Announcing Our Newest Investments
Feb 23, 2022
Fifth Star Funds is thrilled to announce its next investments into seven extraordinary companies. With its prior investments into Cyber Pop-up, CRTSIDE, and Roomii, Fifth Star’s portfolio has now grown to ten investments that represent a snapshot of the wonderful Black tech innovation happening in Chicago.
"We're incredibly proud of our progress in our first year launching Fifth Star Funds. We've validated that there is an incredible pipeline of early stage Black tech founders in Chicago, and the community is ready and eager to come together to support them."
Samir Mirza, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Fifth Star Funds
It is our pleasure to introduce you to:
City Health Tech:
- City Health Tech’s vision is a world without disease outbreaks. They believe that user-centered design, first-class technology, and community engagement is the means to prevent the spread of diseases in cities and other vulnerable communities. Through its innovative hand washing product Opal, City Health Tech is committed to promoting disease prevention in cities worldwide. City Health Tech was co-founded by Irewole Akande and Ibraheem Alinur.
- CulturePilot is an AI-powered app that uses your phone’s built-in camera to recognize objects of interest and immediately provide curated audio and text content. CulturePilot empowers museums, artists, cities, and other organizations to create this content for visitors without worrying about building and maintaining the technology behind it. They give users the confidence to explore and travel like a local. CulturePilot was co-founded by Barbara Kuofie and Mariyam Khalid.
- E3 Radio is a media platform and online radio station showcasing queer music & reporting on queer news with an intersectional lens. Their new mobile app The Qube is a curated app of music and podcasts by Black, Brown, & QTPOC (Queer & Trans People Of Color) creatives. With their pillars to educate, empower, and entertain, E3 Radio seeks to uplift the voices that currently don’t get airtime. E3 Radio was founded by Anna DeShawn.
- Eventnoire is the premiere platform for event planners, organizations, and marketers that celebrate and embrace Black culture. Eventnoire offers software solutions for event registration, event management, mobile apps for events, and email marketing. Their unique platform serves as a resource for event hosts who influence Black culture to monetize their influence and receive commissions from ticket fees. Eventnoire was co-founded by Jeff Osuji and Femi Masha.
- ExpandHR is building onboarding confidence from day one as a one-stop shop for small businesses to streamline employee onboarding, payroll, compliance, health tracking, and more. ExpandHR’s mission is to be the HR partner for business owners who desire to grow their teams and revenue, build efficient processes, and develop an engaged work environment safely and effectively. ExpandHR was co-founded by Delmar Johnson and Shayna Atkins.
- Let’s Link views the sharing economy as the new frontier of luxury commerce. Let's Link combines the physical properties of luxury shopping with digital solutions creating an entirely new shopping experience. With its mobile app, Let’s Link focuses on face-to-face peer transactions of rare streetwear and high fashion goods in the safest manner possible. Their mission is to disrupt the secondary luxury market. Let’s Link was founded by Justice Moore.
- Staj allows users to find local arts events anywhere in the world. They help artists and event organizers streamline their business by using an interactive event management platform. Staj’s goal is to connect artists and art lovers worldwide. Staj’s technology increases the engagement and interaction between art lovers in their local communities and increases artists’ and event organizers' earning power and revenue potential. Staj was co-founded by Joshua Ross and Daniel Pulley.
“We continue to be amazed by our founders and their missions to build industry-defining solutions in rapidly-growing industries from cybersecurity and disease prevention, to media and e-commerce. We’ve been blown away by the passion of our founders’ customer-centric businesses, and it is a privilege to be on the journey with them.”
Tim Huelskamp, Co-Founder of Fifth Star Funds and CEO of 1440
With our newest additions to the Fifth Star portfolio, we are strengthening our commitment to fortifying the tech ecosystem and elevating Chicago’s Black tech community. We are committed to creating, evaluating, and redefining access to capital. Investing in Black founders is critical to closing the wealth gap in the United States. We are excited to continue our work to remove the racial barriers associated with starting a business.
"The tech ecosystem in Chicago is exploding, and it’s imperative that Black founders and innovators are no longer left out. Fifth Star Funds’ investments at the earliest stage are critical to increasing the number of Black founders given a shot to build companies that not only can change the world but can support more Black founders in the future.”
Stella Ashaolu, Co-Founder of Fifth Star Funds and CEO of WeSolv
As always, thank you for your continued support. We're looking forward to continuing to partner with the community to grow the portfolio of Fifth Star Funds and be the Friends and Family investors of a whole new entrepreneurial generation of Chicago!