Annual Black Founders Exchange: 12 Black-owned startups from across US take part in Durham program

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Twelve startups of businesses founded by Black entrepreneurs from across the country are going through a rigorous program during the week of October 3 - 8 to help elevate their companies.

They're taking part in the sixth annual Black Founders Exchange, a program in collaboration with Google for Startups, at the Durham hub and workspace American Underground.

The twelve businesses were chosen out of a pool of more than one hundred nationwide for an intensive week of hands-on training with mentors to develop the tools needed to scale their business. The week culminates with a pitch to angel investors and venture capitalists on Friday.

"I pinched myself," saidSunny Williams, founder of Tiny Docs, a company that makes animated health cartoons for kids and resources for pediatric health professionals.

"I don't know how we were one of the lucky ones to get invited but we're happy that we're here," Williams said.

"This program, I think has generated the ability to platform companies and take them in a new direction and scale faster," said Adam Klein, Director of American Underground. "Our companies over the last four or five years have raised almost $30 million in venture funding. So an average of about $750,000 per company, which is right what we were targeting for, and about 125 new jobs. So it is a game-changer. It's become one of the premier programs for Black-led businesses in the country."

Black Founders Exchange takes place each fall in Durham. The goal of the Exchange is to have at least half of the startups chosen to participate to be funded within nine months of the Exchange.

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