arion Long | Baltimore, Maryland 
    • Organic period care for schools & restrooms
    • Femly is a minority woman-led period care company that’s based in Baltimore, MD. Femly believes in a future where period care is readily available and accessible to employees and visitors. Femly works directly with education, hospitality, corporate experience, and athletics leaders to increase access to organic pads and tampons through our free dispenser.
  2. | Co-Founder & CEO Chuka Ikokwu | Los Angeles, California
    • Solving the Diversity and Inclusion Problem in the Workforce 👩🏾‍💻👨🏾‍💻
    • Divercity ( is a diversity and inclusion measurement and recruiting platform that helps forward-thinking companies and HR professionals accurately measure and track their diversity breakdown to find and connect with diverse talent. Their mission is to demystify and solve the diversity hiring gap in the tech industry and to bring more equity and inclusion through a combination of community, relationships, and artificial intelligence technology.
  3. Agua Bonita | Co-Founder & CEO Kayla Castañeda | Hanford, California
    • The first healthy, ready-to-drink aguas frescas – in a convenient, beautiful can
    • Agua Bonita makes 100% real fruit aguas frescas out of rescued produce. Authentic recipes, women-owned, and all real ingredients, all the time.
  4. Sonavi Labs | Founder & CEO Ellington West | Baltimore, Maryland
    • The Sound of Life
    • Sonavi Labs is a medical device and software company dedicated to developing advanced telehealth technologies that will revolutionize the healthcare industry. Using AI technology to evolve traditional medical devices, Sonavi Labs’ aim is to make the work of physicians easier and more effective, in addition to giving the rest of the world affordable, user-friendly devices that can detect, monitor and possibly predict diseases. Sonavi Labs’ first device, FEELIX, will be an advanced digital stethoscope.
  5. Welfie | Founder & CEO Steven Moyo | San Diego, California
    • Community Schools | Health Education | Care Coordination | Health Fests | Whole School Health | School Health Consulting
    • Founded by two black doctors who grew tired of watching patients who looked like them die sicker and younger, Welfie engages families in their own health journeys and partners with schools and payers to ensure people get the health care they need. Welfie believes that schools are the hubs that hold our communities together and that kids are the world’s most powerful force for change.

Now in its fourth year, the Founders of Color Showcase is being organized by a coalition of aligned investors who are dedicated to accelerating capital opportunities for high-impact minority-founded startups.

“Thrilled to have been selected! Thank you for this incredible opportunity,” says Ellington West, CEO & Co-founder of Sonavi Labs.

Investors and the public are welcome to register to attend the free event that will take place at the Planet Hollywood hotel located at 3667 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV, from 5:30 to 5:45 p.m. PST. During the event, the founders will gain exposure to an audience of investors, funds, and angel groups that are accelerating capital opportunities for high-impact minority-founded startups. Since its inception, this event spurred nearly $1.2+ million in investments to BIPOC-led startups and organizers are optimistic for 2023.

The Founders of Color Showcase 2023 is a collab between a network of FOC advocate investors and the ACA (Angel Capital Association) to increase access to capital for founders. This year, founders will be pitching at a Founders of Color Showcase event on Monday, May 15, 5:30 – 6:45 pm in Las Vegas, NV and pitching a second time on the main stage of the ACA Summit in front of over 250 investors. Lastly, if there is investor interest, SPVs will be opened for multiple investors to invest together. The amazing co-hosts of this event help with networks, impact & connections: 

  1. Next Wave Impact 
  2. Kachuwa Impact Fund
  3. Stella
  4. Beta Boom
  5. Angel Capital Association
  6. Mission Driven Finance 
  7. The JumpFund 
  8. Founders First Capital Partners
  9. She Invests!

“Especially during these challenging economic times, networks of communities need to connect for a larger impact & connect capital in innovative ways,” said Dr. Silvia Mah, a member of Next Wave Impact’s investor network and founding member of Stella Angels. “By founders & funders participating in the Founders of Color Showcase, all are connecting capital with talent, opportunity with impact and thus, creating an inclusive ecosystem of impact innovators and impact investors to make systemic change in the early-stage capital markets.”

Why invest in Founders of Color & get involved in this event? Diversity drives innovation. When a diverse group of people comes together, they bring with them unique perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds. This can lead to more creative and innovative solutions to problems. By investing in founders of color, you can tap into cutting-edge innovations & forward-thinking founders. Secondly, we must address the racial wealth gap. There is a significant racial wealth gap in the United States, and investing in founders of color can help to address this issue. By providing funding and support to underrepresented entrepreneurs, you can help to create new pathways to wealth and economic opportunity. Thirdly, growing consumer markets drive economic prosperity. People of color represent a growing percentage of the U.S. population, and investing in founders who understand these markets can lead to significant financial returns. By supporting diverse entrepreneurs, you can gain access to these emerging markets. Lastly, promoting diversity and inclusion in the early-stage investment world can break down barriers and create a more equitable industry, moving economic metrics, changing patterns of startup success, and thus, driving more systemic change.

About Next Wave Impact

Based in Colorado, Next Wave Impact is an international 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. Learn more at and