Silicon Valley may be the traditional center of tech, talent and investments, but apps developed by Black brands are being launched — and used — everywhere. With a hiring rate of less than 5% in Big Tech for Black and Latinx people, why wait for an invitation when you can start your own party?
For Black History Month, we made a list that rounds up Black-owned apps transforming everything from fitness to finance. Check them out below and maybe even download one or two — or all 11. With so many selections, there are apps for just about everyone. So, enjoy!
Founders: Anthony Edwards Jr. and Janique Bradley
What makes it dope: First launched in Brooklyn, EatOkra helps you discover Black-owned restaurants and eateries across the country. Founded by a husband and wife team, the app makes it easy to locate and support Black food entrepreneurs near you.
Founders: Jihan Thompson and Jennifer Lambert
What makes it dope: Through Swivel, women of color can quickly locate hair stylists or well-equipped salons and book an appointment. If you happen to be a stylist or salon owner who specializes in textured tresses, get listed! Currently, you can use the Swivel app to find stylists in New York, D.C., and Chicago. However, the company’s founders have plans to expand nationwide. The app has been featured in The New York Times, Essence, Allure, Elle, and more.
Founder: Alonzo Wilson
What makes it dope: Tone House TV lets you access hundreds of strength and conditioning workout videos. All led by expert trainers, the workout sessions require minimal equipment; it’s perfect for at-home training. The subscription-based app and fitness program was launched by the owner of Tone House, an extreme athlete fitness studio in New York City.
Founder: Tope Awotona
What makes it dope: Calendly simplifies scheduling. Founded in 2013, the app is a tool for you to book and organize meetings without the hassle of constant emails. It integrates easily with Google, Outlook, Office 365 or iCloud calendars; and lets you automate tasks with Salesforce, GoToMeeting, Zapier, and more. You can even accept payments during scheduled meetings using PayPal and Stripe. The app offers both a free version and paid subscription tiers. Last month, Calendly raised $350 million in financing and the Atlanta-based company is estimated to be valued at more than $3 billion.
5. The Cookout
Sector: Social Media
Founders: Kiki Bryant, Cassandra A Osei, and Atiyya Hassan
What makes it dope: For years, audiences across the Black diaspora have legitimized and made social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and now ClubHouse, worth billions. However, unlike The Cookout, none of Big Tech social media brands are Black-owned. Created by three LBGT+ Black women who grew tired of being targeted and abused online, The Cookout is an invitation-only social media app. As the company’s site declares, the app is where “Blackness is celebrated, not tolerated.”
Sector: Health and Wellness
Founders: Marah Lidey and Naomi Hirabayshi
What makes it dope: Prioritize your self-care and mental health with the Shine app. After downloading it, you’ll gain access to over 800 meditations designed to help you reduce anxiety and stress. The app also sends users daily motivational messages, articles, and meditation sessions to meet your self-care needs. Shine was named one of Apple’s best apps in 2020.
Sector: Medical Cannabis
Founder: Otha Smith III
What makes it dope: As the cannabis market expands and dispensaries multiply, more people need access to trustworthy resources like Tetragram. The app allows users to keep track of medical marijuana sessions and learn which strains work best while treating symptoms.
Founder: Tanya Van Court
What makes it dope: Goalsetter teaches children financial literacy. Through the app, parents can give allowances and kids get to learn the best ways to manage money. Family and friends can even give “goal cards” — instead of gift cards — to help kids save for special purchases. Recently, Goalsetter rolled out a debit card for kids. Parents still have full control over the card’s usage; it can stay locked until kids have passed a weekly financial literacy quiz, which is prepared through the app. Last month, the company raised $3.9 million in seed funding. Key partners and investors include PNC Bank, Mastercard, U.S. Bank, Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures, Kevin Durant, Robert F. Smith, Chris Paul, Baron Davis, and more.
Sector: Social Media
Founder: Issac Hayes III
What makes it dope: If you want to monetize your social media posts and audience, download Fanbase. The photo, video and live streaming app allows creators to build both a following and a paid subscriber base. Much like other social media apps, users can still follow your profile for free. However, with Fanbase, you have the option of choosing which of your posts should be paid for.
Sector: Environment and Social Justice
Founder: Jasmine Crowe
What makes it dope: Every year in the U.S., 72 billion pounds of edible food get thrown out. Goodr connects businesses that have edible food waste to local charities. When using the app, businesses can arrange deliveries of leftovers, keep track of food waste, save money, and reduce their carbon footprint.
Founder: Mandy Bowman
What makes it dope: Official Black Wall Street is an app that makes it easy to find Black-owned businesses no matter the industry. The app doesn’t cater to a specific field or profession, so you have more flexibility when exploring their business directory. You can even set up the app so you receive a notification when you’re close to a Black-owned business or there’s an update with one that you’re already supporting.