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In this episode of Founder Hustle with Melissa Bradley, our guest is Naza Shelley, the founder of CarpeDM, a value-driven matchmaking service for professional Black women. Naza, an attorney turned matchmaker, recognized the need to make the dating experience easier for Black women, who often face lower rates of engagement, racism, hyper-sexualization, and even violence on mainstream dating apps.Naza shares her journey of pivoting from law to entrepreneurship and discusses her passion for solving major dating challenges. She highlights the collaborative effort she made with a Black female psychologist to create a comprehensive questionnaire that feeds into CarpeDM’s algorithm, leading to more compatible matches.
During the episode, Melissa and Naza delve into the challenges of raising capital and the importance of being open to pivoting in the entrepreneurial journey. They also touch on CarpeDM’s current expansion plans, with a focus on bringing the service to Atlanta after successfully launching in the DMV area.
If you’re single and interested in influencing CarpeDM’s expansion decision, visit and enter your city. Join Melissa Bradley and Naza Shelley as they explore the inspiring story behind CarpeDM and the drive to revolutionize the dating landscape for Black women.

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0:00:05.7 Melissa Bradley: From New Majority Ventures and Kinetic Energy Entertainment, this is Founder Hustle.

0:00:11.6 Naza Shelley: For other dating services. The value to them is just having you on the platform and numbers. They don’t care if your account is fake. They don’t care if you are a serial killer. They don’t care.

0:00:20.2 MB: Clearly.


0:00:20.8 NS: As long as you’re a body on the thing that they can count towards, and they can sell advertising based on how many people are on their platform, then they’re okay. For us, we’re like,” we don’t wanna follow that model”. We want our model to be value driven, where our members say, “I see so much value in what is it that you’re providing, that I am eager to pay you what you’re asking, and I would potentially pay you more.”

0:00:41.5 MB: Welcome to Founder Hustle, a podcast series by, for, and about the new Majority Entrepreneur. I’m your host, Melissa Bradley, founder of 1863 Ventures and co-founder of New Majority Ventures. The road from founder to CEO can be both hard and rewarding. So in each episode of Founder Hustle, I interview a new majority entrepreneur to find out what their journey really looks like. As a CEO, founder, professor, and general partner of a venture firm, I know how valuable good information and resources are for the new majority. Through shared tools, strategies, and life lessons, we’re here to enlighten, uplift, and educate anyone interested in this entrepreneurial ecosystem so that you too can go from founder to CEO.

0:01:30.2 MB: Have you ever used a dating app? Since I’ve been married for 18 years, I was clueless about the current dating game. In speaking with Naza, I realized the curation behind finding a soulmate is a bit more than chance. Like many black female founders, necessity is the mother of invention. In this case, Naza wasn’t struggling with hair care, beauty products or the like. As a successful lawyer making six figures, she was seeking a mate. So she became a matchmaker.


0:02:02.8 MB: Naza Shelley, founder and CEO of CarpeDM. What is CarpeDM?

0:02:08.5 NS: CarpeDM is a dating service and a matchmaking service designed for singles, interested in dating professional black women.

0:02:15.9 MB: So that’s not usually where you expect black founders to be. Usually we’re starting hair care products. Or we’re starting some food products or maybe like, we’re trying to build some little tinker tech. So where did this idea come from to have a dating site?

0:02:30.0 NS: Well, you know, and they say what? Necessity, is the mother of invention.

0:02:32.9 MB: Oh. Oh, okay. All right.


0:02:34.3 NS: So just being single, working, living in DC, I was trying all the apps, on all the apps, trying to find love, trying to find my person, and just struggling. And I didn’t think that apps were actually built to help me succeed. And so when I was looking for a service or anything, at that point I was an attorney making six figures.

0:02:52.9 MB: Alright then.

0:02:53.0 NS: And I was like, “I could put a little bit of money behind this.”

0:02:54.3 MB: First of all, you shouldn’t needed a service. Come on.


0:02:56.3 MB: You were an attorney making six figures. Come on.

0:02:57.5 NS: I know. It shouldn’t be that hard. Right?

0:02:58.8 MB: But you gotta leave the office so to find a mate?


0:03:00.7 NS: It’s very hard to leave the office then leave the house. But I feel like I was relatively social, and…

0:03:05.0 MB: Okay.

0:03:05.5 NS: It wasn’t that I couldn’t find good dates. It just wasn’t the right connections. Right. So I kind of felt like dating apps give you access to a lot of people, but the quality isn’t what it’s designed for. Right. So.

0:03:17.7 MB: Gotcha.

0:03:18.3 NS: I was like, well, “Maybe I should try a matchmaking service or do something different” and then getting turned away by those ’cause they don’t actually service and have clientele that look like me and that I would wanna be connected with.

0:03:28.2 MB: Gotcha.

0:03:28.7 NS: And just being like, “so where are black women supposed to turn?”, and then talking to my black female friends, like, “what are you guys doing?” “Struggling. Just like you.” “Where are you going?” “Nowhere”. Like, “I’m giving up on dating” and I’m just like, “this shouldn’t be this way.” Like, we’re dope. Amazing.

0:03:42.7 MB: Absolutely.

0:03:43.3 NS: Beautiful. There are like, so many things that make us desirable.

0:03:46.9 MB: Queens.

0:03:47.3 NS: Queens, right?

0:03:48.1 MB: Yes.

0:03:48.5 NS: And so I just thought, well, I could either resolve that there’s nothing for us. And just be like, “all right”, well, or make something. And so I say that I’m a founder by like happenstance. Like I kind of stumbled into it not even knowing like what a tech founder was. Not knowing anything about a startup life or venture. I just had an idea, and I was like, well,” how do people go about making ideas reality?” And then one thing I can say about law school, they say that they don’t teach you what to think. They teach you how to think.

0:04:17.1 MB: I think, that helped.

0:04:19.0 NS: Yeah. So that…

0:04:19.7 MB: That and engineering?

0:04:20.2 NS: Yeah. Yeah. That… So that’s really how things got started and how I stumbled into becoming a tech founder.

0:04:25.7 MB: So you entered a market that seems like it’s over saturated. Again, mea culpa, I was like, “how are you different?” So talk to me about the market and why?

0:04:35.9 NS: Yeah. Well, when our team sat down and looked at the industry, we were like, “okay, so this is a $9 billion market.”

