BLACK AMBITION, AKU AND BILLIONAIRE BOYS CLUB ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP TO EMPOWER BLACK AND LATINX ENTREPRENEURS IN WEB3
The partnership will support Black and Latinx entrepreneurs and the Black Ambition HBCU Prize through funding and mentorship, culminating with a Demo Day in November
OCTOBER 20, 2022 – Black Ambition, the nonprofit founded in 2020 by Pharrell Williams to empower Black and Latinx entrepreneurs to excel, uninterrupted, announces its partnership with Aku, the digital native character of a young Black astronaut created by artist Micah Johnson. The partnership supports Black Ambition’s second-year Prize competition in 2022 which officially launched in March and will culminate with a final Demo Day in November.
Aku and its partner, Billionaire Boys Club, will provide funds to support the Black Ambition General and HBCU Prize tracks, which offer prizes and mentorship for current and former students at HBCUs and Black and Latinx entrepreneurs across the nation, as they develop early-stage ideas and launch companies in consumer products and services, media and entertainment, healthcare, technology, and web3.
Summer Watson, President and Co-Founder of WYE Media Company, home to Aku, consumer tech veteran, and web3 expert, will serve on the judging panel for the Black Ambition HBCU Prize and lend mentorship to this year’s applicants at the annual Demo Day in November. Together, Black Ambition, Aku, and Billionaire Boys Club will award $250,000 to prize winners.
“Black Ambition is empowering Black and Latinx entrepreneurs to break down walls, take seats at tables, and raise their voices in areas that are at times off limits,” said Summer Watson, President and Co-Founder of WYE Media Company. “Where these individuals and companies go in the next 5-10 years will accelerate and amplify the work of those who’ve laid the foundations for us.”
Founding teams must include at least one current HBCU undergraduate or graduate student (full-time or part-time), one recent alum within two years of graduation, or one former student within two years of attending the institution. This HBCU-affiliated individual must identify as Black and/or Hispanic/Latino.
“We are excited about this partnership with Aku and BBC to fund, support and provide access to founders that will now have an opportunity to not only build, but lead in the Web3 space. This will definitely have a ripple effect in our communities by accelerating opportunities. This happens with intentional partnerships like this.” said Felecia Hatcher, CEO of Black Ambition.
Aku began as an NFT series based on its creator Micah Johnson’s own experience of hearing a young boy ask if astronauts could be Black. The first set of NFTs launched as short videos following Aku, a young boy with an oversized space helmet that acts as a portal to his dreams and digital exploration. The 10-part series was released in 10 chapters from February 21, 2021 to February 21, 2022, generating over $24MM in sales to date. Aku Chapters were followed by the release of 15,000 unique 3D avatars, or Akutars, injecting an impactful image of a young, confident, Black boy in the social media profiles of crypto and culture enthusiasts alike. Aku has amassed a devoted community with notable collectors including Pharrell Williams, Pusha T and many more.
Black Ambition is dedicated to closing the opportunity and wealth gap through entrepreneurship. To connect and learn more about Black Ambition, competition eligibility, and how to apply, please visit www.blackambitionprize.com. Follow us on Facebook (@blackambitionprize), Twitter (@blackambitionpz) and Instagram (@blackambitionprize) to stay up to date with the Black Ambition community.
ABOUT BLACK AMBITION:
Black Ambition was founded in 2020 by Pharrell Williams to work towards closing the opportunity and wealth gap through entrepreneurship. Black Ambition invests capital, mentorship and resources in startups founded by Black and Latinx entrepreneurs and HBCU affiliates. Since launching, Black Ambition has awarded over $3.2 million dollars to 34 founders innovating across technology, consumer goods and services, healthcare, and design.
Aku is a digital explorer and crypto-native IP created by artist and former MLB player, Micah Johnson. Launched in February 2021, Aku has since become the first NFT to be optioned for film and television projects, as well as the first NFT to travel to space. Aku is a conduit to empower the next generation of astronauts, explorers, and dreamers. Aku was recognized on Fast Company’s prestigious annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2022.
ABOUT BILLIONAIRE BOYS CLUB:
BBC ICECREAM, founded by Pharrell Williams, is a globally recognized clothing and accessories brand whose blend of streetwear and luxury has influenced countless pockets of fashion, music design and culture. As the brand has morphed to continuously lead and define fashion, a universe from the foundation of Billionaire Boys Club has formed ICECREAM, Bee Line and Billionaire Girls Club. BBC’s aspirational motto highlights a brand perpetually focused more on an embrace of originality and self than the direct financial realities of its name: “Wealth is of the heart and mind, not the pocket.” For more information about Billionaire Boys Club visit bbcicecream.com and follow @bbcicecream on Instagram.