September 22, 2022

ACT Accelerator Reveals Cohort 3

After much anticipation, ACT Tulsa reveals Cohort 3 companies set to participate in the coveted 6-month accelerator for Black and Latino founders. Out of 187 applicants, only 9 were selected. From hosting multiple local events to traveling to six different cities, the ACT team made sure to leave no stone unturned for their third recruitment.

Founders of ACT Tulsa Cohort III

The team took weeks of interviewing and vetting the applicants, and even created an elaborate interview committee to help deliberate the final list, with key representatives from former ACT Tulsa cohorts, community partners at Build in Tulsa, and Venture Capital advisors.

“I am so proud to see the investment and outpouring of support for entrepreneurs like me,” said Patience Gitau, Founder of Nurse of Demand. “The Black community in Tulsa has endured so many hardships because of the Tulsa Race Massacre…Although this happened over a century ago, the ripple effect of this destruction has affected black businesses in the area to this day, putting us at a 100-year disadvantage.”

According to the Kauffman Firm Survey, the average level of startup capital among underestimated entrepreneurs is less than $35,000 compared with over $100,000 for White entrepreneurs. ACT Tulsa strategically offers accepted founders $70,000 in non-dilutive capital, so founders can be relieved from the stress of fundraising to focus on building a structurally-solid company.

“Although we may never get reparations, programs like ACT Tulsa give us entrepreneurs a fighting chance in the business world. I cannot be thankful enough for the opportunity,” said Gitau.

Arbit, Freelance Soul Professional Services, Good Girl Chocolate, Nurse on Demand, and The Red Tacos represent Oklahoman talent, while Athlytic, ∞edu, kinkofa, and Modi hail from Michigan, California, Texas, and Florida respectively. The selected industries range from CPG, SaaS, healthcare, food and beverage, and more, while more than half are female-founded.

“We’re excited and grateful to be a part of reclaiming and preserving the legacy of entrepreneurship in the historic Greenwood community,” said Jourdan Brunson, founder of kinkofa. “I’m looking forward to expanding our network, connecting with descendants, getting plugged in to community initiatives, and discovering local businesses to support.”

Brunson isn’t the only non-local who’s excited to build in Tulsa.

“I was a part of the Visible Hands first cohort and our retreat was actually in Tulsa. During our time there we were educated on the city of Tulsa and all the opportunities that were offered to help grow a high growth company there,” said Ashton Keys, founder of Athlytic. “I knew at that point that I wanted to get involved. I could just feel the energy that was happening in the city and when I heard about the ACT Tulsa program I was immediately sold.”

ACT Tulsa is a joint venture between ACT House and i2E with the mission to bridge the equity gap in the historic Greenwood district of Tulsa, OK and beyond. Outside of resources like game-changing capital, founders can expect to get tactical programming, advisor matching, performance coaching, skill development workshops, intensive one-on-one sessions, and more, over a 6-month period.

“Being born and raised in Tulsa, it’s extremely gratifying to see the growth that the city is facing,” said Taleya Mayberry-Smith, Program Director for ACT Tulsa. “But what’s even more exciting is that non-locals are recognizing what’s happening and feel inspired to come to Tulsa to experience it for themselves, create real impact, and to join the movement.”

So, who else made the cut? Check out the list below to get the first look of ACT Accelerator Cohort III (in alphabetical order).

Arbit | Venita Cooper

Venita Cooper

Arbit is a marketplace aggregator for the $10B secondary sneaker market. They solve a growing problem: buyers lack the information needed to make informed purchasing decisions. Using market data and analytics, buyers can move confidently in the market and achieve their purchasing goals. They promote market efficiency and transparency by collecting data from every available major online marketplace and equipping users with the data necessary to make the “right” choices for them. Currently valued at $10B, the global sneaker resell market is projected to grow to $30B+ by 2030. As more resellers enter the fray, Arbit will be positioned to address the fragmentation of information presently and gain a foothold in this booming sector.

Athlytic | Ashton Keys

Ashton Keys
Ashton Keys

Athlytic is a platform that helps student athletes learn and connect with brands to participate in name, image, and likeness campaigns. They’re a fully-integrated marketplace that connects users with potential monetization opportunities, so that they can take advantage of monetizing their likeness without taking away from their ability to perform at a high level in their prospective sports. By focusing on social analytics and vetted campaign templates, Athlytic helps brands identify, connect and interact with the right student athletes for campaigns to reach their target goals.

Freelance Soul Professional Services | Tim Butler & Brandee Butler

Brandee Butler (left) and Tim Butler (right)

Freelance Soul Professional Services is Tulsa’s premiere grant writing and fundraising consulting firm serving all 50 states remotely. Focusing on closing the wealth gap, they help businesses and nonprofits who are challenged in accessing capital get high-ROI funding by focusing on Founder education. As a “bootstrapping social enterprise” that started in the founders’ spare bedroom, the company has grown 3,999% in revenue in three years and is on-target to exceed six-figures by the end of 2022. Tim Butler is focused on his business full-time while developing a new tech platform that marries SaaS with grant writing/fundraising to help founders access billions lost in annual grants due to misalignment with funder goals and lack of organizational readiness.