0:04:42.3 MB: That’s a lot of money.

0:04:43.0 NS: It’s a lot of money. Where is it coming from? And it’s actually bifurcated. There’s dating apps and then there’s matchmaking services, which would be your high-end matchmakers to like services, like a Tawkify or a three-day rule or something like that. Surprisingly, over half of the industry revenue is actually being generated by the matchmaking services.

0:05:01.2 MB: Wow.

0:05:01.6 NS: But everybody talks about the dating apps.

0:05:03.7 MB: Dating apps. Right?

0:05:04.0 NS: So we were like,” how do we bring some of that revenue generation from the matchmaking services into our product.” And so we thought, let’s thread the needle between the two sides of the industry. So that we can simultaneously elevate the experience that people have on dating apps, while also making matchmaking services more accessible and affordable to other people. And bringing the efficacy of matchmaking to a new group of people who’s typically not that exposed to the concept, which is black women in black America specifically.

0:05:32.9 MB: So I love the intentionality of that. Of saying, “look, I know customers say they’re looking for dating apps. But what keeps them there is the fact there’s matchmaking services.” And you put them together into what I would say was an empty white space. So when you say $9 billion, I’m making a bet that you’re gonna make a billion dollars.

0:05:48.2 NS: Yeah, I’ll take that bet.

0:05:49.3 MB: Okay.


0:05:50.6 MB: When I first met you, I wasn’t sure what the difference was between a dating app and a matchmaking services. So what differentiates the two?

0:05:56.4 NS: It really is the concierge service. People are paying for another person to kind of step in and help them navigate the world of trying to find someone meaningful. So liking it to having a personal trainer, a chef.

0:06:08.7 MB: A personal shopper.

0:06:09.3 NS: A personal shopper, a chef…

0:06:10.1 MB: Yep. Yep.

0:06:10.8 NS: Where people understand that they need help in these areas of their life.

0:06:13.7 MB: I love it.

0:06:14.7 NS: And so they supplement it with help. And that’s what a matchmaker does, right? So we call ourselves an introductory service. We introduce you to people that we believe would be a great fit for what is that you’re looking for? We let you guys take it from there.

0:06:27.4 MB: Gotcha.

0:06:27.7 NS: And we just, we power that with an app that makes it convenient and easy for you to do.

0:06:31.6 MB: So before we dive into your journey, if I were to go on the app, although I’m gonna say I’m happily married. 18 years. But if I were to go on the app, how would my experience look different than somebody else’s app?

0:06:41.2 NS: Yeah. So for one, there’s no swiping. So majority of dating apps today are swipe driven.

0:06:47.1 MB: Okay.

0:06:47.2 NS: And so we think that swiping is the devil. [laughter] Like we just think that…

0:06:50.9 NS: I would agree.

0:06:51.2 NS: People are so superficial. And so…

0:06:53.3 MB: Right, well psychologically you’re throwing somebody away.

0:06:55.4 NS: Yes. Psychologically. And then it really devalues the matches that you actually do make.

0:07:00.5 MB: Gotcha.

0:07:00.7 NS: And the psychology between the way men swipe and women swipe is so different that I’m surprised that people find matches and like love on dating apps at all. So for us, we send you high quality curated matches, either directly from a matchmaker on our team hand selected or curated by our proprietary algorithm.

0:07:18.4 MB: Wow.

0:07:18.5 NS: So you get the best of both worlds. Our desire is to elevate the overall experience of online dating while bringing traditional expensive high-end matchmaking the cost and accessibility down so that people with everyday salaries or whatever can access it and use it. And so you would get a match that’s either hand selected or algorithm curated and then you have 72 hours to decide…

0:07:41.4 MB: Oh wow.

0:07:41.9 NS: If you wanna have a video chat, you get on the video chat and you guys have to talk for at least five to 10 minutes. So we want, everything that we do is intentional to push you towards…

0:07:50.3 MB: So you give prompt questions too.

0:07:51.8 NS: We give, as for your questions…

0:07:52.2 MB: Because five to 10 minutes, can seem like a long time, but they’re like, woo. [laughter] Okay. I think I’m done.

0:07:55.6 NS: And it’s so funny ’cause sometimes women are like 10. That’s not enough time. And then guys are like, that’s too much time. Right. [chuckle] So we feel like the sweet spot is about five minutes. Because it simulates like someone walking up to you like in person. And maybe being like at a bar and saying like, do you want a drink? Having a five minute conversation. By the end of that time you’re kind of either exchanging numbers or like parting ways.

0:08:14.6 MB: Nice talking to you.

0:08:15.8 NS: Yeah. So we try to simulate that in a virtual capacity. So not only would you get icebreaker questions, but your matchmaker might send you a tidbit about the person as well.

0:08:23.9 MB: Oh, okay.

0:08:24.0 NS: So me knowing your match, I might send something like, Hey I’m introducing you to John or Sarah and she, wants to be married in the next three years and she, family is really important to her. That might be something that I know as a matchmaker that you may not otherwise know to help facilitate your conversation. Then you guys have this, the talk. If you guys like each other at the end of it, then we move you on to the chat platform where you guys can actually text each other, or host more video calls and deepen your relationship. And me as your matchmaker, I’m along on the journey with you. So I’m able to see if you’re having success, I’m able to see feedback.

0:08:56.6 MB: So you can read the messages.

0:08:57.8 NS: So no…

0:08:58.3 MB: Okay.

0:09:00.9 NS: Absolutely not. [chuckle] So I can see if you guys have started messaging.

0:09:04.4 MB: Okay.

0:09:04.6 NS: I cannot read your messages.

0:09:05.8 MB: Okay.

0:09:06.1 NS: But I can see, hey, you guys had a video date.

0:09:06.2 MB: So somebody sends it and then it took the other person an hour. Like there’s a problem. Okay.

0:09:10.9 NS: Well like you guys match after the video date and no one sends a message.

0:09:13.6 MB: Gotcha. Okay. Okay.

0:09:14.4 NS: And so then I might check in and say, hey, you guys both said you liked each other but no one has taken the next step.

0:09:19.5 MB: Gotcha.

0:09:19.9 NS: Or you guys… It seems like you guys are messaging each other. What’s the next step for a date? And kind of push you guys along.

