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 September 2021 that feature traditionally underrepresented founders.
CurlMix is a beauty brand focused on selling natural hair care products catered to the Black community. It aims to be the first Black-owned personal and household care empire and has already launched a second hair care brand called 4C Only. The company has generated $13 million in lifetime revenue and received ample positive press for its products. Kimberly Lewis and Timothy Lewis founded CurlMix in June 2017.
Deals to Watch
Cybolt (raise closed)
Mexico-based Cybolt has created a cybersecurity platform with comprehensive offerings. The platform houses IT security services, forensics, resilience management, back office and applications support, cyber intelligence, and more. The company is preparing to expand into the US and Europe. Mauricio Rioseco founded Cybolt in May 2019.
Mycroft AI is a privacy-focused voice assistant platform that includes on-device software. The company sold out its first-generation smart speakers and has received $1 million in pre-orders for its second-generation devices, which are currently in beta testing. Mycroft has received support from several accelerators such as Techstars and 500 Startups. Michael Lewis, Joshua Montgomery, and Kris Adair founded Mycroft AI in February 2016.
Hexanika is an AI-driven software platform that automates data management and regulatory compliance for banks and financial institutions. The company’s value proposition is to streamline the compliance process and save banks’ time and money. After launching its platform at the end of 2019, Hexanika has secured multiple big-name customers — including Citibank and RSM — and achieved profitability. Yogesh Pandit founded Hexanika in 2014.
Troop Beverage is a female-led, ready-to-drink cocktail brand made from real spirits. Its goal is to build a community of customers who enjoy premium ready-to-drink cocktails. Its products are gluten-free and vegan and do not contain any artificial flavors or preservatives. Founder and CEO Caroline DesRosiers has built a brand that yielded a respectable 220% revenue growth.
Denver-based Colorado Sake is brewing traditional Japanese rice wines with an American twist. Its sake is made from locally-sourced ingredients, lightly pasteurized, and undiluted. The brand offers a range of four distinct flavors, all clearly labeled in English and infused with fresh new ingredients. Since its initial opening in 2018, the brewery has expanded to a 14,000-square foot location and has become profitable. William Stuart and Heather Dennis founded Colorado Sake in 2016.
Breezy Swimwear is a direct-to-consumer (DTC) swimsuit company selling affordable, size-inclusive, fashionable swimsuits. The company makes money from both one-off swimsuit purchases and recurring monthly memberships. More than 40,000 customers in total have bought a swimsuit, and Breezy has 5,000 active subscription members. Kris Izquierdo and Tanya Barahona founded Breezy Swimwear in May 2020.
Health Cost IQ is providing healthcare management software for medical management companies, public school districts, health systems, and other organizations. The Health Data IQ software uses predictive models and analytics to identify risk and provide solutions. Since launch in 2018, 1,500 companies and organizations have been brought onto the platform. Jude Odu and Dr. Lawrence Lubbers founded Health Cost IQ in 2018.
Innovative Eyewear (raise closed)
Innovative Eyewear sells bluetooth audio glasses that enable users to listen to music, talk on the phone, and use voice assistants to perform smartphone functions hands-free. Innovative Eyewear is also developing a social media app called Vyrb. In the same hands-free spirit as the Lucyd glasses, Vyrb will allow users to post using voice commands, send voice messages, listen to their feed, and more. Innovative Eyewear was founded by Harrison Gross, David Eric Cohen, and Konrad Dabrowski in 2019.
Sparrow offers a golf coaching app that leverages artificial intelligence to help golfers decipher and improve their golf swings. Golfers film their swing with the Sparrow app, which instantly delivers precise feedback on many key elements of the swing and suggests drills to refine those skills. The company is backed by three professional golfers and a number of other well-credentialed investors and is led by a deeply experienced team. Joe Chin, Samuel Pigott, and Todd Eaglin founded Sparrow in May 2018.
Skycart hopes to be at the forefront of drone technology for both humanitarian and delivery applications. The company has spent six years developing drone technology, pivoting in 2018 to its current objective: distributing lifesaving medical products to remote areas in Africa. Skycart’s drones can carry much more payload than most other drones and can make multiple deliveries on one mission. Simon Yuen founded Skycart in January 2015.
SanMelix Laboratories manufactures skincare and wound care products made from buckwheat honey, an all-natural and antioxidant-rich alternative to traditional ingredients. The company’s buckwheat honey moisturizer is already live on Amazon, and SanMelix’s primary BEECure M wound dressing will hopefully receive FDA clearance in the near future. Diana Sabacinski founded SanMelix Laboratories in January 2017.
Cybolt (raise closed)
Cybolt aims to offer a unified cybersecurity solution to businesses. In order to give consumers easy access to well-rounded digital security, Cybolt is offering a comprehensive suite of cybersecurity services. We reached out to co-founder and Chairman Mauricio Rioseco to learn more about the company’s goals and origins.
Inahsi Naturals provides plant-based or plant-derived curly hair products. On top of promoting hair health, these products are designed to embrace naturally curly hair types instead of simply taming them. We reached out to co-founder and CEO Rhonda Marshall in order to hear about how she personally reaches out to customers and her first-hand experience as a minority founder.
Skycart hopes to be at the forefront of drone technology for both humanitarian and delivery applications. The company’s current objective is distributing lifesaving medical products to remote areas in Africa. We reached out to company founder, Chief Executive Officer, and Technical Officer Simon Yuen to learn about how he developed a passion for aircraft and why he decided to use drones to save lives.