Ninja Innovation

The Gamer

Since 2007, Atlanta-based Konsole Kingz has been one of the few minority-owned companies that have a contract to create and sell virtual goods on the Xbox platform. Partners C.J. Peters (pictured) and Marcus Matthews have sold more than 1.3 million unique gamer pics, themes, and avatar accessories. The two partners recently worked with Kandi Burruss of Real Housewives to produce her mobile app, Kandi-Koated Spades.

The V.C.

Model turned serial entrepreneur turned early stage venture capitalist and angel investor Lauren Maillian Bias, 28, is a co-founder of Gen Y Capital Partners in New York City. After successfully exiting SugarLeaf Vineyards in Charlottesville, Virginia, she founded Luxury Market Branding, a strategic brand building consultancy firm for high-end consumer products. Her advice to aspiring tech investors:

Invest in the team. “I look for people who are able to evolve and adapt. Companies pivot all the time. You have to feel like you’re investing in a team that moves as fast as the market.”

Don’t lead, follow. “Make a small investment in the early stages and follow up selectively in companies that show significant traction and are breaking away.”

The Data Hound

In a world where big data technologies are becoming part of our everyday lives, Jon Gosier, along with business partner Matthew Griffiths, co-founded metaLayer in 2011 to help non-technical users perform data-driven research such as trend spotting in big data sets, predictive analytics, and visualization, using drag-and-drop data science technology. “One of the biggest pitfalls of other companies in this space is they are all targeting super-sophisticated individuals who are highly educated and highly trained, but that doesn’t help smaller companies that have non-technical staff. So we decided to build metaLayer in a way that helps people who don’t know anything about big data but who know how to drag and drop things on a screen.” The Philadelphia-based data analysis startup, which Gosier, 31,  says is totally bootstrapped, aims its services at government, media, and nonprofit organizations and has grossed annual revenues of $500,000.
–LaToya M. Smith

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