0:09:26.2 MB: Gotcha. Which is real life.

0:09:27.2 NS: Real life.

0:09:27.6 MB: ‘Cause you get to a certain age and your parents are like, are you dating yet? [laughter] Do you want me to help you out? Did you follow up? Did you call?

0:09:32.5 NS: Right, right.

0:09:33.5 MB: So okay, that’s real. That’s real.

0:09:33.8 NS: And we get, we get busy. So, okay. It’s been two days. Some people don’t… It’s surprising to me how bad a lot of great people are at actually dating. They don’t actually know how to interact with people in a certain way. So I think that’s another reason why we’re missing connections. Some people just need a helping hand. Which is what we kind of provide. And the other interesting thing that definitely differentiates us from other dating apps is the feedback loop. So we think, and one thing that people don’t know is what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong.

0:10:01.5 MB: Oh, so I can tell you.

0:10:02.6 NS: Yeah. So you can tell us…

0:10:04.3 MB: Okay. Okay.

0:10:05.0 NS: And we…

0:10:06.0 MB: He was an ass and you’ll translate in, you know John, [laughter] if you had not said it in that tone. Okay. Okay. That’s good.

0:10:12.9 NS: Yeah. And so we start to aggregate these dating analytics as we call them, about each member so that when we do our matchmaker check-in or something, we can say, “Hey Melissa the people that you met with, majority of them are saying that you’re… ” and this would never happen to you, “but they’re saying you’re very boring on the video calls.” Like, they’re not engaged with you, so let’s work on that. Or like, nobody likes your photos.

0:10:32.1 MB: And they would say, you seem to always be multitasking [laughter] while you are on this call.

0:10:37.2 NS: Right. Right. And so that allows us to help our members date better with the sole goal of actually helping people find the meaningful relationships they’re looking for.

0:10:45.2 MB: I gotcha. I love that ’cause it’s not about like how many connects do you get? Like the metrics are maybe not officially, but how much better do I know myself? So I know who to attract.

0:10:55.2 NS: Exactly.

0:10:55.7 MB: I love it. Okay. You don’t have to answer this question, but have you used it and does it work?

0:11:00.4 NS: It’s so funny. Everyone asks me about it.

0:11:01.7 MB: Well you got, ’cause you gotta ask. You gotta ask.

0:11:03.4 NS: It’s funny, I was, we were just doing an event with live, like a live event with singles a week and half ago. And one of the guys comes up to me, and he’s like, are you on the platform? And I’m like, I’m not. But I was talking to one of my team members and I told her, I was like, I think I’m gonna let you be my matchmaker. I kind of think it’s unfair for me to be my own matchmaker.

0:11:21.5 MB: Okay. Fair enough. Fair enough.

0:11:21.9 NS: Picking all the dates for myself.

0:11:22.6 MB: Fair enough. Fair enough.

0:11:24.2 NS: And I was like, between the algorithm and…

0:11:25.4 MB: There is gonna be a conflict of interest in there somehow.

0:11:26.9 NS: Complete conflict of interest. And so I was like, between the algorithm and another member of my team…

0:11:31.9 MB: Okay.

0:11:32.5 NS: I will definitely be on the platform.

0:11:33.4 MB: So, and we’re gonna get to the business. But I’m intrigued ’cause my wife used to maybe watch the Millionaire Matchmaker Show. So is that how it works in real life?

0:11:40.8 NS: If you have that type of money, absolutely. [laughter]

0:11:43.8 MB: Okay.

0:11:44.3 NS: If you have that Millionaire Matchmaker type of money. For most people that interact with a typical date matchmaker, it’s less like high-end like that. Like you do interact with them, they find out what you’re looking for, what you like, and then they go on the hunt to find someone.

0:11:57.8 MB: But the curation. That’s very similar to the role you play as a matchmaker.

0:12:00.8 NS: Yes.

0:12:01.0 MB: I like that. ‘Cause what you get on that algorithm sometimes it’s just if you’re having a bad day, you get bad dates.

0:12:05.9 NS: Exactly.

0:12:07.1 MB: Okay.

0:12:07.7 NS: And the good thing is like we worked with a black female psychologist on creating our questionnaire, which feeds our algorithm and like we really honed in on the types of questions and responses that lead to compatible matches. So we’re gonna ask you anything from, are your parents still together? What are their relationship? What was your childhood like when you guys were, when you were growing up.

0:12:25.3 MB: Deep.

0:12:25.5 NS: Right. Because the responses to that actually impact the likelihood that you’ll be compatible with someone. So it’s not just age, sex, location and like your birthdate. I mean.

0:12:34.7 MB: Favorite color. Favorite food.

0:12:36.2 NS: Exactly. So it’s a deeper level than that and that’s why we say that our matches are actually very curated.

0:12:42.3 MB: That’s cool. I’m gonna divulge here. I didn’t grow up with very many successful marriages in my life. So I was like why do people get married? It just seems stressful. So that would have been a good question and to be like do not connect her with somebody who’s trying to get married tomorrow. Yes. Okay. I got you. So what were you doing before you became a matchmaker?

0:13:00.4 NS: I was an attorney. Oh yes. An attorney working for the DC government I went to…

0:13:03.4 MB: Oh God bless you. Okay.

0:13:05.1 NS: I know actually love my job. I did. I was a regulatory utility regulatory attorney. I worked at an agency for the DC Government called the Public Service Commission. It’s a state version of FERC like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. And you know what I loved about my job the most is most people there were black. Like so my supervisors were black. Like the leaders of the commission were black. And so someone coming from like a primarily white college I went to UVA. Then I went into Howard for law school. And then into the…

0:13:33.7 MB: Woo, Culture Swap.

0:13:35.0 NS: Cult… Very much a culture swap. But I had while there were still issues at any job like I didn’t have the issue of like challenging like your intelligence or anything like that because I felt like I was very much surrounded by older attorneys who were grooming me and really believed in like my capability. So.

0:13:50.8 MB: And you have that whack partner track that is highly personalized. Not like there’s no algorithm. It’s like I think I like you today. You’ll make it…

0:13:58.6 NS: And I, this is simultaneously as other friends of mine are at big firms and great for the money but not necessarily for my ideal of what type of lifestyle I wanted.

0:14:08.7 MB: So when did you decide to leave?

