Mixtroz was founded in 2014 by the mother-daughter team of CEO Kerry Schrader and President Ashlee Ammons. The company relocated from Nashville to Birmingham, in part because of an investment by Bronze Valley. In 2018, the company won $100,000 in Birmingham’s Rise of the Rest pitch competition, sponsored by America Online founder Steve Case and author and venture capitalist J.D. Vance. Recently, Schrader and Ammons became the 37th and 38th African-American women to top $1 million in venture funding.
The founding vision of Fledging is to make premium electronics accessible for every consumer, delivering best-in-class hardware at affordable prices. The founders’ background in engineering and computer science has helped Fledging develop products that are consistently faster and cheaper than those of major competitors such as Samsung, OWC and Razer. With an aggressive product development plan and a clear understanding of a growing global market, the company is positioned for rapid expansion.
Employee Cycle provides a web-based analytics dashboard that empowers human resources teams to leverage their data to make smarter and faster decisions. Founders Bruce Marable and Salas Saraiya bring extensive expertise in the HR data industry to the challenges of breaking into a $1.2 billion market. While continuing to expand, that market currently is underserved, providing opportunities for innovation that Employee Cycle is striving to leverage.
Joonko is a peer-to-peer recruiting network that assists businesses with diversity hiring. The company has built a strong client base on its free platform, with more than 70 active customers, including Nike and PayPal. The company is moving to convert existing clients and attract new ones to its paid platforms and has entered an agreement with Kapor Capital to market Joonko to VC firms and their portfolio companies. Joonko’s strategy is to gain a competitive position in addressing an issue that currently costs U.S. companies $70 billion annually.
Babypalooza is a media, events and baby registry company that connects new, expectant and hopeful moms to resources and information. Since founding the company in 2005, Cecilia Pearson has expanded it to 12 cities in three states. Working from the unique platform it has established, Babypalooza seeks to become the leading resource for young parents seeking personalized connections to the people, products and parenting information they need to grow their families.