Meet the 2024 cohort of VHNYC

Visible Hands
6 min readFeb 22, 2024

Visible Hands — a venture capital firm that funds and empowers underrepresented founders launching high-growth startups — announces its second cohort of 15 entrepreneurs for VHNYC, a hybrid, nine-week Fellowship for NYC-based founders. The Fellowship program, created in partnership with the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) is targeted at early-stage entrepreneurs who are working on scalable tech-enabled solutions and/or venture-backed ideas reshaping leading industries.

Visible Hands and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYC EDC) have officially launched their second cohort for VHNYC, a now nine-week hybrid Founder Fellowship for 15 underrepresented founders building high-growth, tech, and tech-enabled businesses based in NYC. This group of 15 diverse founders from the five NYC boroughs will work over the next few months to take their startups to the next level in a hybrid-model program.

The founders who were accepted into VHNYC will get the guidance and support needed from the Visible Hands and NYCEDC teams to hit their next major startup milestone. The NYCEDC has granted each of the cohort’s entrepreneurs with $10K in non-dilutive funding to financially empower them to work on their startups, and Visible Hands will be providing company-building services over the course of the fellowship, as well as the opportunity for additional venture capital funding from the firm after successful completion of the program.

The fellowship was created to help underrepresented tech founders across NYC gain more traction in the early stages of their startup, with NYCEDC and Visible Hands hoping to be a strong foundation of support to fill the funding gap for overlooked entrepreneurs. The partners hope VHNYC will reflect the same amount of inspiring opportunity for the cohort as the city of New York does for entrepreneurship as a whole.

Many talented individuals applied for VHNYC’s first cohort, and Visible Hands is excited to partner with the NYC EDC to create a New York-specific program for 15 new founders.

“Witnessing last year’s Founder Fellowship’s success ignited our excitement to partner with NYCEDC again,” said Justin Kang, Visible Hands Co-Founder and General Partner. “This program is a powerful example of how inclusion fuels innovation, empowering underrepresented entrepreneurs to build thriving businesses. New York City, a global hub for innovation and diverse populations, provides the perfect backdrop for this impactful initiative.”

VHNYC is an extension of the Visible Hands mission to support overlooked talent, in partnership with NYCEDC’s efforts to create more inclusion in the startup ecosystem.

Here are the amazing 15 founders and startups who make up the inaugural VHNYC cohort:

Amir Sigari, Monocle

Monocle provides AI Operations Agents bridging the gap between inventory and marketing for eCommerce merchants.

Website | LinkedIn

Anthony Lewis, Emerge

Emerge is a consolidated vertical Dental software solution that combines practice management, revenue cycle management and patient communication into one intuitive, cloud-based software solution.

Website

Anthony Matos, Shubox

Shubox is building the most extensive database of small businesses where lenders can instantly see performance and business owners can receive AI-generated feedback on operations and intelligent matching with lenders in one easy application.

Website | LinkedIn

Daniel Jayeoba & Oyebade Adepegba, Guideli

Guideli is an AI Co-Pilot for navigating the immigration process and permanent residency applications.

Website | LinkedIn | Instagram

Deepak Shrivastava, Sunrise AI

Sunrise AI is on a mission to revolutionize credit assessments. They provide AI-powered credit checks that go beyond traditional methods. Their technology leverages machine learning to analyze extensive user-permissioned open banking and alternative data, resulting in more accurate, equitable, and inclusive credit scores.

Website | LinkedIn | Instagram

Devin Abraham, Liiv

Liiv is a tech enabled real estate startup that leverages its SaaS products to provide seamless rental solutions to both tenants and landlords.

Website | LinkedIn

Elizabeth Wexler, Spennie

Spennie offers brands a seamless integration to support their registry efforts all while helping engaged couples register for, and discover, unique brands and products throughout the wedding registry experience.

Website | LinkedIn | Instagram

Emilie Rodriguez, The Bridge Directory

The Bridge Directory is a platform for perinatal health professionals of color and a community for the families we serve. We are on a mission to heal the disparities in healthcare from within by training institutions and providers, redefining expectations in care, and closing the access gap. We are creating a nationwide referral network made up of professionals of color offering high-quality services that integrate the needs of the whole family from family planning, to pregnancy, postpartum, and beyond, starting with New York City & State and expanding to the DC area in 2024. We intend to raise the standard of maternal health from the baseline of alive to thriving through our integrative model of care.

Website | LinkedIn | Instagram

Holly Diamond, Work Onward

Work Onward is a map-based local hiring platform for restaurants and storefront businesses.

Website | LinkedIn | Instagram

Kyle Patel, 1 Climate

1Climate’s mission is to accelerate clean energy deployments by seamlessly integrating AI into the project development process. They’re building an end-to-end platform that brings automation to each step of project development, starting with streamlining the permitting, interconnection, and incentive due diligence and filing processes. With their tools, clean energy developers can deploy projects more confidently and efficiently, reducing the $26 billion spent annually on solar soft costs.

Website | LinkedIn

Laura Schaack, Tattd

Tattd is a platform for Clients to discover, book and pay their perfect Tattoo Artist. With a data-aggregated search, database of vetted Artists, and insurance on your ink, Tattd is the only simple & safe way to get tattooed.

Website | LinkedIn | Instagram

Michael Odokara-Okigbo, NKENNE

NKENNE is the most downloaded African language learning and translations app in market

Website | LinkedIn | Instagram

Rena Ogura, Night Inn

Night Inn is reimagining the way high-end hospitality talent works. They are a freelance marketplace enabling high-end hospitality professionals (Sommeliers, Chefs, etc.) to monetize their talents.

Website | LinkedIn

Shab Caspara, Leona

Leona is the first guided hair growth retail platform for women, leveraging cosmetic chemistry, AI, and founder Shab’s extensive trichology expertise to match women to the latest hair growth solutions.

Website | LinkedIn | Instagram

Stephanie Downs, Uncaged Innovations Inc.

Uncaged Innovations is a biomaterials company combining the power of nature and technology to reimagine leather.

Website | LinkedIn

--

--

Visible Hands

Visible Hands is a VC fund with a 14-week, virtual-first fellowship program that supports overlooked talent in building technology startups.