Editor’s note: Loanable, the lone Durham participant in this week’s Google for Entrepreneurs’ Exchange program, is led by Bernard Worthy who participated in the first Black Founders program a year ago. He shares the inspiration and plans for his FinTech startup with ExitEvent’s Amy Huffman.
DURHAM – “I was blown away by the folks in the room who looked like me,” says Bernard Worthy, on his thoughts after attending events at last year’s Google for Entrepreneurs (GFE) Exchange Program for Black Founders, hosted by American Underground.
The experience inspired Worthy to ramp up development of his side project, Loanable, a platform that simplifies, streamlines and formalizes the friends and family lending process. The year’s worth of work paid off. After pivots, customer validation and perfecting the platform, Worthy attends this week’s Exchange not as an onlooker, but as a participant.
Designed to address the challenges many black founders experience when raising funds, the Exchange program is an intense one-week boot camp with group learning sessions, mentorship, one-on-one meetings with investors, and a celebratory pitch competition.
Loanable, one of 10 teams selected from a pool of 110, is the only Triangle-based company. The GFE Exchange selection team was impressed with Worthy’s “important mission and disruptive idea,” says American Underground Chief Strategist Adam Klein.
In timing with the Exchange program, Worthy and his co-founder, Justin Straight, launched their platform this week. It’s the culmination of years spent dreaming up the best solution to a pain point Worthy experienced while enrolling in code school. It also works to achieve a personal mission to spur a cycle of investment and increase economic opportunity for local and underrepresented communities.
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