Camelback Ventures Giving Underrepresented Entrepreneurs an Equal Shot

Camelback Ventures Giving Underrepresented Entrepreneurs an Equal Shot

Jerelyn Rodriguez is the co-founder of The Knowledge House, a New York City-based nonprofit that introduces young people to STEM career possibilities. At the summit, she met with two CEOS, one of a foundation and the other of a non-profit, like herself. Rodriguez said it was “so valuable to hear their stories.” She also had the opportunity to meet with potential funders.

Mirta Desir is the CEO of Smart Coos, a startup that makes it easy for parents and educators to give kids the opportunity to learn a second language through live-language sessions on its interactive web-based platform.

“When Aaron told me about Camelback, the keyword was ‘connection.’” Desir launched Smart Coos when she became a new mother and left the legal practice. For her, Camelback has been “amazing.” With the connections she established, her company was able to close its first round. Smart Coos recently experienced 70% user growth with parents, and is in the process of negotiating a $2.6 million dollar contract to provide content to classrooms.

“We Need All of the Talent Available to Us”

When asked why this mission is so important to him, Walker says, “We need to have all of the talent available to use, especially black and brown folks. Often, I think we are the solutions. It’s for me to support people creating those solutions. People who came before me were social entrepreneurs, like Dr. King.”

About the fellows, Walker says, “They inspire me every day.”