Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Lupe Fiasco-backed Brownsville Start Fund announces winners

Will the next big app come out of Brownsville?

Lupe Fiasco and Di-Ann Eisnor of the Brownsville Start Fund.

(Courtesy photo)

Will the next big app come out of Brownsville? Or will some technology that people in Brownsville actually need come out of Brownsville? We’ll find out in the coming months, as the winners of the Neighborhood Start Fund build their projects.
The idea for the Neighborhood Start Fund is to be a kind of a VC for neighborhoods where there’s not a ton of investment. It’s backed by rapper Lupe Fiasco and Silicon Valley exec Di-Ann Eisnor. We profiled the effort back in November and it recently announced the three winners of its Brownsville-only pitch competition.
The winners are a digital platform for linking residents with mental health resources, a platform for local businesses and nonprofits to interact with residents and a marketplace for discovering subway performers.
The founders will receive $5,000 each from the Neighborhood Start Fund as well as in-kind services for developing their digital products from the studio Folio3.
“In Silicon Valley and New York you have these good on-ramps where if someone’s willing to take the risks, they can really engage,” Eisnor explained to Technical.ly Brooklyn in November. “Entrepreneurship is really supposed to be about scarcity and solving problems. There are different kinds of entrepreneurs and we have to get back to solving problems. And there are plenty of people who have already identified problems but they don’t have a way to do anything with that.”
Here are the winners, with descriptions supplied by the Neighborhood Start Fund:

Lennie Carter, +1

  • +1 is a digital platform providing social therapy resources and information in order to change the landscape of mental health in poverty-stricken neighborhoods. +1 connects users to mental health services and provides knowledge and resources to empower people to make safer, healthier choices in a frictionless and simple way.

Quardean Lewis-Allen, ShoodBE

  • ShoodBE is a way for small to medium-sized businesses, community organizations and nonprofits to target and engage consumers with information pertinent to themselves and their communities. Through a unique digital platform, ShoodBE enables businesses to present interactive content to local residents, invite them to share insights and feedback, and monitor impressions and engagement.

Bens Hilaire, SubwayTalent


  • SubwayTalent is a peer-to-peer marketplace for discovering, connecting and booking independent artists. SubwayTalent allows artists and clients to connect through a secure and accountable platform where artists showcase their work for free, and clients are able to search, rate and pay for talent.

Now the Neighborhood Start Fund is looking for the next nabe to touch down in.

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