Four Innovative African-American-led Startups in Durham

Durham is no stranger to African-American-led innovation.

Posted By Shayla Martin on Feb 02, 2018

As the home of Black Wall Street, a moniker for West Parrish street coined during the early 1900s thanks to the area’s wealth of black-owned businesses, Durham has a strong history of diversity and entrepreneurial prowess. “Durham's Black Wall Street is the blueprint,” says Phillipe Charles, Director of Communications & Member Experience at American Underground. “It is an early example of the collective power of Black entrepreneurs and businesses. By joining resources, wisdom, and efforts they yielded impressive results that defied the times.”

Flower Child Remedies, Inc.

It may be easy to find hair products that smell good enough to eat, but we doubt you’d want to actually ingest them. However, at Flower Child Remedies, Inc. , a Durham-based, all-natural hair care company, all products are made from edible ingredients like honey and shea butter, lacking artificial chemicals and preservatives. Duke graduate Tiana Horn formulated the idea for her company when she decided to cut her chemically relaxed hair and learn how to treat and nurture her naturally curly hair. What resulted was the company’s first product, coconut and Shea butter leave-in moisturizer. Flower Child Remedies also offers customized deep conditioners, coconut curl pudding, and a product subscription program.


Borrowing money from friends and family can be such an unsavory experience that many people avoid it altogether, but what if there was a way to streamline and formalize the process to satisfy the needs of everyone involved? Enter Loanable , a platform to help users create loan agreements among friends and family members, allowing lenders to negotiate repayment terms and interest rates. Loans are then repaid with monthly auto-drafts designed to lower loan default rates. The revolutionary program, founded by Bernard Worthy, even has the potential to disrupt student loan debt, with students utilizing loans from within their networks with lower interest rates, potentially saving them thousands of dollars from high-interest traditional loans.


Do you have dreams of traveling the world, but you’re not sure how to pay for it? Learn how to beat the system with RewardStock , a website that shows you how to travel on credit card reward points without completely blowing your budget. Founded by Jonathan Hayes, a former investment banker, it was his first-class honeymoon in the Maldives, completely paid for with points, that sparked the idea for RewardStock. If you don’t already have rewards points, no problem. The company’s algorithms help users create a custom plan to determine which credit card to apply for based on your travel goals and monthly budget, then the algorithms show you how to maximize points once you earn them.


Have you ever noticed that social media isn’t necessarily social? On traditional social media platforms, you may find yourself scrolling through content you don’t really care about and are less likely to interact with, rather than actually having a conversation with someone over similar interests. Bringing back the art of conversation is the idea behind Durham-based platform SpokeHub, an app that allows users to create chat rooms around different topics so people are more likely to engage and discuss. Led by Durham-native Robert Hartsfield Jr., SpokeHub has even caught the attention of celebrities like George Lopez, who started a chat room (or “hub”) for his latest television show.

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Learn about more African American-owned businesses in Durham, NC

About the Author

Shayla Martin