Black entrepreneurs are taking the world by storm one revolutionary idea at a time, as is evident on “Bet On Black,” a multiscreen series that aired on REVOLT’s digital platforms. The six-episode program premiered Monday, Jan. 10 and introduced viewers to 25 Black trailblazers. Each pitched their businesses to a panel of expert judges and celebrity guests for the chance to secure $200,000 in funding and mentorship from Target. As the contestants’ journeys unfolded, each of them were evaluated based on the lasting impact their ideas could create within the Black community.
While the series has concluded, the contestants never stopped their grind. Memphis native-turned-Atlanta resident Austin Webster is one of the aforementioned go-getters, and his app Deepr is here to deepen the music industry by reimagining music data. Think Shazam meets IMDb. Have you ever wondered who’s on a song besides the voice at the forefront of it? Using audio recognition for song identification, Deepr optimizes music discovery by introducing you to the creative masterminds behind a track: cue the producers, songwriters, engineers, mixers, instrumentalists and background vocalists. As a listener, the app leads you to playlists that are curated based on your taste, presenting you with more of the creator’s works and ultimately bridging the gap between a song’s artistic backend and its audience.
“Having the opportunity to pitch Deepr on ‘Bet on Black’ was an experience unlike any other,” says Webster, and how could it not be? Thanks to his participation on the show, his app reached a huge milestone. Its widget solution recently integrated with the subscription video on demand service ALLBLK for MC Lyte’s new sitcom “Partners in Rhyme.” It will also be used for other sitcom properties on the streaming service’s platform this year.
Additionally, the Deepr app for iOS & Android devices underwent a major glow-up with the help of the funding that Austin received from the show. Say “hello” to an updated color scheme and user flow. As suggested by the program’s judges, creators can also now input their contact info and connect their social media accounts to their Deepr profiles. Overall, participating on “Bet on Black” was a game-changer for Austin. “The feedback and response from my appearance on the show has been extremely positive and continues to translate well with my network, colleagues, investors and sales leads,” says the Atlanta resident.
Being a Black business owner, Austin understands how fundamental it is to show love to the community. So, while catching up on his continued success with Deepr, we asked him about his favorite Black-owned and founded products. Here are his top picks.
1. For staying fresh
Bevel Men’s Rechargeable Hair & Beard Trimmer
Like any entrepreneur, Austin not only values success but is keen on looking the part as well. His favorite shaving system, Bevel, is founded by Black businessman Tristan Walker with the purpose of prioritizing the grooming needs of Black men. “The Bevel Rechargeable Hair and Beard Trimmer is hands down the best trimmer I have ever purchased,” Austin insists, relying on its innovative design and prolonged battery life for a clean, precise shave each time. This high quality tool can be easily found in Target’s Buy Black hub, allowing Black men to treat themselves and bring the barbershop home.
2. For ultimate self-care
SheaMoisture Smoothie Curl Enhancing Cream for Thick, Curly Hair
It’s no surprise that Austin and his family love SheaMoisture – their gentle and non-drying product line does it all. “SheaMoisture is a brand my whole family trusts for quality and to feel good,” the businessman reveals. His favorite items are the ultra-hydrating African Black Soap Face & Body Bar and the African Black Soap Clarifying Facial Wash & Scrub. “They always get you right. You cannot go wrong with their skin and hair care products,” assures Austin.
3. For all-day breakfast & brunch
CRUXGG Rotating Ceramic Nonstick Waffle Maker
Who doesn’t love waffles? Whether it’s to make Belgian waffles for breakfast or chicken ‘n’ waffles for brunch, Austin prefers the CRUXGG Rotating Ceramic Nonstick Waffle Maker. Featuring a powerful 1000-watt heating system that can make thick, yummy waffles in less than 10 minutes, he loves to experiment with the tool’s six browning levels. “I really admire the spirit that Ghetto Gastro has injected into their whole CRUXGG product line. Flavorful products to make flavorful food,” says the Deepr CEO. Beyond its features, what really stands out to him is the brand’s activism, which helps fight hunger caused by poverty in the United States. “Giving back a percentage of their proceeds to help combat food insecurity is outstanding!” he adds.
4. For a refreshing, guilt-free drink
Me & the Bees ginger lemonade
This award-winning, honey-sweetened lemonade is Austin’s go-to drink. Made with non-GMO ingredients and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, it’s no wonder why this slightly sweet but not too tart lemonade is a guilt-free pleasure for the Deepr founder. Even its packaging is sustainable, with each bottle being 100% recyclable. “Taking a sip is a true experience that tastes great and gives back to the environment,” says Austin about the brand. Aside from boasting delicious, natural flavors, the beverage company donates a portion of their proceeds to the Healthy Hive Foundation, which focuses on protecting bees and their habitats.
5. For reppin’ the hometown
Being from such a musically-influenced city such as Memphis, it’s no wonder why Austin felt compelled to create an app that revolutionizes the music industry. Known worldwide for its deep-rooted culture of rock ‘n’ roll, blues and soul, there is a lot to be proud of when one comes from M-Town – a nickname affectionately given to the Tennessee city by local rap and hip hop legends such as 8Ball & MJG and Three 6 Mafia. M-Town Merch offers hip and comfortable t-shirts, tank tops, hoodies, sweats, sports jerseys, headwear and gear that proudly capture the essence of Austin’s historical and influential hometown. “Although I call Atlanta home now, it’s always nice to represent the M-Town wherever I go!” says the Memphian.
6. For morning essentials
Chicago French Press
Austin, like many others, agrees that one of the most delightful ways to kick his day off on a strong note is with a freshly brewed cup of coffee. “The flavors that Chicago French Press, a black female-owned business, has cultivated are bold and delicious,” says the “Bet on Black” contestant. Founded by Black female entrepreneur Kris Christian, Chicago French Press boasts a variety of delicious flavors that range from fruity to nutty to chocolatey to savory, but as for Austin’s all-time favorite? Snickerdoodle, forever.
Demonstrate your love and support to Black go-getters who continue to elevate the culture. Austin, being one of them, is grateful for the opportunity to have appeared on REVOLT’s “Bet on Black” series. “To be able to amplify the vision behind our technology to the masses and get validation from a legendary creator such as T-Pain, while also walking away with non-dilutive capital, was priceless,” says the music app pioneer. “But it was also a great learning experience that taught me to own the story behind the ‘why,’ connect the judges/investors to that ‘why’ and not get bogged down in too many details when communicating.” Follow his and other contestants’ journeys by catching reruns of “Bet on Black” airing on REVOLT TV’s digital platforms.
Also, be sure to head over to Target’s Buy Black Hub in support of Black business owners everywhere.
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