Meet the 8 Companies With Black Founders at First White House Demo Day

Meet the 8 Companies With Black Founders Chosen to Exhibit at the First White House Demo Day

Mo’s Bows
Moziah Bridges
Memphis, Tennessee

Moziah Bridges started his business, Mo’s Bows, when he was 9 years old. Four years later, Bridges now has five staff members, appeared on the TV show Shark Tank, and was featured in O magazine and Vogue. Mo’s Bows was born of Moziah’s love for bow ties and his dissatisfaction with the selection available for kids his age. Even worse than the poor color selection, they were all clip-ons. His grandmother taught him to sew by hand and to use a sewing machine, using scraps to create his favorite neckwear. Today, each bow tie is still sewn from scratch, though Bridges has expanded from vintage materials to tweeds and ginghams, with a custom line of satins and silk. His bow ties are available online, and in boutiques throughout Kentucky, Georgia, and Tennessee.

William Hakizimana and Austin Grandt
Madison, Wisconsin

William Hakizimana, a Rwandan native, was forced to flee his homeland on foot and live in refugee camps before moving to the United States with his family as a teenager. Now, as the CTO and Chief Data Scientist at Export Abroad, Hakizimana helps U.S. manufacturers compete globally.  The company’s software platform helps companies navigate international trade and increase sales by providing global market research, curated leads, and customer management tools.

Jerome Hardaway
Memphis, Tennessee

Jerome Hardaway is a Memphis native and Air Force veteran who served three tours of duty in Afghanistan and three in Iraq. Afterwards, he completed a program in computer software and media applications at a fast-track tech training program called General Assembly that has made commitments as a part of the TechHire initiative. The skills he gained at GA allowed him to launch FRAGO — named after the military term for “fragmentary order,” or a change in the mission plan when on combat detail — a startup non-profit that helps U.S. military veterans transition back into civilian life. FRAGO trains veterans in programming skills to help them succeed in the digital economy. He completed a Computer Software and Media Applications course at General Assembly. 

Felix Lloyd and Jordan Lloyd-Bookey
Arlington, Virginia

Entrepreneurs and husband-and wife-team Felix Lloyd and Jordan Lloyd Bookey founded Zoobean to help libraries use technology to better serve their communities. Their latest product, Beanstack, provides families with learning tips, tools to log reading sessions, book and app recommendations and special badges tied to local library programs and goals.  Jordan is the former Head of Google’s K-12 Education Outreach team. Felix is a serial entrepreneur whose first venture, MoneyIsland was acquired by BancVue.

Christopher Ategeka and Anwaar Al-Zireeni
San Francisco, California

Ugandan-born Christopher Ategeka, who lost both of his parents to HIV/AIDS, has dedicated his life to improving healthcare for those suffering from the disease. For his work, Ategeka earned a U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) award. In 2013, Ategeka teamed up with fellow University of California–Berkeley graduate Anwaar Al-Zireeni to co-found Privail, a company that is commercializing low-cost, early HIV detection technology developed by Al-Zireeni. The technology is a portable, easy to use testing device that can directly detect HIV virus in the bloodstream faster than antibody or antigen based tests, and for a fraction of the cost of traditional RNA detection techniques.

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