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Empowering Founders: A Showcase of Innovation in South Los Angeles

At Plug In Ventures, we believe in the power of collaboration and community to drive innovation. That’s why we were thrilled to partner with ChargerHelp! to host a special event that brought together 25 executives from Fortune 1000 and 500 Innovation Groups. The goal? To shine a spotlight on the incredible work being done by Founders across our ecosystem.

One of the highlights of the event was the opportunity to visit the new location of ChargerHelp! in South Los Angeles, where Founder Kameale Terry shared her vision for revolutionizing the electric vehicle industry. From providing essential maintenance services to advancing sustainability initiatives, ChargerHelp! is a prime example of the innovative spirit that thrives in our city.

But ChargerHelp! wasn’t the only success story on display. We were also honored to have Kwamane Lidell, CEO & Co-Founder of ThriveLynx, and Sky Kelley of Valient Labs join us to showcase their groundbreaking work. From leveraging technology to improve healthcare outcomes to driving innovation in the legal industry, these Founders are making waves and inspiring others to think big.

Special thanks to Councilwoman Heather Hutt (CD10) for helping support this event, ensuring everyone was comfortable and able to fully engage. We also want to extend our gratitude to our friends at the SoCal Innovation Alliance for their support in making this event a success.

Our event was more than just a showcase of innovation; it was a celebration of the vibrant startup scene in Los Angeles and a testament to the power of collaboration to drive positive change. As we continue to support and empower Founders across our ecosystem, we look forward to seeing even more groundbreaking ideas take flight and transform the world.

Companies Mentioned:
MovnHealth
ChargerHelp
ThriveLink
Plug In Ventures
Nike

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Plug In Ventures Featured in TechCrunch

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 4, 2024 – Los Angeles, CA  – Derek Smith, founder of Plug In South LA, now Plug In Ventures, established a startup incubator in 2015 to support Black and brown entrepreneurs in economically disadvantaged areas. Recognizing funding disparities, the 12-week program provides workshops and industry-specific advice, with success stories like ChargerHelp, a platform for EV charging stations.

Plug In Ventures aims to create a network of entrepreneurs driving economic development and job creation in underserved communities. Smith emphasizes the importance of entrepreneurs taking the lead, shifting from a free model to equity-based investment in future cohorts, with a new fund providing 5% equity ownership and follow-on investments.

Read on in TechCrunch.

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Keith Chaney, Founder of Peadbo, Set to Pitch at the Official SXSW Pitch Competition 2024

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Keith Chaney, Visionary Founder of Peadbo, Selected as a Finalist for SXSW Pitch Competition 2024

February 28, 2024 – Los Angeles, CA  – Keith Chaney, the trailblazing founder of Peadbo, is set to showcase his groundbreaking vision at the prestigious SXSW Pitch Competition 2024. Peadbo, short for Personal Advisory Board, is on a mission to close the opportunity and wealth gaps through collaborative mentorship. Chaney’s innovative pitch promises to captivate the audience and position Peadbo at the forefront of the next wave of technological advancements.

The SXSW Pitch Competition, known for showcasing the brightest minds and disruptive technologies, provides a platform for entrepreneurs to present their groundbreaking ideas to a panel of esteemed judges and a captivated audience of industry professionals. Chaney’s selection as a finalist underscores the industry-wide recognition of Peadbo’s impact and innovation.

“We are thrilled to have Plug In Ventures Alumni Keith Chaney and Peadbo among the distinguished finalists for the SXSW Pitch Competition 2024,” said Derek Smith, Founder and Managing Director of Plug In Ventures. “Chaney’s visionary approach and Peadbo’s transformative solutions align perfectly with the spirit of innovation that defines SXSW, and we eagerly anticipate the impact their pitch will have on the event.”

The SXSW Pitch Competition 2024 is scheduled to take place on March 10, 2024 in Austin,TX. Chaney’s presentation is expected to not only showcase Peadbo’s ingenuity but also contribute to the vibrant atmosphere of collaboration and exploration that defines SXSW.

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Black Tech Founders Push Industry Forward Despite Obstacles

Los Angeles – February 22, 2024

Benjamen Janey founded his company, Spooler, in 2016. The startup’s marquis product, the Tymelss platform, allows designers to promote their cause-related designs.

Janey has already raised $275,000 for Spooler, though he has a goal of raising $1 million in his current fundraising round. Despite having some success in his fundraising efforts and minting an ongoing relationship with the Texas-based VC Capital Factory, Janey said he has experienced hurdles that a white founder would not.

Check out the full article here.

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Plug In Ventures Featured in Black Enterprise

Los Angeles- February 9, 2024

Plug In Ventures has been featured in Black Enterprise this week for being awarded a $1 million grant from CalOBSA to boost early-stage Black and Brown startups in Southern California with the funding to be dispersed over four years.

