Northwestern Mutual announces latest participants in Black Founder Accelerator program | Insurance Business America


Participants are eligible for $100,000 investment, expert mentoring

Northwestern Mutual announces latest participants in Black Founder Accelerator program


Diversity & Inclusion

Ryan Smith

Northwestern Mutual has announced this year’s fall cohort of Black-owned tech startups that will participate in the third year of its Black Founder Accelerator program.

The program, run in partnership with gener8tor, a startup accelerator, is accepting five Black-owned tech startups for the fall cohort.

Black founders receive less than 2% of available venture capital, according to The Hartford. To help bridge this gap, each startup accepted to the Black Founder Accelerator program is eligible for a $100,000 investment and can participate in a 12-week program that provides access to coaching and mentorship from industry leaders, Northwestern Mutual said.


The program is part of Northwestern Mutual’s Sustained Action for Racial Equity (SARE) initiative, which aims to accelerate the insurer’s commitment to fight racism, prejudice and social injustice, with a focus on the African American community.

“As we witness the remarkable achievements of each cohort, we are reminded that programs like these are essential in fostering a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Abim Kolawole, chief audit executive at Northwestern Mutual and executive sponsor of the SARE initiative. “We hope that the success of these founders will inspire future generations of Black entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams.”

“This program’s success is an honest reflection of our company’s unwavering support to create a more diverse industry by helping Black founders propel their businesses forward,” said Craig Schedler, managing director of Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures. “We are confident that this next cohort of bright entrepreneurs will use the resources provided in this program to become leaders in their respective sectors.”

Startups in the fall cohort include:

  • Kingslet Ezeani, co-founder and CEO of CashEx helps immigrants build credit and establish a US bank account
  • Kahlil Byrd, founder and CEO of Shur helps student loan borrowers build financial plans and understand credit. It also provides student loan repayment interruption insurance
  • Matthew Parker, founder and CEO of ModernTax simplifies underwriting by enabling companies to access on-demand tax and financial information on their customers
  • Ashton Keyes, founder and CEO of Athlytic provides a seamless connection between brands and student athletes for name, image and likeness campaigns. It also utilizes data insights and expert recommendations to pair brands with the best athletes for ROI-driven endorsement campaigns
  • Jannae Gammage, founder and CEO, Foresight assesses credit risk, fraud and bias, enabling banking services to safely serve underserved consumers

Read next: Northwestern Mutual earns perfect score on Disability Equality Index

In addition to the Black Founder Accelerator program, Northwestern Mutual has committed to providing a $100 million impact investing fund to help address inequality and the racial wealth gap.

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