February 2021 Underrepresented Founders - KingsCrowd

March 2, 2021

February 2021 Underrepresented Founders

At KingsCrowd, we want to be part of the democratization of startup investing. We also want to do what we can to uplift underrepresented founders. To those goals, we have put together all the KingsCrowd deals and founder profiles from February 2021 that feature traditionally underrepresented founders.


Deals to Watch

Oscilla Power

Oscilla Power is developing energy conversion equipment to harness the power of ocean waves. The Triton, the company’s flagship wave energy converter, has undergone years of concept development, product validation, and laboratory and small-scale ocean trials to test its viability. Balky Nair, Ph.D. and Rahul Shendure founded the company in 2009. The crowdfunding veterans are opening another round to complete a major milestone, construction of its first commercial-scale product –Triton C system. 


Neutral Deals

eZdia

eZdia is a content conversion platform that helps retailers and brands to optimize their content to increase online revenue. Deepak Goyal and Rahul Shah founded eZdia in 2008 and have raised over $680,000 since inception. eZdia has over 150 customers, including Amazon, Walmart, and Alibaba. The company generated a $3.9 million revenue in 2019 and has lifetime revenues of over $20 million.

Pit Liquor

Pit Liquor creates deodorant sourced from whiskey and vodka. The pre-profit company has partnered with wholesalers, including Nordstrom, Faire, and more, and reported a three-times year-over-year revenue growth since 2017. Pit Liquor was founded by a husband-and-wife team and offers innovative products well-suited for consumers’ growing interest in all-natural deodorants.

Solutions Vending

Solutions Vending International has created an automated retail technology platform for vending machines and kiosks. The platform aims to be the future of retail, especially surrounding highly regulated products. Solutions Vending International was founded by Dawn Dickson in 2012. To date, Solutions Vending International has serviced major clients including Procter & Gamble, a global winemaker, and a premier cannabis shop in the Netherlands.

SnapDNA

SnapDNA aims to solve the global challenge of food safety with its fast pathogen testing solution. David Medin, Tom Jacobs and Veronica De Guzman founded SnapDNA in 2011. SnapDNA has the first self-contained, on-site analysis designed to replace all food pathogen lab tests. Results are available in 20 minutes and hundreds of samples can be analyzed per day. Unlike lab tests, SnapDNA provides quantitative data to reduce the time to find contaminations from months to days, enabling predictive analytics to help prevent outbreaks.

Mycocycle

Mycocycle uses a patent-pending technology based on mycelium, the underground part of mushrooms, to digest petroleum-based toxic chemicals, and convert waste into reusable byproducts. Joanne Rodriguez founded Mycocycle in June 2020. Mycocycle develops sustainable value streams and impacts people, the planet, and profit by removing carbon from waste products. The process is efficient and follows a closed-loop supply chain and is a wonderful way to support minority founders and a social impact company.

X Wine Railroad

Initially founded in 2016, X Wine Railroad was built on the basis of a simple idea. Its mission is to provide tourists the opportunity to take an opulent railcar trip from Los Angeles to scenic Los Olivos. The 351-mile journey takes place along the California coastline and treats its visitors to a full day of food and fun. For a ticket price of $399, X Wine Railroad treats its customers to breakfast, dinner, wine tasting, and a roundtrip journey. The company has plans to establish similar trips to all five of the state’s wine-producing regions, including a Sonoma line and a Santa Clara Valley line. 

Village Juice

Village Juice Co. is the latest fast casual restaurant concept attempting to serve nutritious juices, smoothies, and bowls to health-conscious consumers nationwide. Founded in 2014, Village Juice started humbly out of food trucks and farmers markets. Today, Village Juice operates at least four locations. The company plans to expand rapidly to 100+ locations in coming years thanks to a franchise agreement with Aramark. If Village Juice can leverage its franchisement to continue its impressive year-over-year revenue growth from 2015-2019, it may grow to rival the likes of Chop’t and Freshii as a well-known national chain. 


Founder Profiles

Dashible

Dashible wants to enable all small businesses to offer deals and coupons whenever they would like, with the terms that work best for them. The Dashible app provides a key connection point between consumers and small businesses — strengthening the patronage of local companies while providing consumers with deal suggestions that are based on their personal preferences. We spoke to Dashible co-founder and CEO Marvin Johnson to learn where the inspiration for the company came from and where he sees it going.


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About: Olivia Strobl

Olivia comes to KingsCrowd with a background in venture capital and technology. She spent time at Glasswing Ventures, an AI-focused venture fund in Boston, before joining the KingsCrowd team. There she helped develop machine learning algorithms for the opportunity qualification of preseed and seed-stage startup companies. Prior to her time at Glasswing, Olivia worked in a lab studying the neural correlates of attention. She holds a degree in Neuroscience from Wellesley College.

View Olivia Strobl's articles

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