Good Girl Chocolate | Dr. Tabatha Carr, ND

Dr. Tabatha Carr, ND

Good Girl Chocolate is Bean to Bar, which means they control every phase of the chocolate making process, starting with roasting the cocoa beans and grinding the beans into the chocolate. What’s even more impressive is that they’re a plant-based chocolate that supports all healthy lifestyles, including veganism, paleo, keto, gluten free, dairy free, and soy free.

As a 2021 Good Food Award Finalist, Good Girl Chocolate has been featured in the Gifting Lounge at the GRAMMY’S, in select OSCAR-nominee gift bags, on the Good Morning America show, and is a Beyonce’ grant recipient. And they’re just getting started.

∞edu | Naomi Thomas & Tarlon Khoubyari

Tarlon Khoubyari (left) and Naomi Thomas (right)

∞edu (InfinityEDU) is a tech career exploration and talent training marketplace where they aggregate courses from the top-learning platforms to turn brands into universities. By connecting passion with practicality, ∞edu allows you to learn through your favorite brands and roles you are interested in pursuing. With 1.2 million unfilled jobs needing diverse talent by 2026, their innovative platform bridges the gap between education and the tech workforce so brands will be better armed on training staff they want and need. The possibilities are infinite.

Kinkofa | Jourdan Brunson & Tameshia Rudd-Ridge

Jourdan Brunson (left) and Tameshia Rudd-Ridge (right)

kinkofa is a genealogy and genetics platform making it easier than ever for Afro-descended folx to uncover their family history. Today, genealogy research is stuck in the 20th Century. Poor UI design, fragmented tools and subscriptions, and de-prioritized records create a frustrating user experience for Black family history seekers. Still, African-Americans are spending $3B annually to uncover their roots.

“Our pasts can be complex, but the journey to find your story shouldn’t be,” says Brunson.

kinkofa enables family history seekers to uncover their history without endless record browsing, stitching together numerous tools or wasting time and money.

Modi | Catalina Del Risco, Ileana Del Risco, Andrea Del Risco

Andrea (left), Ileana (middle), Catalina (right)

Modi is a B2B SaaS company solving the $62.4 billion annual problem of apparel returns with proprietary algorithms and virtual sizing technology. Using AI technology to create clothing simulations, they can match individuals to the right products. They’re solving return costs and low conversions due to wrong-size selection in two phases: 1) a size recommender that’s used by 160+ retailers to enhance the shopper experience by virtually capturing measurements and recommending sizes, and 2) automating 3D body rendering processes in a virtual dressing room.

Nurse on Demand | Patience Gitau

Patience Gitau

Nurse on Demand is the “Uber of medical staffing” that leverages self-scheduling to solve the staffing shortage crisis in healthcare today. Built by healthcare leaders and business professionals, Nurse on Demand allows healthcare workers to work the jobs they want and get the pay they want by dealing with all of the issues from the corporate level to the ground floor. Their goal? To set a new standard for healthcare professionals so they can practice the freedom and flexibility they deserve.

The Red Tacos | Emmanuel Lujano, Jose Lujano, Citaly Lujano, Alma Lujano, Ma Refugio Haro

Emmanuel Lujano

The Red Tacos are a family-run business committed to cooking and serving authentically delicious Mexican birria tacos from Oklahoma.

“To eat authentic Mexican food there are only two ways, the first is to eat directly in Mexico and the second is to eat food made by the hands of native Mexican people, and that is us….We are the first generation of Mexicans who came directly from Mexico to start a business in which we offer food with authentic and real flavors.”

Fighting to break the mediocre expectations of bland, generic tacos, The Red Tacos aim to elevate and diversify the burgeoning culinary market in Tulsa, OK.

We’re looking forward to getting to know these founders on a deeper level in the next 6 months as their schedules are filling up with workshops, one-on-ones, performance coaching, advisor matching, and more! It’s going to be tough, but we have no doubt they’re up to the challenge.

Make sure to connect with them on LinkedIn, and follow us to stay posted on new updates!

ACT Tulsa

ACT Tulsa is a joint venture between ACT House and i2E. ACT Tulsa’s investment partners include: Biolchini Family Foundation, Coretz Family Foundation, George Kaiser Family Foundation, Schusterman Family Philanthropies, Swank Family Foundation, Vast Bank and the Zarrow Foundation.


Over our 22-year history, i2E’s nationally recognized services have provided business expertise and funding to more than 745 of Oklahoma’s emerging small businesses. With more than $90 million of investment capital under management, we are focused on serving Oklahoma companies in all phases of the business life cycle, from startups looking for their first round of capital to established businesses seeking funding to expand their markets or products. i2E, Inc, receives state support from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, and is an integral part of Oklahoma’s Innovation Model.

ACT House

ACT House is the global platform for team formation and startup creation, by helping innovators find their Founder DNA, build teams and accelerate their companies through accelerator programs. With offices in Tallahassee, FL and now Tulsa, OK, through the years ACT House has partnered with companies like Microsoft, John Deere, NexCubed, and higher ed institutions to accelerate innovation ecosystems by transforming entrepreneurs.

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