The funding aims to enhance the accelerator program, providing resources, mentorship, and education. Our CEO, Derek Smith, emphasizes preparing Black entrepreneurs for venture capital opportunities. Plug In Ventures plans to increase companies securing investment by 10%-20% by 2025, while expanding into new sectors and geographies nationwide.

The firm will also shift to an equity-based model, offering 5%-7% ownership, and facilitate follow-on investments directly and through their investor community.

Check out the full article here.

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Plug In Ventures Seeking Intern to Support Startup Accelerator

📢 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Plug In Ventures Welcomes Mariessa Edmonson to Spearhead Program Development

LOS ANGELES, Jan 24, 2024 — Plug In Ventures, a leading force in venture capital acceleration, proudly announces the appointment of Mariessa Edmonson as the newest member of its dynamic team, taking on a pivotal role in program development.

We are thrilled to welcome Mariessa Edmonson to our team at Plug In Ventures! Hailing from the Long Beach Accelerator, Mariessa’s dedication to empowering Black and Brown Entrepreneurs is truly inspiring. With her dynamic energy, creativity, and grace, Mariessa brings an invaluable spark to our mission.

Founders & VCs – Seize the opportunity to connect with her in the upcoming weeks to learn more about her role and share your insights on Plug In’s future direction! Mariessa will be on the ground supporting Founders in and around South Los Angeles and SoCal at large.

“I am honored to join the Plug In Ventures Team. Personally and professionally, I fully align with the mission of supporting and empowering Black and Brown founders. I look forward to leveraging my background and skills to amplify Plug In Ventures’ impact on the broader tech ecosystem in California and across the US,” says Mariessa Edmonson.

“It’s been a long time coming, but the timing of Mariessa joining the Plug In team is divine. We’re eager to embrace her passion as we journey towards our North Star, bolstering capital, support, community, and investment in talented Founders in and around overlooked communities. She will be a great resource to Founders, partners, investors, and LA ecosystem stakeholders ” says Derek Smith, Founder of Plug In Ventures.

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Plug In Ventures Welcomes Mariessa Edmonson to Spearhead Program Development

📢 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Plug In Ventures Welcomes Mariessa Edmonson to Spearhead Program Development

LOS ANGELES, Jan 24, 2024 — Plug In Ventures, a leading force in venture capital acceleration, proudly announces the appointment of Mariessa Edmonson as the newest member of its dynamic team, taking on a pivotal role in program development.

We are thrilled to welcome Mariessa Edmonson to our team at Plug In Ventures! Hailing from the Long Beach Accelerator, Mariessa’s dedication to empowering Black and Brown Entrepreneurs is truly inspiring. With her dynamic energy, creativity, and grace, Mariessa brings an invaluable spark to our mission.

Founders & VCs – Seize the opportunity to connect with her in the upcoming weeks to learn more about her role and share your insights on Plug In’s future direction! Mariessa will be on the ground supporting Founders in and around South Los Angeles and SoCal at large.

“I am honored to join the Plug In Ventures Team. Personally and professionally, I fully align with the mission of supporting and empowering Black and Brown founders. I look forward to leveraging my background and skills to amplify Plug In Ventures’ impact on the broader tech ecosystem in California and across the US,” says Mariessa Edmonson.

“It’s been a long time coming, but the timing of Mariessa joining the Plug In team is divine. We’re eager to embrace her passion as we journey towards our North Star, bolstering capital, support, community, and investment in talented Founders in and around overlooked communities. She will be a great resource to Founders, partners, investors, and LA ecosystem stakeholders ” says Derek Smith, Founder of Plug In Ventures.

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Fearless and Bold Graphic Designer Wanted!

About Plug In Ventures 

Plug In Ventures  is the centerpoint for diversity within the tech ecosystem. We are a diverse membership-based networking community designed to empower the next generations of Black and Brown early to mid-stage founders through workshops, leadership programs, and mentoring — helping to access and raise capital, grow, and scale to success. Plug In’s top programs are our Plug In Tech Accelerator Program, Power Huddles mentoring sessions, and our general programs focused on support emerging companies.

About the Graphic Designer Role:

We are seeking a creative and detail-oriented Graphic Designer to join our team and contribute to the visual representation of our brand and programs. This role is open for remote work if you do not live in the LA area.

Job Type: Contract/Freelance
Schedule: 15-20 hours per week
Work Location: LA / NYC / ATL  Remote
Compensation: DOE

Responsibilities:

  • Visual Branding:
      • Develop and maintain visual elements that align with the Plug In Ventures brand across various platforms.
  • Marketing Collateral:
      • Design marketing materials, including brochures, presentations, social media graphics, and event collateral.
  • Web Design:
      • Collaborate on website design and ensure a visually appealing and user-friendly online presence.
  • Event Graphics:
      • Create visually engaging graphics for events, workshops, and conferences.
  • Content Creation:
      • Generate visual content for digital and print media, ensuring consistency with brand guidelines.
  • Collaboration:
      • Work closely with the marketing team, program managers, and business partners to understand design requirements and objectives.
  • Feedback and Revisions:
    • Incorporate feedback and revisions into design work, ensuring the final product meets expectations.

