What’s a challenge you’ve faced, and how did you get through it?
As a so-called “Quad Outsider” — Black, Female, Non-Technical, Tech Founder — I understood that entrepreneurship (specifically at a tech startup) would be a challenge, but I never expected the journey to be this hard. On the road to Mixtroz’s next milestone, seed funding, we’ve hit the prerequisites and are still unable to bridge the gap to funding to scale our business to support an efficient recurring revenue model. Since inception, we’ve defined our core business product, built a Prototype/MVP, beta tested, raised funding and acquired paying customers, and it still seems as we hit these milestones the bar for seed funding moves higher. By no means as a female and minority business owner do I want or need the bar lowered, but I do need to see the bar before I make the jump.
“By no means as a female and minority business owner do I want or need the bar lowered, but I do need to see the bar before I make the jump.”
When my Co-Founder/Mom and I first launched the startup in Nashville, the market wasn’t receptive to a non-healthcare or music startup, and as resourceful women we pivoted. We completed an accelerator in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which we found through research ranked #1 for women entrepreneurs in the US, refined the Mixtroz product as a mother-daughter team living in a college dorm for the summer, and upon our return to Nashville broke through the ceiling and entered the Nashville tech scene. We are now known in the Southeast, and it’s not by accident.
Entrepreneurship isn’t pretty, it’s messy and overwhelming and I have become not only a smarter business woman but a more well rounded partner, mentor, colleague, motivator, friend and family member. This makes me the most proud.
What’s something you’ve done that you’re really proud of?
In the summer before my junior year of undergrad, after quite literally immersing myself in the campus community — Class President, Varsity Cheerleader, Sorority Social Chair, Dance Marathon, Radio DJ, Deans List, Tour Guide — I made a connection that would change the course of my life.
While randomly fundraising for Dance Marathon and being partnered with someone I “knew of” within the Greek community but did not “know,” he made the introduction of a lifetime that led me to become the first intern to NBA Star LeBron James. He did it after only one face-to- face conversation with me, and with no social media either. Looking back, I now realize that the theme of face-to-face conversation and the impact it has on business and personal relationships has been a reoccurring one in my life. It directly ties to the thesis of my current business venture, Mixtroz.
What’s something that’s been on your mind this Black History Month?
Oprahs beautiful words from the 2018 Golden Globes: “I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say “Me too” again.”
As a Black woman in tech, “Me too” resonates 360 degrees. Oprah is one woman, but a woman that can be a beacon to many others. To me, her speech says that while it’s inspiring she is the first Black woman to be awarded the prestigious Cecil B. DeMille from the HFP, it is more important that she is not the last.
I am a woman chasing beyond my professional dreams; I’ve achieved many of them. As a Co-Founder of a growing startup, I am laser focused on building Mixtroz into a successful women- and minority-owned business as well as making entrepreneurship, more specifically, entrepreneurship within the tech space, a more diverse and inclusive environment. It is this approach, win or lose, that ensures I will make an impact that drives the continued evolution and growth of the startup ecosystem.