27 black founders and investors to watch in 2019

By Kelly Knickerbocker
February 22, 2019 View comments (6)

Temiloluwa Adeniyi

Founder and CEO of Nopneu, a biotech startup developing a low-cost diagnostic test for pneumonia. Nopneu was the judges' pick at the 2018 Pitch Black event at SXSW.

Chris Bennett

Co-founder of social shopping service Soldsie and CEO of Wonderschool, which partners with educators to create childcare programs and preschools.

Nicholas Brathwaite

Executive managing director at WRV Capital, founding partner at Riverwood Capital, and board member at Calysta, a developer of sustainable industrial food and energy products.

KG Charles-Harris

Co-founder and CEO of Quarrio, a provider of automated data analysis, and co-founder and CEO of Emanio, a developer of predictive analytics software.

Cheryl Contee

CEO of consulting agency Do Big Things, co-founder and strategic advisor at Attentive.ly at Blackbaud, and board member at Chloe Capital.

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins

Co-founder and CEO of Promise, a legal software platform intended to provide a cost-effective, more humane alternative to pre-trial incarceration.

Muhga Eltigani

Co-founder and CEO of NaturAll Club, a monthly subscription service that delivers handmade hair products made with natural ingredients.

Kathryn Finney

Founder and managing director of digitalundivided, which helps lead black and latinx women through the startup pipeline.

Aaron Gillum

Senior vice president at 50 South Capital, co-founder and former managing partner at Caerus Investment Partners.

Melissa Hanna

Co-founder and CEO of Mahmee, a prenatal and postpartum care management platform that connects families to healthcare providers and offers personalized support.

Felecia Hatcher

Co-founder and executive director of Code Fever, co-founder of Black Tech Week and 2014 White House Champion of Change for STEM access and diversity.

Heather Hiles

Founder and managing partner at Imminent Equity, and founder and CEO at Pathbrite, which provides a cloud-based platform for building personal work portfolios.

Charles Hudson

Founder and managing partner at Precursor Ventures, and partner at Uncork Capital (formerly SoftTech VC), both seed-stage venture firms.

Karen Kerr

Executive managing director at GE Ventures, the corporate venture arm of General Electric, and former senior director at the USC Stevens Center for Innovation.

Mariah Lichtenstern

Founder of Cineshares, a platform that exhibits films for crowdfunding, and founding partner and managing director at impact-focused VC firm DiverseCity Ventures.

Marlon Nichols

Co-founder and managing partner of Cross Culture Ventures, an early-stage VC firm that invests in technology and consumer products.

Roshawnna Novellus

Founder and CEO of EnrichHER, which connects women entrepreneurs with lenders and was the audience pick at the 2018 Pitch Black event at SXSW.

Angelica Nwandu

Founder and CEO of The Shade Room, an Instagram-first media company covering entertainment
and celebrity news.

Robert Reffkin

Co-founder and CEO of real estate platform Compass and founder of America Needs You, which provides mentorship to first-generation college students.

Michael Seibel

CEO and partner at Y Combinator, former CEO of Justin.tv (now Twitch Interactive) and Y Combinator participant Socialcam.

Corey Thomas

An angel investor, and the president and CEO of Rapid7, a provider of security data and analytics solutions.

Laurence (Lo) Toney

Founding managing partner of Plexo Capital, which he incubated and spun out from GV, where he was a partner.

Zim Ugochukwu

Founder and former CEO of Travel Noire, a boutique travel company acquired by Blavity in 2017, CBO at Blavity, and host of The Bloom Podcast.

Paris Wallace

Co-founder and CEO of digital healthcare platform provider Ovia Health, and co-founder of Good Start Genetics.

Sevetri Wilson

Founder and CEO of ExemptMeNow, which aims to simplify the creation and maintenance of nonprofit organizations.


Monique Woodard

Founder and executive director of Black Founders, the first black partner at 500 Startups, and a recent angel investor in legal marketplace provider Court Buddy.

Jessie Woolley-Wilson

President and CEO of DreamBox Learning, an online software provider that focuses on K-8 math education.

To learn more about other black founders and investors, check out the 2016, 2017 and 2018 editions of this post.

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