By Krysten Brenlla
The FIU-Venture Miami Opportunity Program recently selected nine female business owners of color for its second cohort of the inaugural program, housed in FIU’s Office of Engagement.
The 14-week accelerator program, launched with support from JPMorgan Chase and in partnership with the City of Miami’s Venture Miami team, is designed to provide targeted access and support to female business owners of color in South Florida – a significantly underrepresented group in the tech and innovation industries.
Since launching its inaugural cohort this year, the FIU-Venture Miami Opportunity Program has helped accelerate three founders to participate in other programs, such as TechStars and BlackAmbition Prize, and has helped three other founders raise millions in venture capital and pre-seed funding.
“ Any opportunity we get to demystify and paint the hard truths about what it takes to be successful in business and raise venture funding serves the whole ecosystem well,” said Kenasha Paul, program director of the FIU-Venture Miami Opportunity Program.
Meet the cohort below (descriptions provided by the FIU-Venture Miami Opportunity Program):
- Astrositas started off as an Instagram profile to help users understand and improve their personal relationships with astrology. Now, Astrositas is creating a parenting guide app as a tool for parents to understand their children on a deeper level using their astrological signs. The startup is led by its founder, Angelica Pierini.
- Chelle’s Cutie Pies is an online e-commerce plant-based bakery that sells wholesale, 100% vegan and gluten-free Japanese white sweet potato pies. The company hopes to scale their online e-commerce business to facilitate local, regional, and national wholesale distribution. Chelle’s Cutie Pies is led by its founder, Michelle Collins.
- Hactopia is a learning management platform that provides online learners with interactive content in STEM, virtual reality, the metaverse, and AWS certification. Hactopia hopes to continue enhancing its online program so that learners can build a sustainable career in technology. The company is led by its founder, Kennashka DeSilva.
- Hy-Lo News, short for hyper-local news, launched in 2015 as a news source for Black communities in South Florida. Now, Hy-Lo News covers stories of the Black and Brown communities that are not typically covered in mainstream media. The company is led by Janéy Tate, a FIU graduate and founder.
- Keeyahri is a shoe label company with the goal of uplifting women through tastefully designed and unique shoes. The company plans on designing and producing shoes using 3D-print technologies in the near future, and also plans to launch more products, like handbags, garments, perfumes, and home accessories. Keeyahri is led by its founder and designer Keya Martin.
- Metadigm is a mobile and web software company that provides Web3 memberships and tickets for small and medium-sized businesses that sell direct to consumers. With Metadigm, businesses can use NFTs and sell them on a Web3 marketplace or dedicated white-label landing page for minting. The company is led by Shirley Lopez, co-founder and vice president of corporate development, and Daniel Lowe, co-founder and CEO.
- MUJUMIER is an independently owned e-commerce site that uses certified QR codes, or tracking devices, to sell unique and authentic fashion/accessory pieces created by renowned and up-and-coming designers. The products are tracked through the supply chain using tracking devices to ensure integrity. MUJUMIER is led by its founder, Crissan James (Mu Naju).
- Pressy is a mobile and web-based party-planning application that enables users to plan parties and celebrations easily. Users simply create an online profile of the type of help needed for their event, and Pressy will match the users’ needs with carefully curated experience packages and approved vendors. Pressy is led by its founder, Erdina Francillon.
- World Wide Telemedicine is an online scheduling system that enables international consultations between healthcare professionals and clients. The company offers affordable telehealth options and is available to specialists and patients across the globe, ultimately increasing global healthcare accessibility. The company is led by its founder, Faddy Abreu.
The founders will showcase their growth and businesses to investors and community members at the FIU-Venture Miami Opportunity Program Demo Day on Dec. 8, 2022.
Read More: FIU-Venture Miami Opportunity Program launches Cohort II