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Shorties Roundup: Meet these 5 Black-owned startups at Revolution’s Rise of the Rest virtual tour

Amid ongoing national calls for racial equity, and in partnership with a handful of investment and startup organizations, Revolution is investing $2 million in Black founders.

At a 2016 Rise of the Rest stop in Albuquerque. (Photo via Twitter)

Back in September, D.C.-based investing firm Revolution announced that the “equity edition” of its Rise of the Rest tour is going virtual.

Revolution originally had a bus tour slated for April of this year, but it was postponed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The firm has since teamed up with Opportunity Hub (OHUB), 100 Black Angels & Allies Fund and Morgan Stanley’s Multicultural Innovation Lab to host the two-day event taking place virtually Dec. 1 to 3. The tour will include panels with national leaders on how to best support Black founders and will conclude with a $2 million virtual pitch competition. Viewers can tune in virtually to watch the pitches.


Earlier this week, we reported in our newsletter shorties that the five finalist companies to be featured at the tour have been announced. From a pool of 450 applicants, these Black-led startups will be pitched for a chance to win a portion of $2 million:

  • Chicago-based Abode — Developer of a platform that guides users through the home buying and selling process without the use of traditional realtors
  • Atlanta-based Freeing Returns — Curator of a B2B marketplace that connects point of sale systems to returns management applications for retailers
  • Dallas-based Kanarys — Developer of a SaaS platform that gives companies clear metrics to benchmark and upgrade their diversity efforts
  • Chicago-based Rheaply — Creator of  tech for organizations looking to maximize usage of their idle assets
  • Dallas-based Zirtue — Developer of a lending app designed to help simplify loans between friends and family by implementing automatic monthly payments

Here are the rest of the shorties from the week:

Thursday, Nov. 19

  • Remember when “Wonder Woman 1984” was filmed in parts of Virginia in D.C. a few years ago? Well, the much-anticipated movie is set to release on Dec. 25 on the HBO Max streaming service along with some U.S. theaters open at the time. You can catch pieces of Georgetown and downtown in the film. Here’s more about what’s to come in the upcoming Wonder Woman installment.
  • Before you decide to rent a property in the District, consider using this new free tool launched by Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs that lets you search landlord violations. You can access the tool under the “Inspections and Compliance” tab on the site and sift through thousands of violations by landlord’s name or property address.
  • D.C. carpooling startup Go Together secured a spot in Wisconsin-based gener8tor’s gBeta Social Impact accelerator. The free seven-week program specifically for startups addressing equity in education or criminal justice reform helps entrepreneurs fine tune their business models. Check out DC Inno for more about Go Together landing one of 10 spots in the national program.

Wednesday, Nov. 18

  • D.C.-based investing firm Revolution announced the five finalists for its $2 million virtual Rise of the Rest tour. The finalists selected from a pool of 450 applicants are all Black-led startups hailing from Dallas, Chicago and Atlanta. Register to watch founders from these companies pitch on Dec. 3.
  • Amazon made a pledge to donate $9 million to a group of nonprofits and health providers in the D.C. area to commemorate the second anniversary of its HQ2 announcement. This is another way the ecommerce giant plans to continue investing in the region as it builds on its second headquarters in Arlington.
  • Some students from the DC Public Schools system returned to the classroom today. Classrooms at 29 schools throughout the District welcomed students to continue virtual instruction in a group setting. Teachers won’t be teaching from the classroom, though — they’ll still be on screen with students being supervised by DCPS staff volunteers.

Tuesday, Nov. 17

  • The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority has partnered with Facebook to host a free virtual training session on Thursday, Nov. 19, for small business owners. Attendees will hear from Facebook’s small business marketing team about how to amplify reach to find new customers. Register here to attend.
  • The Greater Washington Community Foundation teamed up with Darius Baxter of GOODProjects to launch a $300,000 fund to support 10 Black community leaders in the region. Know a Black leader putting in work? Make a nomination before Friday, Nov. 20.
  • Towson, Maryland-based PM Consulting Group opened a new D.C. office. The company rented out space on the third floor of the Ronald Reagan Building to bring employees closer to its growing federal client base. PMCG’s Towson headquarters will remain in operation.

Monday, Nov. 16

When the world encounters new and unusual challenges, it makes sense to look to those who solve problems for a living. Enter: our 2020 RealLIST Engineers. These 16 developers and other technical pros are not only maintaining the software behind local companies, they’re doing it all while taking on unexpected changes, and finding ways to make sure the tech community is supported.


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Companies: Revolution

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