Over the last few months, we have evaluated hundreds of startups and selected ten of the most promising companies to join the Talent x Opportunity Initiative and take part in the January-June ‘22 session of TxO University.
Throughout the process of selecting our second cohort (see what our first cohort is up to here), we were immensely impressed by the qualified, but under-networked founders we connected with.
Meet our second cohort:
Abena Boamah-Acheampong was a middle and high school math teacher, completing her Master’s Degree in counseling psychology, when she started making skincare products on the side for herself and friends in 2014. Three years later she decided to turn this side hustle into a company and launched Hanahana Beauty, a consciously clean skincare and wellness brand rooted in her Ghanaian heritage. Abena has built a brand focused on improving the economic and environmental wellbeing of the Ghanaian women in the shea trade.
Amanat Anand and Shubham Issar both grew up in New Delhi, India, and moved to the United States to attend Parsons School of Design. They initially did not consider entrepreneurship a viable career option but when they won the UNICEF Wearables for Good Challenge with an idea focused on combating infectious diseases in kids through cleanliness, their idea matured into SoaPen, a soap-filled pen that kids can draw with before scrubbing up. Amanat and Shubham are motivated to build a company with the thesis that kids can develop healthy habits if taught in a fun way.
Brandon Chance and Bryan Bastida are lifelong sneakerheads who witnessed the culture that popularized sneakers being roped off and priced out as sneakers became a bonafide asset class. The Miami natives founded Loan My Sole, a community linking up shoe owners and renters, to pioneer a circular economy for sneakers. Loan My Sole allows owners to monetize their collection whilst maintaining ownership, and pairs them with renters who wish to experience a fresh pair of shoes without the cost and frustration of tracking down and purchasing them.
Brittany Chavez leveraged Instagram to mobilize a community of Latinx creators to showcase emerging Latinx brands. A trip to South America in 2016 sparked her idea and brought forth a newfound appreciation of her Guatemalan-Nicaraguan culture. In 2020, 100k members later, Brittany launched Shop Latinx, a curated marketplace of beauty, fashion, and lifestyle brands and products for the fastest-growing demographic in the U.S: the Gen-Z Latina.
Daniela Vianna and Guilherme Verri are Brazilian natives who believe that life can and should be meaningful and that the path towards true fulfillment requires one to delve into a journey of self-discovery. They are providing tools to help people embrace their uniqueness through Ephemeris, a startup merging technology and astrology to deliver physical and digital products that help people navigate the magical adventure of understanding themselves, the cosmos, and the connection therein.
Danuelle Doswell and Mignon Hemsley cultivated a friendship six years ago over their love of plants and their belief that owning houseplants has a positive, therapeutic impact in improving the air we breathe, boosting creativity and concentration, and reducing stress. On Earth Day 2020, they put their passion and belief to the test by launching Grounded, a direct-to-consumer plant shop. Grounded was created to help people disconnect and decompress, one plant at a time.
Daryl Holman Jr. is a self-taught designer who upskilled into web development to launch his first company, FreeSpot. Frustrated with his growing student loan balance, he decided to get involved in the fight against student debt by designing websites for the Student Debt Crisis and the Debt Collective. He later went on to serve as a U.S. Senate panelist on the topic and has led conversations with the Secretary of Education on the need for student debt cancellation. With this new understanding of debt, Daryl is launching Revival to help borrowers get out of debt faster.
Krystal James, Michelle Johnson, and Brittney Follings are the three sisters behind Soapy Faith, a clean beauty body care brand that offers simple products that take the guesswork out of body care for those with sensitive and eczema-prone skin. The trio launched the brand after Krystal survived breast cancer with the mission of building a faith-driven, family-owned, women-led, earth-conscious brand. The founders have already grown Soapy Faith into a top 1% brand globally on Etsy.
Suzanne Sinatra is a veteran of the Royal Canadian Armed Forces and cancer survivor who launched Private Packs, a female wellness company that creates a modern line of feminine pain relief solutions for intimate body parts. She was motivated to start the brand because of her own lived experience and goal of alleviating vulvodynia, a persistent pain or discomfort in the vulva region that affects an estimated 16% of women. Suzanne has a patent for her flagship product and a distribution deal with CVS.
Trisha Sakhuja-Walia immigrated to Queens, New York, from India at the age of five. Having struggled to find her place, she’s been on a mission to carve a space for her hyphenated identity. She founded BrownGirlMagazine.com while scrolling on Facebook for a journalism class in college; almost a decade later and with a few media jobs under her belt, Trisha bought out the original founders with the goal of scaling Brown Girl Magazine into a media powerhouse that empowers and engages the South Asian diaspora through multimedia content, culturally relevant products, and community building.
We look forward to kicking off with this new group in just a few days.
Interested in joining TxO? We will have another TxO cohort year starting in July. If you or someone you know would be a great candidate for the TxO program, we encourage you to apply here.