About You:

  • You are comfortable, experienced in, and motivated by working with high-expectations stakeholders who move at pace where meeting goals is a question of “how” and not “if” 
  • You are self-sufficient, able to draft concepts and drive results with minimal directions 
  • You are comfortable providing input and feedback to leadership even when difficult 
  • You have strong relationship-building and networking skills
  • You are a proactive, effective communicator with impeccable listening, speaking, writing and presenting skills 
  • You have a proactive mindset with regard to spotting opportunities and acting quickly upon them 
  • You thrive under pressure and feed off the buzz of chasing down targets and deadlines, and you are not afraid to put yourself out there and make things happen 
  • You have a highly methodical and organized approach to your work and superb time management skills 
  • You are adaptable and agile

Your Skills as a Web Designer:

  • Adobe Illustrator Proficiency:
    • Mastery of Adobe Illustrator for creating precise and visually appealing graphic elements.
  • Canva Expertise:
    • Advanced skills in Canva for designing engaging and shareable visuals for digital platforms.
  • Asana Proficiency:
    • Utilize Asana to effectively manage and organize web design projects, ensuring seamless collaboration.
  • Video Graphics Mastery:
    • Proficient in creating compelling video graphics to enhance user engagement and storytelling.
  • Technical Acumen:
    • Comfortably navigate various technical tools and systems essential for efficient web design workflows.
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Commitment:
    • Actively incorporate principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion into the design process and outcomes.
  • Self-Starter with Project Management Skills:
    • Take initiative, prioritize projects, and manage deadlines independently as a self-starter.
  • Collaboration Skills:
    • Proven ability to collaborate effectively with internal and external stakeholders, ensuring a cohesive design approach.
  • Attention to Detail in Graphic Design:
    • Demonstrate meticulous attention to detail, including precise proofreading and thorough project follow-through.
  • Open-Mindedness and Positive Work Environment:
    • Approach design challenges with an open mind, contributing to a positive and enjoyable work environment for yourself and the team.

How to Apply:

Send a resume and cover letter to info@pluginventures.co. Include availability, 2-3 references, and potential start date. 

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Peadbo Founder Keith Chaney, Accelerator Cohort 4 Alum, Inspires Students on Advisory Boards and Personal Growth

🌟

Exciting News! Keith Chaney, founder of Peadbo and a proud alum of our 4th Accelerator Cohort, recently visited Detroit public high school students to share insights on personal advisory boards. As a first-generation college graduate, Keith highlights the importance of support systems for underestimated students. Peadbo, a cloud-based platform short for Personal Advisory Board, empowers users to build and manage teams for personal or professional growth. Additionally, it helps in creating recurring newsletters for a broader network of supporters and advisors.

🚀 Noteworthy: Peadbo’s growing roster of customers includes universities, corporations, and young professionals focused on leveling up their careers. Explore more about Peadbo’s innovative platform at peadbo.com. #Education #SupportSystem #PeadboJourney #AcceleratorAlum

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Join the Next Wave of Innovation – Apply for Plug In Ventures’ 5th Accelerator Cohort! Applications are now officially open!

Are you an early-stage Black or Latinx Founder with a bold vision to reshape the realms of Digital Health, Climate and Sustainability, Digital Media or FinTech?

At Plug In, we deeply value the passion, dedication and immense potential that underrepresented entrepreneurs like you bring to the tech ecosystem. We are thrilled to announce that applications for our 2024 Plug In Tech Accelerator Program are now open.

We understand that early-stage Founders are those who have taken the crucial initial steps to transform their vision into reality. This means you have a product in place, a clear understanding of your target audience, and perhaps some revenue flowing in. However, we also embrace those who are still refining these pivotal elements, acknowledging that every startup’s journey unfolds uniquely and at its own pace.

Our Tech Accelerator Program is meticulously crafted to equip you with the resources, mentorship, and invaluable network necessary to propel your business to new heights. By participating, you will have the opportunity to:

  1. Gain profound insights from seasoned mentors and industry experts.
  2. Access funding opportunities and forge connections with potential investors.
  3. Collaborate with like-minded Founders and cultivate potent partnerships.
  4. Hone your product and business model for rapid and sustainable growth.

To embark on this transformative journey with us, click here to apply for the Plug In Tech Accelerator Program.

We encourage you to extend this opportunity to any exceptionally talented Founders in your network who are in the process of crafting something extraordinary. We firmly believe in the power of community and collective progress, and your recommendation may be the catalyst they need on their entrepreneurial path.