Updated: Dec 31, 2020
On March 16, Austin-based Black and Brown woman-identifying entrepreneurs participated in their very first ever virtual competition which was broadcasted through the Black Girl Ventures virtual platform SheRaise. The virtual format of the event provided for increased viewership, and Black Girl Ventures supporters across the world tuned in, submitted their votes, and made donations through SheRaise. Below are the three winners of the virtual pitch competition.
Khadijah Robinson - 1st Place Winner
Khadijah is the founder and owner of Nile. The Nile List is a digital community that connects consumers with Black-owned brands online. Every business listed with Nile is called Nilists. The businesses are vetted by the Nile team to ensure that the businesses are active and Black-owned.
As a Southern girl through and through, Khadijah was raised in Savannah, GA, and Montgomery, AL. Her life is a manifestation of the Issa Rae phrase, “I’m rooting for Everybody Black.” In fact, one of her favorite facts to share about herself is that when she started elementary school, she had never heard “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and thought that “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was the national anthem!
She never lost that love of community. After graduating from Spelman College, Khadijah received an MSc from the University College London and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. She has practiced law in Washington, D.C. for the last four years, but she has supported the business endeavors of the Black community for her entire life. When not working on Nile, Khadijah still practices law, reads great fiction, and studies the art of brunch.
Bianca Maxwell - 2nd Place Winner
Bianca is the founder of Skinary, a digital health company that leverages machine learning to understand underlying skin issues. Skinary helps people to improve their daily diet, cleansing, and lifestyle habits to have healthy skin from the inside out. Eventually, the app helps people to avoid bad habits that trigger breakouts and uses selfies to track and pinpoint concerns with skin.
Bianca had severe acne growing up and struggled with adult acne for the last two years. She used health apps to track her weight, diet, and period, so when she looked for a skin app a terrible breakout, and it didn't exist, and that's how she birthed Skinary. You can read more deeply into Bianca's story through the BGV pitch competition spotlight.
Shana Viera - 3rd Place Winner
Shana is the founder of INVY a holistic inventory optimization tool to help users digitally manage their belongings, anywhere at any time. INVY is a wholistic omnichannel app that simultaneously seamlessly integrates users' home inventory with retail experiences, insurance, and resale. With a digital inventory, people can save time, reduce stress, save money, and make a little bit of profit back. But most importantly - INVY's aim is to make it easier for consumers to live more sustainably.
Prior to founding INVY, Shana developed extensive experience in marketing, strategic planning, and program management through a variety of leadership roles in sectors such as online gaming, non-profit fundraising, infrastructure planning and development, civic engagement, emerging tech product roll-out, and public relations crisis management. She has lead teams in devising strategies and implementing plans for major event productions like the Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival and three-day concert series, live broadcast gaming programming, community relations for the 2.2 billion dollar Capital Crossings development, and politically charged community engagement effort for the New York Nets Stadium under the leadership of Forest City Ratner. You can read Shana's spotlight and dive deeper into her story.
BGV is very grateful for our sponsors, our judges, supporters, and various members of our community for supporting these women in their first virtual pitch competition. Micro-funding is a powerful tool that helps founders maintain the momentum in their businesses.
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