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Clara Tsai Unveils Inaugural BK-XL Accelerator Cohort of 12 BIPOC-Owned Startups

Each BIPOC-founded startup will receive up to $500,000, in addition to mentorship and office space at Industry City.
The founders will each receive office space at Industry City. Photo: Supplied/Marino.

BK-XL, a Brooklyn-based early-stage startup accelerator for BIPOC founders, just announced its first cohort consisting of 12 startups.

The brand new startup accelerator — which was created by Clara Wu Tsai, the founder of the Social Justice Fund and owner of the Brooklyn Nets — selected the 12 founders that make up the initial group from over 2,000 applicants.

The 12 BIPOC-founded startups selected were: Crafted (started by Todd Baldwin and Sarah Nesheim), Churchspace (Emmanuel Brown and Day Edwards), Drooler (Sergio Villasenor), Habit (Tai Adaya), Highnote (Jordan Bradley and Paulina Vo), Opal (Jen Chiang), Preneur (Amadeu Tolentino), Relavo (Sarah Lee, Tejasvi Desai and Anna Bailey), re/tell (Joy Fan), SWYE 360 Learning (Jacob Makuvire), Tuma (Elijah Lubala) and Undock (Nash Ahmed).

"Having founded my company in the pandemic years, finding a solid family of fellow founders has been difficult,” said Jordan Bradley, co-founder and CEO of Highnote.

“As a Black male CEO alongside a queer, Asian-American female co-founder, being connected to a vetted cohort of high-performing and diverse builders — specifically Black and women founders and operators — to learn from and grow with would be incredibly valuable." 

Each startup will receive up to $500,000 from BK-XL, consisting of an initial investment of $125,000 in return for a 7% equity, along with an added $375,000 investment that is based on specific growth benchmarks and an agreement to operate out of Brooklyn for at least one year.

In addition to providing funding, BK-XL said that the selected founders will also participate in a 10-week immersion program where they will receive mentorship, as well as receive support from BK-XL and its partners after completing the accelerator program. 

The founders will also get office space at Camp DavidIndustry City’s creative co-working space, and ongoing investor support and mentorship opportunities.

“We created BK-XL to identify and support the most innovative BIPOC founders in this country and to show the rest of the venture capital industry just how many BIPOC founders are out there with great ideas and businesses waiting for someone to step up and believe in them,” said Tsai. 

To learn more about the BK-XL accelerator program, head over to its website. For more information on the first group of startup companies selected, click here.