Seattle startup The Ebba goals assist individuals discover and assist Black-owned companies – GeekWire

The Ebba workforce: Tema Woods (proper), Andrew McDonald (middle), and Giovanni Iriarte-Younger (left). (The Ebba picture)

Andrew McDonald and Giovanni Iriarte-Younger had been classmates on the College of Washington once they headed right down to Oakland for the Afrotech convention. Whereas there, they needed to assist Black-owned companies, however discovered it tough to take action with current apps.

So that they created one themselves.

McDonald, beforehand a Navy sonar technician, and Iriarte-Younger, a former engineer at Boeing, teamed up with fellow UW grad and veteran Tema Woods to launch Seattle-based startup The Ebba.

The Ebba (Important Black Enterprise App) helps customers discover Black-owned companies throughout the U.S. in classes equivalent to meals, cosmetics, health, journey, hospitality, and extra.

The app is a part of a rising effort to spotlight Black companies by means of filters on main platforms like Yelp or specialised apps such because the Official Black Wall Road.

There are additionally different Seattle-based efforts that drive individuals to minority and women-owned companies, equivalent to TheWMarketplace and the Intentionalist.

The Ebba lately launched an up to date model of its app which permits customers to purchase merchandise whereas exploring group and historical past. They plan to include augmented actuality into the app so customers can scan their surroundings and be taught extra about occasions associated to Black historical past.

“Our total purpose is to get individuals to discover their communities, be taught alongside the best way and assist the companies inside them,” McDonald mentioned.

There are 8,000 enterprise listed on the web site; some are added by enterprise homeowners and others are handpicked by The Ebba’s workforce. The startup makes cash from a fee cost relying on how a lot a enterprise earns on the platform.

The Ebba app interface. (The Ebba Picture)

When sorting by means of companies, the workforce has to determine the context of the trade when evaluating an organization.

“How Black does the enterprise must be? How will we make it extra equitable relying on the trade of the Black-owned firm?” Iriarte-Younger mentioned. “The perfect place is for firms to realize publicity and develop in order that the Black group has extra illustration business-wise throughout all industries.”

We caught up with McDonald, Iriarte-Younger, and Woods for this Startup Highlight. Solutions had been edited for brevity and readability.

Our rivals and the way we’re totally different: Our fundamental rivals can be Google and Yelp, in addition to Seamless, powered by Grubhub. They serve an enormous viewers however they’re not likely centered on the Black group to the identical diploma as we’re, as a result of we come from the Black group. Our complete inception is for the Black group, our mission is to speed up Black progress — nobody has to push us in that path, it’s already incentivized in our enterprise structure. We additionally present a extra intimate relationship with Black companies and our customers, making an attempt to supply a extra customized expertise inside your native space.

The neatest transfer we’ve made to this point: Not making an attempt to develop too quick. We needed to broaden as we acquired additional into the enterprise and take heed to what the shopper was asking for. We needed to know what they needed to make use of so we might implement it to the app in a manner that glad what different firms won’t be doing.

The most important mistake we’ve made to this point: Not making use of for grants as early as doable. There have been plenty of grants we might have gotten previously yr that we didn’t as a result of we thought we must put ourselves on the market and develop quick, however it didn’t appear to be the case. We notice now which you could nonetheless get that grant cash and you may nonetheless go at your individual tempo.

Our future targets: We undoubtedly have curiosity in moving into the availability chain trade. We’ve additionally been considering the concept of getting a children model to show monetary literacy and stuff like that to youngsters. And going into the meals and supply house, too.

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