By Rob Wile, Miami Herald
As publishers and creative agencies attest, finding stock visuals portraying Black consumers and community members in everyday activities can be a challenge. With that need in mind, three judges selected Black Stock Footage, a stock video platform 100% focused on Black representation, as the winner of Endeavor Miami’s first pitch competition for Black entrepreneurs.
Black Stock Footage founder Imani Lee took home $25,000 in non-diluted cash, plus $25,000 worth of credits to utilize Microsoft’s Azure cloud service. Lee also gets the opportunity to be selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur as soon as Black Stock Footage qualifies. He said the funds would go toward getting the platform — which offers members access to unlimited downloads of video clips showcasing “the variety of hues, cultures, phenotypes, and activities of Black people” — up and running.
The Miami native, currently based in Tampa, came up with the idea after working as a videographer and realizing it was difficult to easily locate Black individuals on existing stock footage platforms.
“Right now, you have to type in ‘Black’ — but ‘Black’ is so encompassing, it’s such a general term,” Lee said. “I may be looking for a Black person but someone who lives in Asia, and that’s completely different than an African-American.”
Competition judge Marcell Haywood said Lee’s passion and drive to create a product that addresses racial inequities stood out. Haywood is founder and CEO of facilities services provider Encompass Onsite and an Endeavor entrepreneur.
“He’s working something that can be very meaningful in the world,” Haywood said. “It’s very rare that you have a market opportunity that also positively impacts and helps the world on a problem that needs help solving. He’s got the tiger by the tail and is building a business that is going to help the world be a better version of itself.”
Haywood and the competition’s two other judges — Jane Wooldrige, Miami Herald Business Editor, and Mariano Amartino, Director for the Americas at Microsoft for Startups — awarded second place to Rishielle Giscombe, founder of Glamo, a beauty-on-demand app that provides over 150 services to clients in the comfort of their home within minutes of their booking. Third place went to Brandon Chance, founder of Loan My Sole, a platform that allows “sneakerheads” to monetize their collections and experience more pairs.
Thursday’s pitch competition was sponsored by Microsoft for Startups and The Miami Herald. Thanks to support from Miami’s tech community, the competition will be extended for additional cohorts.
View the Miami Herald article at https://www.miamiherald.com/article252514783.html