The word “home” evokes the feeling of a place where one should always feel safe and welcome. An environment like this in the professional world may often be hard to find, particularly for individuals in marginalized groups. An Atlanta-based startup is working to create a digital home for members of the Black community to share knowledge and connect with each other. And 7th Ave just secured a $2.5 million seed funding round led by MaC Venture Capital to build out its social platform.
The tech startup recently launched its mobile app, which allows users to connect and converse with one another through audio and messaging capabilities. Users can also customize their profile with content boards that the company likens to Pinterest, enabling them to curate what they share and connect with others based on their interests.
“7th Ave is addressing a community concern that has been left unfilled for far too long,” Marlon Nichols, of MaC Venture Capital, said in a statement. “We are in a time where physiological safety online needs to be front and center. It’s great to see the team focus on general community empathy and empowerment.”
Co-founded by Diaundra Jones and Brylan Donaldson, the company is Black-owned and created for members of the Black community to share mindful content, according to a release. Users can discuss their thoughts on what they are reading, watching or listening to through live audio experiences. During these live sessions, users can send messages in the app’s chat feature for discussions and hosts can designate participants as speakers. While there’s no limit as to how many people can join a session, up to 11 can speak at one time.
“We believe home is a state of mind, one that starts within us,” Jones said in a statement. “Home can take on many definitions, but one constant remains: Home is the place that you can authentically be yourself. We want to create the space for our community to feel seen and heard. Our mission is to ensure no matter where we are physically on this earth, that we always feel like we have a place to call home.”
The startup’s seed funding round also saw participation from Twitter and Backstage Capital. 7th Ave’s app is currently available for download in the Apple App Store. In addition to celebrating the Black community, the company gives creatives, entrepreneurs, students and professionals a space to grow and thrive, Arlan Hamilton, founder of Backstage Capital, said in a statement.
“We carry the responsibility every day of building something that has the power to empower our community in a beautiful way,” Donaldson said. “Less than two percent of people who look like us have the opportunity to be funded. So as we build, we keep in mind those who can’t, those who will be impacted and those who come after us.”