The tagline for his life’s story reads: “From crack, to rap, to tech.” Divine is a hip-hop entertainer, turned tech entrepreneur. He is preparing to launch his startup’s first product—the BLAK card—a pre-paid debit card designed to help the under-banked or un-banked.
Divine sat down with Black Enterprise to talk about how he emerged from a 10-year prison sentence for dealing drugs, to befriending venture capitalist Ben Horowitz and founding his own financial tech startup.
“My company is BLAK Fintech. BLAK is an acronym that stands for Building Leverage; Acquiring Knowledge. We build affordable, tech-driven, personal financial and banking products,” Divine explains.(Image: Maxwell Hawes IV)
In early 2017, the company is set to release the BLAK card, a pre-paid Visa debit card attached to a real bank account that enables a user to build credit. Although the product sounds suspiciously similar to another hip-hop-star-turned-mogul’s venture (Russell Simmons’ Rush card), Divine says there are differences between the two products.
“[The BLAK card] is totally different from the Rush card. The Rush card only targets the under-banked, not the un-banked. [The Rush card] uses a third-party provider; we actually own the technology,” he says.
“Additionally, we have a social impact component that consists of financial literacy and entrepreneurship education.”