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Visa Selected Three Black-Founded Startups To Help Solve Its Marketing Challenges

On the heels of U.S. President Barack Obama hosting the first-ever White House demo day, which placed an emphasis on diversity, Visa has announced the winners of its The Everywhere Initiative. And, wait for it, all of the winning startup founders are black. The Everywhere Initiative sought out to source innovative solutions from startups for Visa’s marketing issues around reaching millennials, driving digital commerce and rewards.3-1Visa held an open submission process, while its innovation partner KITE* ran a parallel process through its platform to find other startups that could fit the bill. By the end of it, Visa had nearly 400 startups to choose from. Earlier this week, fifteen finalists pitched their solutions to a panel of Visa marketing executives for a shot at a $50,000 pilot program. The winning startups: Virgil, a tool that assesses your competitiveness for certain careers, Flag, an app that delivers photo prints for free, and LISNR, a solution that uses high-frequency audio tones to enable people to unlock discounts and experiences.Contemporary business people working in team in the officeIn a tech world where only 1% of venture-backed companies are led by African-Americans, according to a 2010 CB Insights report, it’s refreshing to see that the startups Visa selected all have black founders. There’s Flag Founder Samuel Agboola, LISNR Co-founder & CEO Rodney Williams and Virgil Founder Ron Mitchell (the three guys in the middle pictured above).

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