0:14:10.3 NS: That was such a hard decision. So it’s like when I decided to leave versus when I actually told them I was gonna leave versus my actual left.

0:14:18.7 MB: Oh, It’s a recurring theme here, recurring theme, recurring theme? Yep.

0:14:21.2 NS: So I decided to leave one morning when I woke up and I was so stressed out. I was having like physical ramifications from the amount of stress that I was under trying to run a startup. And trying to work a full-time job. And so I told myself I was like I can’t do this. Like I can’t do both these things anymore. And we were trying to like fundraise and not having any traction not having any success. And I was just like I cannot be one foot in and one foot out. You know I was literally taking meetings like in my lunch break or leaving work in order to like go to pitch investors in the middle of the day.

0:14:57.4 MB: That is a challenge of working for the government. ‘Cause you gotta be on the up and up. You can’t be trying to sneak stuff. Yeah.

0:15:02.1 NS: Absolutely. And this is pre pandemic. So everything was in person like, if you wanted to meet an investor you had to like go where they were. It was the winter of 2019, I finally was like okay. I was like do I have a plan? Like can I actually leave my job? And I had some savings. I had a lot of money in my 401k just ’cause I was like a really good saver. And I was like well if I do this like I can technically take this leap and give myself like six months. Like can I make this work? And at first, first I asked for a sabbatical from my job.


0:15:38.6 NS: I think I was like…

0:15:39.1 MB: And the government said?

0:15:40.3 NS: They were like. Oh, no.

0:15:41.7 MB: Okay. ‘Cause I was like write that down. Everybody’s gonna be like I need a sabbatical. Okay.

0:15:46.3 NS: I think that they regretted that that they regretted… They regretted telling me no. So I was actually leading the biggest like public engagement case in my commission’s history. And so I was like one of the leading attorneys in the commission. And so it kind of was like a big deal. I was like I’m gonna leave. And so they asked me to stay in order to get these like some orders out that they needed. And so I was like come on I’ll stay till December. I ended up leaving finally the end of January 2020. And I was doing the independent founder thing for two months. I was at WeWork and I was like I’m doing this thing. Like and then the COVID hit so…

0:16:22.0 MB: You’re like oh whoa. Wait can I come back to my job? Is that case still happening? Wow. And so what did you say? You were like oh shit I probably shouldn’t have done this.

0:16:31.1 NS: Yeah. You know at the time we were like we’re gonna go to New York. So we had an app in the market. We had a little over 10000 users. The majority of them were in New York. So we were like maybe we’ll have better traction raising capital if we go to where our users are. We’ll learn more and we’ll raise capital there. So we were going to move to New York at least for the summer. And then COVID hit and it hit New York so hard that I definitely, we ain’t going to New York.

0:16:51.8 MB: Good to know you didn’t go.

0:16:53.3 NS: And so then I was like I’m sitting in my apartment I’m pa… Like I’m just over leveraged. I have all these expenses and I was alone. And so I was just like why am I doing this to myself? You know? And it was cool when I was going out of the house every day but during COVID I was literally between 900 square feet of going from my couch to my sofa to my table. And so I was just like you know what I wanna move back home. So at first I was gonna rent my condo out and move home. So I called my parents they live in Woodbridge, Virginia. And I was like what do you think about me coming home? And I’m so so blessed that my mom has been always been super supportive of me. And she was like you can come home if you wanna come home.

0:17:29.6 MB: Of course.

0:17:29.8 NS: So I didn’t you know how you don’t think it’s actually happening until my mom and my aunt are at my house…

0:17:36.4 MB: Packing your shit up.

0:17:37.4 NS: Helping me pack my shit up.

0:17:39.8 MB: Wow.

0:17:40.2 NS: Yeah.

0:17:40.9 MB: So did you sell the condo or you kept it?

0:17:41.3 NS: I ended up selling it because it was in the middle of COVID. I was like I don’t know what’s gonna happen. I don’t wanna also add being a landlord you know what I’m saying? To the stress that I already have. So I had made a lot of money out off the property. So with that and my 401k which I liquidated I was like I’m out. And I was like you got a little bit of time now that you can focus on this. So.

0:18:01.1 MB: I love it. All in.

0:18:01.7 NS: All in.

0:18:03.1 MB: So, if I were to log on not that I will but if I were to log on what would I see different today versus February 2020?

0:18:12.2 NS: So in February 2020 we had a dating app on the market that was not at all like what I described at the beginning of this. So we had a video-based dating app that anyone could use. And it was mainly in the market in New York. We pulled that app off the market in July of 2020 and sat down and retooled. And I was like it’s really hard to raise capital. I was like I have this money, my money. And I was like what do I want to build? Like not what I want to build because I think obviously I wanted to make money but I was like I want to… What do I… What solution would I truly want as an individual like dating? And so we went to the drawing board me and my team and we revamped what we were doing in the middle of COVID and decided to pivot to our new model. And so it will look completely different. Like it’s not even the same app but just the same name.

0:19:02.7 MB: Gotcha. Were you afraid to pivot?

0:19:04.2 NS: I was. There’s some like the concept of like sunk costs where you’re like whoa…

0:19:08.8 MB: Time and money?

0:19:09.4 NS: Time and money.

0:19:10.1 MB: And you can’t get the time back. The money you go you gonna get it back I guarantee. But the time is hard. Yeah.

0:19:14.5 NS: And also the fact that we had more users.

0:19:17.5 MB: That’s right.

0:19:18.5 NS: Like COVID hit and we were growing 20% month over month. So we were getting more and more people onto the platform but it just didn’t feel like it was the right platform for us. And I was like, so yes, I’ve proven that video chatting is like a way for people to engage, which was kind of like a done moment during COVID, but it was what we were running around trying to convince investors of for like a year before that. Instead of…

0:19:41.4 MB: Well now we’re all used to being on video. Those were the only means of communication.

0:19:42.6 NS: But then it also highlighted that, okay well maybe that was just like a feature set. It was a different way of video chatting than other apps. But it’s really hard to explain that in a marketing campaign, right?

0:19:52.9 MB: That’s right.

0:19:54.8 NS: Like the differentiator. So we were like, one, I’m tired of freemium model. Like I don’t want the members to be the product. I want to actually solve some of these major dating solutions. The violence, the fake profiles, the scamming.

