Events / Funding / Pitches / POC in Tech / Startups

1Philadelphia’s Innovation Weekend brought $60K to these Black and brown founders

Amid a weekend celebrating work to diversify Philly's tech scene, five entrepreneurs walked away with new funding for their startups.

1Philadelphia's CBK Ventures Pitch Competition in November 2022. (Courtesy photo)

1Philadelphia, the inclusive tech talent pipeline project that gathers cross-sector partners to create opportunities for communities of color, hosted a slate of events this weekend to work toward and celebrate its mission.

Over three days, it brought together founders, high school student entrepreneurs, local government officials and those being honored in the 1Philadelphia Innovation Awards. Events this weekend included virtual career development sessions, an innovators after-party, a capital-focused breakfast for founders and fund managers, an “innovation bowl” for high school students and’s own Most Diverse Tech Hub reception.

Eight entrepreneurs also got the chance to pitch for $60,000 in CBK Ventures’ second pitch competition on Friday. The first was held in April of this year, via a partnership by 1Philadelphia, Coded by Kids, the City of Philadelphia, and founder Sylvester Mobley’s venture fund, Plain Sight Capital. At these pitch competitions, the partners invest in promising, early-stage entrepreneurs who have “historically been shut out from traditional funding sources,” meaning at least 50% of the founding team must be either Black or Latinx.

Of the eight startup founders who pitched, five took home funding:

  • Paytus, a fintech startup that provides payment solutions for credit unions, won the top prize, securing $25,000.
  • Winning second place and $15,000 was Vital Start, a digital health platform for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. The startup serves mothers and parents from their third trimester of pregnancy to their first year of postpartum, to improve bonding and reduce stress and anxiety.
  • In third place, winning $10,000, was Barley, a startup that allows bars and alcohol brands to track customers to make more efficient order fulfillment. They use data insights to integrate with existing POS systems to create higher profit margins for bars.

An additional two startups took home $5,000 in funding each in the “emerging founders” category: Fitalyst, an app suite for college students, and FundingFuel, a research and funding platform for venture capital. Each were given the $5,000 and in-kind support and resources to help launch their startup.

Mobley, founder and CEO of Coded by Kids and co-managing partner of Plain Sight Capital, said in a statement that the org was working to make Philly the capital of “equitable tech and innovation.” Programs like the CBK Ventures pitch competition help toward this mission, he said, by directly funding early-stage startups with potential.

“By empowering Black, Brown, and otherwise underrepresented entrepreneurs, we’re providing new pathways for Philly residents who have historically been shut out of high-growth opportunities to grow their businesses and build wealth,” Mobley said.

Companies: 1Philadelphia / Coded by Kids
Series: PHL: Most Diverse Tech Hub

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