‘Black Founders Demo Day’: Startup founders pitch big ideas in ‘Shark Tank’-style event

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Black and brown startup founders had the chance to pitch their big ideas in a live “Shark Tank”-style event held in Jacksonville on Tuesday evening.

Venture capitalist group PS27 Ventures put on the first-ever event, called Black Founders Demo Day, in which five local startups vied for a chance to win a $1 million investment in their company.

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PS27 CEO Jim Stallings said the event is focused on minority founders in part because they have been historically left out of the venture capital world.

“This is the first of its kind, this is an opportunity for young startup founders to get in front of some judges and investors and a big crowd to cheer them on and compete for a million dollars,” Stallings said.

The event essentially brings the investors to the startup founders. Some have been working full-time jobs and also working on their projects on the side for years.

“This will change their life,” Stallings said. “This really will give someone an opportunity to step up to another level and get discovered.”

The competition starts in Jacksonville, then they move on to the semifinals in Miami. After that, they go to Atlanta.

“They win in at Atlanta, and it’s a million dollars plus a ton of prizes,” Stallings said.