0:20:07.4 MB: Harassment. Yeah.

0:20:10.2 NS: Yeah. So like, how do we actually do that? And that’s how we came up with CarpeDM.

0:20:13.2 MB: So there’s so much there, but I think the one big takeaway is particularly the tech space as a founder, you should not be building a solution so that you can raise money. You have to build a solution to solve the problem.

0:20:26.5 NS: Yes. Absolutely.

0:20:27.8 MB: In that, I want to talk about the pricing for a little bit, because you said you were done with the freemium models. Which I think for a long time, and many of those companies are no longer around. If they get you on the platform, they’ll stay. But you’ve got to make it worthwhile for somebody to stay. And even in your case, lots of dating apps. So talk to me how you decided no freemium, and then how did you get to this pricing model?

0:20:46.5 NS: Yeah. So the no freemium was because we were like, we are going to provide value. And so for other dating services where the value to them is just having you on the platform and numbers, they don’t care if your account’s fake. They don’t care if you’re a serial killer. They don’t care as long, as your body on the thing that they can count towards and they can sell advertising based on how many people on their platform. Then they’re okay. For us we’re like, we don’t want to follow that model. We want our model to be value driven where our members say, I see so much value in what it is that you’re providing, that I am eager to pay you what you’re asking. And I would potentially pay you more. And so that was our goal there.

0:21:26.5 MB: Okay. Then how did you get to this pricing? How many tiers are there? Because pricing is a hard thing.

0:21:31.2 NS: It’s so hard.

0:21:31.8 MB: People say, well, what are they charging? Okay, I’m gonna charge more, I’m gonna charge less. But based on what you described, there were no comps. There’s no comparables for what you’re trying to do. And let’s be clear, nobody’s checking for Black women on dating apps. So talk about that pricing plan. Yeah.

0:21:43.1 NS: So a couple of different things. We did do a market comparison. So we looked at the value. What value do existing dating apps have? And what do they charge for it? Then we looked at matchmaking services. Why are they able to charge so much? And what value do they provide? And then if we’re trying to be in the middle, what’s the mix of value and price that would make sense for us? Then we ran focus groups. So we took that pricing and we brought together groups of women and men that are in our target demographic. And we said, here’s the service. Would you pay for it? How much would you pay for it? Now what if we told you it cost this much? What if we like are these features the features that you would like? And that’s how we kind of tried to test the value proposition. And what we’ve actually found out is that people may pay more than we’re actually charging. Because we are charging $750 up to $1,800, depending on the number of matches that you’re getting. And you can either buy six months or an entire year of service. And so if you think about a competitor, they may be charging you $500 for one date. Right? And so…

0:22:41.2 MB: What?

0:22:43.2 NS: Yes.

0:22:43.7 MB: I’m glad I’m off the market. [laughter] Okay.

0:22:46.8 NS: Stay off the market.

0:22:46.9 MB: That’s ridiculous. Okay. Wow.

0:22:47.1 NS: Stay in your happy home.

0:22:48.1 MB: And so it’s $750 and then I get X amount of dates for X amount of time.

0:22:52.5 NS: Yes.

0:22:53.3 MB: I mean, it still sounds really cheap. ‘Cause you are, when I think about the opportunity cost, I have so many friends who are saying, well, find me somebody. I’m like, I can’t find one. I’m certainly not gonna find 30. But the opportunity cost of dating, going places, buying all these clothes. I mean, in reality that’s pretty cheap.

0:23:11.6 NS: That’s what we tell people. We are like, those are introductory prices, but absolutely we think, what’s the value to you? Like your time, the time that you would otherwise be using swiping on this app. And then we tell people, we’re like the beauty, the good thing about dating apps is that they’re convenient. The bad thing about dating apps is that they present you so much quantity with no way to filter for quality that you’re wasting so much of your time, which to me reduces the convenience factor, right?

0:23:38.1 MB: Absolutely.

0:23:39.1 NS: So for us, it’s like, okay, you’re gonna pay, you’re gonna interact, but the matches that we send you are gonna be quality and they’re gonna be people that you want to interact with. Right. And so to me, that increases convenience.

0:23:50.0 MB: Absolutely.

0:23:52.3 NS: So that’s really what our goal is.


0:23:53.1 MB: We’ll be back with more Founder Hustle after the break.


0:24:00.3 MB: Welcome back to Founder Hustle. Here’s more of my conversation with Naza Shelley.


0:24:05.8 MB: When you first started, was it for Black women?

0:24:07.9 NS: It wasn’t. It was for anyone. It wasn’t specifically for Black women.

0:24:12.0 MB: And so now why Black women? What’s our competitive advantage?

0:24:16.3 NS: One founder market fit. I definitely felt like…

0:24:21.1 MB: I love that, yes. Yes.

0:24:23.0 NS: I definitely felt like this is the solution that I would want for myself. But then also talking to other Black women, I realized that we have a very particular pain point in the dating industry that’s not shared even by Black men. Right. And so…

0:24:32.4 MB: What’s the pain point?

0:24:34.9 NS: We have lower rates of engagement on dating apps. We’re considered less desirable. We get more racist and hyper-sexualized advances on dating apps. We face more violence from people that we meet on dating apps. I don’t know if anybody heard of the shopping cart killer that was just putting Black women’s bodies in shopping carts. And that’s not, that’s just one story.

0:24:53.8 MB: So what we see in real life just kind of explodes on these platforms without any mediation.

0:25:00.7 NS: Exactly.

0:25:00.8 MB: Yeah. Okay.

0:25:02.7 NS: And then we’re under leveraged. We’re dope. We got money. You know what am saying, like we’re spending it in other places. But nothing was created for us to kind of leverage like what we could bring to the table by solving our problem. And so that’s why we really were like, “Okay I definitely relate wholly to this problem. I’m passionate about solving this problem for myself and women that look like me.” And so that’s why we ended up going all in for Black women.

0:25:21.5 MB: Well I appreciate you going on for Black women. And recently you had a success. There were some other investors who went all in on you as a Black woman. What was it like to raise your first million. ‘Cause you joined the ranks of I think still is less than 100 of us. So what was that like?

0:25:37.4 NS: It’s funny because when we started our… I’m gonna I’m gonna tell the truth. Okay.

0:25:43.1 MB: Yes.

