Northwestern Mutual, in partnership with gener8tor, a venture capital fund and startup accelerator, recently announced the addition of five tech startups to its Black Founder Accelerator program. One of these startups is Atlanta-based Pruuvn, a credentialing and data trust company run by Bryan Hobbs. Pruuvn leverages blockchain technology to develop tools to empower the gig economy.

Northwestern Mutual’s Black Founder Accelerator (NMBFA) program is an initiative that provides targeted resources and financing to promising Black entrepreneurs nationwide.

“This next class of five startups builds upon the success of the 10 founders we were proud to team up with in 2021. This group was selected based on their unique business models and drive to build tech solutions that help people live longer, better, and healthier lives across multiple areas of focus, including financial services, insurance, and digital health,” said Craig Schedler, managing director of Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures. “With such positive momentum coming from last year’s cohorts, including 115 investor introductions and more than 100 full-time employees supported by the 10 startups, I’m both excited to see how this group of founders will make a positive impact in their communities and honored to be a part of a company that continues to meaningfully support Black entrepreneurship.”

Black founders receive less than 1% of venture capital. As an extension of Northwestern Mutual’s Sustained Action for Racial Equity (SARE) Task Force, the initiative is designed to help address this racial wealth gap. The Black Founder Accelerator program provides those selected with a $100,000 investment, a 12-week business training program, access to venture capital partners and Northwestern Mutual mentors and more.

“Northwestern Mutual continues to drive our commitment toward diversity, equity and inclusion, with a focus on the Black and African American community,” said Abim Kolawole, vice president – financial planning excellence and strategy at Northwestern Mutual. “Through targeting the funding gap for Black entrepreneurs, our Black Founder Accelerator is designed to reinforce an ecosystem that provides an even greater ripple effect on the next generation and beyond.”

“We are both honored and eager to welcome this year’s Black Founder Accelerator startups into our portfolio,” said Precious Drew, senior managing director of the Northwestern Mutual Black Founder Accelerator, powered by gener8tor. “This partnership with Northwestern Mutual directly supports Black founders nationally by providing important resources, mentorship and funding these innovative entrepreneurs might otherwise not have had access to. We look forward to seeing how they continue to develop their unique solutions.”

The NMBFA is a joint collaboration between Northwestern Mutual and gener8tor to advance Black tech startups based in the United States focused on fintech, insurtech, digital health and data analytics. gener8tor is the administrator of the 12-week accelerator that runs two cohorts of five Black-led tech startups a year.