Startups

CBK Ventures’ first pitch competition will give 5 founders a chance at $25K

Black and Latinx entrepreneurs can win thousands of dollars in investments and resources for their businesses through the program from Coded by Kids.

Sylvester Mobley at Coded by Kids' fifth anniversary celebration, October 2019.

(Courtesy photo)

Coded by Kids, the tech education nonprofit for young people in Philly, is launching a pitch competition this spring for Black and brown tech founders.

The pitch competition comes from CBK Ventures, a partnership by Coded by Kids, 1Philadelphia, the City of Philadelphia and founder Sylvester Mobley’s venture fund, Plain Sight Capital. The partners will invest in promising, early-stage entrepreneurs who have “historically been shut out from traditional funding sources,” the org said, meaning at least 50% of the founding team must be either Black or Latinx.

Early-stage companies — particularly those that can quickly leverage technology to scale their companies — are encouraged to apply for the March 31 pitch night. Funding is provided by the Department of Commerce through the PHL: Most Diverse Tech Hub initiative, and five founders will walk away with funding spanning from $10,000 to $25,000, depending on their place in the competition.

“This competition is a way to bring needed funding to Philadelphia’s underrepresented founders,” Mobley said in a statement. “By funding new startups, we’re expanding the tech industry and building new opportunities for wealth. Each successful new startup brings us one step closer to becoming a center for equitable tech and innovation.”

Participating partners include Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Comcast NBCUniversal, PACT, Brevity, the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the African-American Chamber of Commerce and Cozen O’Connor. Representatives from those orgs will serve as judges.

Applications will be open through Feb. 27, and companies will be chosen for the competition by March 7. Founders who have an idea that isn’t fully fleshed out into a business yet can apply as an “emerging founder,” of which two will be chosen to win $5,000 and business support services to pursue the idea.

“Philadelphia has so many brilliant individuals with startup ideas, and this is an excellent opportunity to get a few of those initiatives off the ground,” said Heloise Jettison of the Commerce Department in a statement. “We’re committed to making sure that as our business community grows, it grows equitably; and there’s no better way to do that than directly supporting Black and Brown founders in our city.”

Apply to pitch here -30-
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