0:25:43.9 NS: So when we started our raise do you know how much we were trying to raise?

0:25:46.8 MB: I’m gonna say $200,000.

0:25:49.0 NS: $100,000.

0:25:50.6 MB: Oh, see we always undercut ourselves.

0:25:52.9 NS: Yeah. So it was one of those things where I was like okay I’ve put my money in. Okay how much do we actually need to get this product to market? Right. And in talking to investors they’re like you’re gonna need way more money. I’m like no, no, no, no, no. That’s all, that’s all we’re gonna need ’cause not because it’s all that we need but because it was so hard to raise anything that I was like well maybe if we ask for less we’ll end up getting it. And so then we just started talking to the right people. And by the right people I mean we stopped pitching in rooms that didn’t look like us. And we started being very intentional about the meetings that we took and the investors that we pitched before. And that’s when we saw a shift in the way that investors looked at us and looked at our model.

0:26:30.5 NS: And we were still building everything. Like while we were, while we were doing these pitches. And so we just saw a change in like investors’ attitude towards the solution that we’re bringing to the market. So it was super hard. Thank you so much to my team. Sally. Everyone who like you know made it possible for us to do it but it’s also kind of like bittersweet. You know what I’m saying? It’s bittersweet to be a part of such a minority.

0:26:52.9 MB: It’s a small group. Yeah.

0:26:54.0 NS: Yeah. Especially when I’m surrounded by other Black female founders that are still struggling to raise capital that have similarly or better you know what I’m saying, business solutions. And I’m just like it shouldn’t be this hard it shouldn’t have taken us a year you know what I’m saying? To raise what we raised.

0:27:08.1 MB: Right. ‘Cause white boy in California would’ve had it off of napkin and in three weeks.

0:27:12.4 NS: And We heard these stories we would go to, oh no, like I just went to a mixer and I met somebody and they were like oh yeah call me on Monday.

0:27:19.0 MB: And they get a cheque on Tuesday.

0:27:20.6 NS: And they got a cheque. And you’re just like oh no that’s not how it was for us. Like we… People put us through due diligence. It wasn’t like a wink and nod. No. It was like open your due diligence files we’re going line by line.

0:27:31.6 MB: Let me see all your receipts.

0:27:32.1 NS: Let me see everything. Like and so in the end I think it’s gonna make us a better business because we do have those fundamentals and we have thought through so many different aspects of the business. Is it fair? Absolutely not.

0:27:44.6 MB: Yeah. It’s interesting ‘Cause you bring up something that we see all the time which is and it always frustrates me, Black founders particularly Black women we always ask for what we think we can get. But not what we need. And ironically as racist sexist whatever people wanna say about venture capital they’re gonna give you all you ask for if they believe in you. Right? Because it’s about quick growth. Not about subsidizing these baby steps. What do you do with all that money now?

0:28:10.9 NS: Oh, half of it’s spent. I feel like.

0:28:12.6 MB: Okay. All right.

0:28:13.7 NS: It’s funny. It’s in the bank and then you’re like oh nope. It’s gone. You know because you’ve already out, like you’re telling people what you’re gonna do…

0:28:20.4 MB: That’s right.

0:28:21.6 NS: With it as you’re raising it. Some of it’s you’re spending, some of it you’ve already allocated. So we brought on two team members iOS developer and Samaria our new marketing manager. Okay. We’re actually paying ourselves now. Ain’t that a blessing? So I was like that’s nice to see a little money come here.

0:28:37.5 MB: How hard was that to pay yourself?

0:28:39.9 NS: It was so hard.

0:28:40.0 MB: Why? ‘Cause clearly you had busted your butt already. I mean you sold your house, you emptied your 401k, no disrespect to the business but you still got some ROI coming. So why was it so hard to pay yourself?

0:28:51.2 NS: You know I don’t know. I think that it was just the idea of taking when you’re like well if I don’t pay myself then I can keep, I can pay more for this. Or I can put more money in this other bucket. Which you think is just gonna accelerate your business and your growth. And so I don’t feel guilty about paying myself. I just thought about do I really need it? You know what I’m saying? Like can this go to something else? This is gonna reduce our runway if I take money for myself.

0:29:14.5 MB: And how did you change your mind? ‘Cause I’m just so happy you did.

0:29:17.9 NS: Thank You. Just looking at my bank account. Okay. Well, milling down to nothing. I was like well it’s getting to the point… Hold on now. Hold on now. We couldn’t… Let me check…

0:29:25.4 MB: I need to replenish the well.

0:29:27.2 NS: Yes. I was like you know so it got it got to the point where I was like okay I’ve definitely done I think my part in seeding the business with my money and my capital and my time. And so at some point I have to be able to give myself something back.

0:29:40.9 MB: I love that.

0:29:41.2 NS: Yeah.

0:29:42.9 MB: I love that. So you paid yourself, and be a little picky. Is it a salary?

0:29:45.0 NS: Mm-hmm.

0:29:47.9 MB: Oh, right.

0:29:49.1 NS: Yes. It’s a salary.

0:29:49.2 MB: It comes every month?

0:29:49.5 NS: Every month.

0:29:50.5 MB: Okay. ‘Cause we tell people like start with a draw. So you used to the concept. So look at you leapfrogging. Are you having fun?

0:29:56.0 NS: Most days.

0:29:58.5 MB: Okay. So what’s a fun day and what’s a not fun day? And that’s an important question that most people think like oh I’m starting my own business. I’m free. I set my own schedule. Well you have investors. So that changes the game. So what’s a fun day and what’s a not fun day?

0:30:14.9 NS: A fun day to me are days where we actually interact with customers. So like when we throw events, the events are so stressful to like plan. But…

0:30:24.3 MB: I’m sure in the midst of COVID it doesn’t help either.

0:30:26.8 NS: Right. But the meeting the people who come to the events who tell us like, “This is so needed. I’m so glad that you guys are here.” When we’re able to do the matchmaking interviews and we meet the people who are applying and like literally at the end of the call they’re like thank you for building this. Like just thank you. And so to me those are like amazing days when we see those stripe payments coming and they’re like paying and we’re like oh.

0:30:49.9 MB: It’s a good day.

