SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ureeka Inc, a community and platform that connects Next Wave Entrepreneurs to the human, financial and technological capital they need to grow and scale their businesses, today announced it has secured $8.6M in funding from Bullpen Capital, Chicago Ventures and Salesforce Ventures.
The new funds allow the company to expand the Ureeka Community, which is built to support Next Wave Entrepreneurs – the small to mid-sized business owners and entrepreneurs across the country, outside of tech hubs and networks, with the potential to drive massive growth and job creation for the U.S. economy.
"Next Wave Entrepreneurs are starting and growing the businesses that can more equally distribute wealth across demographics and regions,” said Melissa Bradley, co-founder of Ureeka. “Yet, the secrets these businesses will need to be successful in the digital age – including how to access capital – are locked among a relatively small group of tech insiders. Ureeka gives entrepreneurs access to the inside information, the resources and networks they need so they can continue to create the jobs that bring growth and opportunity to communities beyond the tech hubs.”
Ureeka Members See More Than 2x Revenue Growth with Access to Vetted Mentors, Coaches, Tools and Services
Ureeka connects business owners with a community of peers, mentors, and coaches; tools such as a proprietary Growth Framework; and a marketplace of curated specialists who provide services at a fraction of the cost.
The growing Ureeka Community currently has thousands of members with companies that span across industries including retail, fashion and beauty. Current members who participate in the Ureeka Grow Customer Program report greater than 2x overall lift in revenue, with 80 percent seeing at least 50 percent lift or more.
“Ureeka connected me with professionals and peers who have experience navigating the daily trials and tribulations entrepreneurs like me endure every day,” said Shontay Lundy, creator & founder of Black Girl Sunscreen. “As a female entrepreneur, there are limited resources. I didn’t know how to put together an investor deck or field the ‘hard’ questions. Within a couple weeks of joining Ureeka, I not only had a strong investor deck, but I had been given tangible advice that prepared me to sit at the table with investors ready to give me capital to take my business to the next level.”
Ureeka Network Includes Top Entrepreneurial and Tech Experts
Ureeka’s network of volunteer mentors includes former and current employees from Facebook, Snap, Salesforce, Google, Adobe and others. Ureeka members are paired with mentors based on the unique challenges and goals of their business. Coaches are vetted professionals with deep entrepreneurial and industry experience that provide members with customized support for the life-cycle of their business.
“The digital economy drives economic growth in big cities and tech hubs like Silicon Valley, and particularly for white men. It's time to open that opportunity to everyone,” said Dave Jakubowski, co-founder of Ureeka. “Women-led companies are outperforming their male counterparts and minorities are starting companies at rates 3-6x their white counterparts... Imagine if they were supported and funded?”
Salesforce Taps Ureeka to Provide Direct Funding to SMBs
Ureeka currently partners with Salesforce to administer its Salesforce Care Small Business Grants which will provide individual grants of $10,000 to help keep businesses afloat.
Ureeka Connect, the company’s own financial access pitch competition program, holds monthly virtual events that connect members with like-minded investors and capital needed to scale and grow their businesses.
Bullpen Capital, Chicago Ventures and Salesforce Ventures Put Their Bets on Ureeka
“We’re excited to help lead Ureeka into their next stage of growth,” said Bullpen Capital general partner, Paul Martino. “Now in a global crisis, it’s more important than ever to support entrepreneurs along their journeys and ensure that they have access to the people and funds needed to grow their businesses.”
“Support for entrepreneurs – especially those outside of the tech hubs – has never been more critical,” said Stuart Larkins, partner at Chicago Ventures. “Chicago Ventures was founded with a focus on investing in undercapitalized tech ecosystems. Ureeka is directly aligned to supporting our mission, and we’re confident in the experienced team and their ability to help SMBs nationwide succeed.”
Ureeka is a community and platform that connects female and minority small business owners – the Next Wave Entrepreneurs – to peers, mentors and coaches; trusted business and technology advice; vetted resources and capital that business owners need to grow and scale. Ureeka is a for-profit business, founded by a diverse team whose expertise ranges from technology and investing to the public sector. The company’s mission centers on creating economic opportunity by igniting the potential of small businesses through a platform of resources and a community of peers and experts. Learn more at https://www.ureeka.biz/. Follow Ureeka on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.