The Journey to Tech Entrepreneur
His friendship with the Silicon Valley power couple led to serious connections in the tech industry. He landed a gig as an internÂ and entrepreneur-in-residence at Karmaloop in 2015–an e-commerce company founded by serial entrepreneur, Greg Selkoe.
That experience fomented the idea of the BLAK card. Divine hooked up with a fintech expert, RenÃ© BÃ¤bi, and received an extensive education on the technology. Thus, BLAK Fintech was born.
With Selkoe on board as his CMO, Divine connected with one of the oldest African American-owned banks, M&F Financial (on the BE 100s list for largest, black-owned banks), putting the necessary parts and people in place for his new startup.
Divine says he is already exploring other products and services, to follow the launch of BLAK card. “We do payment processing as well, so we’re going to reach into the online and mobile payment category; micro-loans; and a full-fledged credit card,â€ are some of the other planned services.
Despite his struggles and successes, plus determination to uplift his life from one as a convict, turned rapper, turned tech entrepreneur, Divine attributes his ascension into the tech world to his serendipitous discovery of Ben Horowitz.
“I know I am getting a lot of attention because of Ben. A lot of the connections I met are indirectly related to Ben.â€ However, he also says, “Ben didn’t hold my hand; he helped when he could, but I never bothered him for anything.â€
He mentions a recent meeting in Silicon Valley with the Horowitzes about his startup. “They are 100% supportive of me,â€ says Divine. “I left Silicon Valley with a smile on my face.â€
For now, music is on the back burner as he focuses on BLAK Fintech. “Music is my number one love. But, I’ve never seen it as a way to financially sustain myself.”
“In the streets, I did that with drugs. I never focused on music as a way to make money. I thought music would be at the forefront of my life. But, after meeting Ben Horowitz, with technology I see something greater. Entrepreneurship is the new street hustle.”