0:30:50.7 NS: Yes. Another stripe payment. Okay we’ll take it. So those are beautiful things to me. But it’s hard right? Like it’s sometimes hard to stay motivated like stay on top of everything, try to feel like you’re maximizing all of the opportunities that you’re provided while still balancing your mental health physical health you know team, esteem and all that stuff. So it’s definitely not like a I’m free you know what I’m saying? I’m like, I was just telling some people earlier today that on Saturday I like went to the gym I did laundry and then I just like rested all day. I like watched TV.

0:31:23.6 MB: Good for you.

0:31:24.9 NS: But the wave of guilt that hit me on Sunday was like, you have so many things to do. Like you know what I’m saying? So then I’m at my computer and like…

0:31:32.5 MB: It’s almost like your to-do list quadrupled. And you didn’t even talk to anybody else.

0:31:36.1 NS: Yes. And I tell people that all the time. Like well why do you work so much? I’m like because honestly sometimes I get more stressed about taking time off. Because…

0:31:42.9 MB: That’s not good.

0:31:43.0 NS: Yeah. ‘Cause you think about all the things that are gonna build up while you’re taking the time off. But the good thing is I feel like we’re getting to a point where there’s a good balance of just, it’s okay. Like whatever you put down on Friday will still be there on Monday.

0:31:56.5 MB: Right. That’s true.

0:31:57.2 NS: And people will understand.

0:31:58.7 MB: They’ll be waiting for you.

0:31:58.8 NS: Yeah.

0:31:58.9 MB: What’s next for CarpeDM?

0:32:00.0 NS: So our goals in this quarter like I said are twofold. Customer satisfaction and generating revenue…

0:32:07.4 MB: Staying focused. I like it.

0:32:08.8 NS: Staying very very focused. And so we’re in the DMV only.

0:32:12.5 MB: Oh, okay.

0:32:13.6 NS: To start like hyper-local, hyper-focused.

0:32:14.2 MB: Why?

0:32:15.4 NS: Well couple things. People like to date hyperlocal.

0:32:17.6 MB: Okay.

0:32:18.4 NS: So people typically wanna date someone that’s nearby to them. And then also it helps limit, it helps us solidify everything we call like foundation. Right. We know that the tech is working right. We know that the marketing is working right. We know that the team is right. We know that the pricing is right and then we limit the exposure of that to the DMV area while we get everything right. And we prepare stuff to scale. So then once we know that we have kind of like the blueprint here we can replicate that. And the beautiful thing is we have people applying from all over.

0:32:46.5 MB: I’m sure.

0:32:47.3 NS: We had someone apply from London the other day. And I was like trying to troubleshoot with her why she wasn’t getting a verification code text message. And I was like wait a minute. I was like, what’s your phone number? And I was like, girl. [laughter]

0:32:57.3 MB: We’re not there yet. We coming though. We’re coming.

0:33:00.0 NS: We’re coming. We’re absolutely coming but we’re not there yet but…

0:33:02.2 MB: What is the next location?

0:33:03.8 NS: Likely Atlanta. But we’re watching and if you’re single and listening to this and you wanna influence the decision you can go right onto our website…

0:33:10.9 MB: Oh I like that. Write that down.

0:33:12.0 NS: And enter your city. We have dating, coming to a city near you and you just enter what city that you’re in.

0:33:17.3 MB: Oh wow.

0:33:17.9 NS: And so we’re collecting so we know like where people are expressing interest.

0:33:21.3 MB: What are you most proud of on this journey?

0:33:23.4 NS: I think my ability to push through fear.

0:33:29.0 MB: How hard was that?

0:33:30.0 NS: It’s hard. It’s hard to go from living very comfortably… I like worked my ass off to become an attorney.

0:33:37.8 MB: Sure.

0:33:38.5 NS: And get to where I was so.

0:33:40.2 MB: You were chilling downtown DC, took it all the way out to Woodbridge, Virginia. [laughter]

0:33:43.8 NS: And I was going on three trips three or four trips a year, vacation.

0:33:48.4 MB: All right now.

0:33:49.2 NS: So I think that is one of those things that I’m always like why not me?

0:33:51.4 MB: Right. Of course.

0:33:53.6 NS: People are building the lives that they want and I wanna do that for myself. So I think that that I’m very proud of. And then also I’m very proud of my family. I have a great… I think this all the time like I don’t know how people do it with so much less and people can talk about being an underserved founder being a woman of color, all those things are true. But I have a great support system and I think about and I’m like if my parents didn’t have a house and a basement that I could [laughter] crash in then what would I have done?

0:34:21.3 MB: Like homework office space in the basement.

0:34:22.9 NS: Yes. Office space, bedroom you know? And so I understand why it’s a hard leap for a lot of people to make. So I’m super grateful and they’re so proud of me and they like big me up all the time.

0:34:33.2 MB: That’s huge.

0:34:34.3 NS: And so for me I’m like it could be a different story if you have a different support system or no support system.

0:34:39.7 MB: Sure. For a long time mom kept saying what is an entrepreneur and how you gonna pay your rent? [laughter] So clearly you had that safety. What did your parents do that allowed you to even think entrepreneurship was possible?

0:34:51.5 NS: Yeah so my I’m a military kid. My mom was in the army for 22 years.

0:34:56.3 MB: Wow.

0:34:57.2 NS: And so she’s, I could say like a jack of all trades herself or should I say a Jill of all trades. [laughter] And so we grew up we didn’t have a lot. She came from very humble beginnings but just seeing her perseverance and the way that she was able to advance her career. So now she is she’s the former CIO of FEMA. She was the first Black female CIO of FEMA. She just retired from that. And so she had a company with my stepfather called, I’m like forgetting the name but they sold it [laughter] They sold it and…

0:35:26.7 MB: Wow. Go mama.

0:35:27.2 NS: Sanitronics that’s what it’s called.

0:35:28.2 MB: She was ahead of her time. All right.

0:35:29.4 NS: Yeah. She was ahead of her time. So they had a cleaning company that did government contracts they had the, Reagan building was their contract that they cleaned and so they sold it. And so I think that had a good model for like entrepreneurship and kind of taking leaps to get what you want out of life. So yeah. That’s their background.

0:35:50.6 MB: So they had an exit strategy. What’s your exit strategy?

