DURHAM – Courtroom5 is on a streak after being named a finalist in the Founders of Color Showcase run by global impact investor syndicate Next Wave Impact.
The Durham-based, Black-owned legal tech startup will now be one of six finalists to pitch their companies to an audience of investors, funds and angel groups on May 3.
“Funding opportunities are glaringly disproportionate for founders of color who want to scale their businesses, and the Founders of Color showcase is one way to help reverse that,” said Alicia Robb, founder of Next Wave Impact, in a statement. “We look forward to welcoming this year’s talented finalists to the stage to present their innovative products and services, with the potential for growing their network, creating new syndication partnerships and scaling their businesses.”
The honor is the latest in a string of achievements for Courtroom5, which landed an undisclosed sum from both the women’s investment group SheEO and Silicon Valley-based Precursor Ventures earlier this year. It’s also won an NC IDEA grant, as well as coveted spots in the Techstars Kansas City Accelerator, and Google for Startups Black Founders Exchange.
Founded in 2016 by Sonja Ebron, a PhD electrical engineer and entrepreneur, and Debra Slone, a PhD librarian and former library school professor, Courtroom5 is a digital- and artificial intelligence-based platform that, for a $50 monthly fee, gives its members access to an entire litigator’s toolset, animated video courses, workshops, legal forms and documents, and community forums.
Both have no legal background, but know first-hand how tricky navigating the civil justice system can be for the average person after representing themselves in court “too many times.”
“We got beat up,” Ebron has said. “As academics, we felt a responsibility once we figured out how to navigate the system to share it with others.”
This January, it launched a revamped site to bring small and solo law firms onto the platform to serve customers on a “piecemeal basis.”
“There are so many people who need what we’re offering. It’s just a question of making them aware of it,” Ebron said.
Based in Colorado, Next Wave Impact is a movement driving impact, diversity and inclusion in early-stage investing and the entrepreneurial ecosystem through its “learning-by-doing” progressive fund model and other activities that drive capital to typically underserved entrepreneurs.
At the inaugural showcase in 2020, the 10 finalists gained exposure to more than 200 investors from the early-stage investing ecosystem. They went on to raise millions of dollars last year. Next Wave Impact partnered with Loon Creek Capital to set up Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs), which brought nearly $1,000,000 in investments to five of the finalists.
To register to attend the free event, visit www.foundersofcolorshowcase.com.