The Future is Now: AfroTech and Cash App Partner to Shine a Light on Young Entrepreneurs

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IOriginally designed to ease peer-to-peer payments, cash app has grown from a simple product with one purpose to a dynamic app, giving millions of monthly active users a better way to send, spend, invest, borrow and save. With a mission to redefine the world’s relationship with money by making it more accessible, instantly available and universally accessible, he is committed to ensuring that everyone has the financial knowledge and access to thrive.

Cash App leveraged its problem-solving power and ensured emerging entrepreneurs have the resources to be the next innovative leaders in tech by presenting AfroTech’s 2021 Young Founder Pitch Contest. The competition, organized by Nicole Young, airing November 12 on AfroTech World Stage. The judges included:

  • Brian Hollins, Managing Partner – Collide Capital
  • Mia King, Brand and Marketing Manager – Cash App
  • Pilar Johnson, Co-Founder and Managing Partner – Debut Capital

Charged with the incredibly difficult responsibility of selecting a winner from the three finalists, each judge brought considerable expertise and insight into their field.

If you couldn’t make it to the pitch competition, read on for some of the best takeaways.

The future is in good hands

Don’t be confused by the title of the contest. Although the finalists are young entrepreneurs under the age of 25, they are light years ahead in terms of ingenuity and creativity. The 2021 finalists were:

Each finalist proved they understood the assignment by presenting groundbreaking concepts. Whether it’s simplifying the subletting process, redefining career development for black tech wannabes, or digitizing crating for dog parents, each presenter confidently offered solutions. to improve their industry.

Getting to this stage of the competition was not easy. With a grand prize of $20,000 for the first place winner, the pressure was on. While there could only be one winner for first place, those who ended up second and third did not come away empty-handed. The second and third place winners received $15,000 and $5,000 respectively.

Ready, set, go

Once all the pitches were done, the judges were ready to make a decision. It was more than a new act – the decision would amplify a young black voice and provide essential resources to propel their business into the future. No one envied the task of choosing between the ideas of Interplay, ReRent and Beyond. But after some tough deliberation, the first-place winner of the 2021 Young Founder’s Pitch Contest was Interplay’s Jonaie Johnson.

Based on the need to care for dogs despite a busy life, Interplay works to improve the lives of pets and their owners. Johnson’s technology creates digital crating experiences for dog parents through a remote-controlled crate accessory, the playTach.

Well-deserved congratulations go to Interplay for winning the 2021 pitch competition, as well as congratulations to ReRent and Beyond for reaching the finals and taking second and third place respectively. It’s never easy to be vulnerable enough to have your creative genius exposed and judged. However, competitions like this are necessary to amplify youth voices and position startups for long-term success. Cash App‘s commitment to the future is evident and proves that it is a leader in championing efforts to secure the future of business and technology.

To learn more about Interplay and its work to help dog owners, click here.

This editorial is brought to you in partnership with Cash App.

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