Meet our top 5 finalists!
We are ecstatic to announce the top 5 startup founders pitching at the SVB & StartupOS sponsored pitch event during Art Basel in Miami, FL at SGWS Wynwood on December 6, 2023!
Last Friday, our top 10 finalists participated in an exciting virtual live pitch with the distinguished Silicon Valley Bank panel of judges:
- Isa Abney, Director – Strategic Initiatives and Business Risk – Product
- Nana Affum, Senior Vice President
- Ronnie Harris II, Director – Startup Banking
The following outstanding founders were selected to move on to the final round of the in-person pitch competition next month in Miami:
(in no particular order)
- Shante Frazier, WellCapped
WellCapped is the first to market wig rental subscription company and was founded by Shante Frazier and Lauren Mitchell. We enable our members to access a shared inventory of high quality wigs and hair extensions through our online platform.
- Shawntia Lee, College Thriver Education Corp
With a decade of experience in higher education, Shawntia Lee the Founder of College Thriver works as a college advisor for students guiding them through their journey to graduation. She is focused on optimizing student journeys and innovating admissions processes through gamification that remove barriers for first-generation underserved students. Her own efforts to find the right college and resources led to a seven-year journey and $120,000 in student loan debt, and as a result she has designed a solution to enable future learners to graduate on time and minimize their student loan debt burden.
- Taylor Long, Nomads Swimwear
Nomads Swimwear is a Black woman-built company founded by plus-size model and designer Taylor Long that creates premium, sustainable swim and resort wear in sizes XS-5X. Since their launch in 2020, Nomads has been featured by Forbes, Sport’s Illustrated Swimsuit, Essence Magazine and has become a breakout brand in the size-inclusive swim space sold by major retailers Anthropologie and Shopbop.
- Nehika Mendelman & Kadeisha Pinkney, NEHXT
NEHXT is an on-demand beauty marketplace inclusive to women of color. We match clients with Beauty Professionals for premium at-home services including hair, makeup, nails, and lash services. The founders, Nehika Miglani and Kadeisha Pinkney, are a dream team of an esthetician and techies on a mission to transform the way women experience beauty – because NEHXT is a lifestyle you deserve.
- Joresa Blount, GoFlyy
GoFlyy powers at-home try-ons for fashion eCommerce brands who want to make sure their shoppers get the right fit and style every single time. Founded by Joresa Blount who is a fierce entrepreneur, alum of both Techstars and the Long Beach Accelerator, former journalist and advocate for women of color in tech. Blount is also the recent recipient of the 2023 Trailblazer Award on behalf of the Miss Black CA organization.
Participants selected for the SVB Retreat at Art Basel pitch event will be treated to an exclusive 4-day experience, complete with travel allowances, a monetary award, and the opportunity for mentorship with industry leaders from SVB and StartupOS. The top 5 achievers will be awarded a grand total of $60,000 in prize funds!
We invite you to join us as we track the progress of our finalists, who are refining their presentations under the expert guidance of mentors from SVB and StartupOS. Our updates will include insights into their journey and valuable pitching strategies they acquire.
We’re eager to hear your thoughts! Do you have a favorite contender or any expert advice for our finalists as they hone their pitches? Make sure to keep up with StartupOS’s ongoing updates on the Art Basel startup pitching event.