0:35:54.8 NS: Multifold. I think there’s a lot of options that come out right? Like you always in the dating industry exit strategy is typically an exit and acquisition or a sale. There’s always like growing. Like growing the company having it become a unicorn business or something like that and so…

0:36:12.4 MB: Sure. And going public.

0:36:12.5 NS: And going public right. And so those are the two kind of paths I really see for myself. Eventually I wanna do what you’re doing. Like investing, mentoring, giving back to the community, helping other founders not make the same mistakes that I made along the way. And advance how quickly they’re able to go from what’s a startup to like I sold my startup. [laughter]

0:36:33.7 MB: Yeah. Right. It is happening faster and faster. What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned?

0:36:39.9 NS: The hardest lesson that I’ve learned? That’s a great question. It’s probably a mix of I’m not always right.

0:36:48.3 MB: Oh please.


0:36:50.5 NS: I’m not always right. And the most important, the most valuable thing is time. Yeah.

0:36:57.2 MB: So how are you managing your time? ‘Cause I heard you do some exercise and you relax and then you probably went into overdrive feeling guilty. So how are you making time for yourself?

0:37:06.8 NS: I try to prioritize like making sure I can get to the gym. Making sure I can get to like a Pilates class or walk my neighborhood making sure I try to get some sleep and some decent food. And then just quality time with people that I love. Like is to me is like the best thing. So hanging out with my brother, my sister, my mom, my family is what I really like to do in my free time. I’m still really good friends with friends from high school.

0:37:29.5 MB: Oh wow.

0:37:30.3 NS: Like me and my girlfriend from high school.

0:37:31.7 MB: So you’re just naturally in the relationship business? Naturally.

0:37:34.5 NS: Yeah. I always tell people I’m like I am for a good reason. I’m very passionate about connecting people and remaining connected with people from when I was in college, I lived in Spain for a year then I moved to China after law school for a year. And so to me I’m always like if I’m able to expand my horizons and also expand my networks and bring people together. That’s like a beautiful thing.

0:37:56.7 MB: Yeah. I remember when I first saw you and I listened to this business, clearly I was not your target market. And I was like who the hell gonna sign up for it? It’s like do we need another dating app. I know I was not the only person. So what would you say to people like me now who are like, I don’t get it. We don’t need another dating app.

0:38:13.9 NS: I would say that…

0:38:14.6 NS: Besides screw you we got our money, but what else would you say?


0:38:17.6 NS: We do need another dating app. Right. And so I firmly believe that the dating industry is saturated with a lot of apps that do the exact same thing. And so in the like time continuum right you have like, survey-based resume apps. Then you go to like gamification which I feel still think that we’re in a gamification error. And moving into more relationship minded dating and apps like Tinder and all those were great for the time that they were because they helped normalize online dating.

0:38:49.3 MB: Gotcha. True. Very true.

0:38:49.4 NS: As a way for people to meet. But it’s time for a shift in the way that people online date if they want the outcome to be meaningful relationships. Those services just do not work in my opinion. So yes there are a lot of dating apps but we still need new options.

0:39:06.7 MB: Has COVID helped in that? Because the whole world was like, obviously when you experience that massive level of loss there’s a level of self introspection and people were like, I don’t need all these belongings, I don’t need my job, but I need relationships. So has that… Many highly scalable businesses come out of these kind of times. So did that help you all?

0:39:26.6 NS: Well, I, it’s yet to see if it’s helped us.

0:39:30.1 MB: Okay.

0:39:30.2 NS: I definitely think that people have leaned into the value of their relationships. It was definitely proven that the dating market was pandemic proof. [laughter] If any market was pandemic proof, it was the dating industry.

0:39:41.7 MB: There you go.

0:39:42.0 NS: Because…

0:39:42.2 MB: That and alcohol.

0:39:42.3 NS: That and alcohol. Look, people were like, I have to drink and I have to date. [laughter] And so I definitely feel like it’s something to be said, like, no matter what I always tell people because the mindset behind, there’s too many dating apps. I feel like trivializes love and the importance of love in people’s lives. And I tell people, if you think about it, it’s the most important thing.

0:40:05.4 MB: Sure.

0:40:05.4 NS: That we have and can have in our lives. So it’s unfortunate that people look at the dating industry that way for various reasons, but I think if you really think about what you should spend your time and energy on, you’ll see the value of a service that actually really works.

0:40:21.4 MB: Five years from now. Where do you wanna be?

0:40:24.9 NS: Probably in another country, on a beach.

0:40:27.9 MB: Okay.

0:40:29.3 NS: Taking a break, [laughter] from some things maybe, maybe with some scheduled meetings with some people I’m mentoring, like on my calendar, I wanna be in the position to rest without guilt. And like, and I wanna be in the position to have given a return to the people who invested in me so early on. No offense, I’m not really that, I don’t really care that much about the venture capitalists getting their money back. I care. [laughter]

0:40:58.1 MB: Fair enough.

0:40:58.8 NS: But I don’t care the same way that I care about…

0:41:02.1 MB: That’s not your motivation.

0:41:02.2 NS: Yeah. It’s not my motivation. I really care about my friends who sat through my very first pitch…

0:41:07.3 MB: Sure.

0:41:07.3 NS: In my parent’s living room and gave me a thousand dollars. Right? Or like the people who were just like, I have $500. Or like I’ll give… Those are the people that I’m like I really, really wanna, be able to say like, I gave them something back.

0:41:21.2 MB: Yeah. I really appreciate this conversation. I will say I see it, now even though I’m not dating. I see it now. And it may sound very Oprah-esque, but I think the way you described it, that in this world of entrepreneurship that is so transactional, the importance of relationships often gets overlooked. And so, I don’t know where you’re going after that exit [laughter], but you could do a whole app for like entrepreneurs trying to find meaningful relationships. Because too often we don’t get them at all.

0:41:52.3 NS: That’s so true. It’s all, at the end of the day, it’s all about connecting people.

0:41:56.2 MB: Yeah. I love it. Well, thank you for connecting today.

0:41:58.8 NS: Thank you so much for having me on.

0:42:00.0 MB: Appreciate it.

0:42:00.2 NS: This’s been beyond a pleasure for me.

0:42:02.3 MB: Yeah. I’m, I’m… Look, I have to eat crow. It’s a great idea. It’s a great idea. Thank you.

0:42:06.0 NS: Thank you.


0:42:11.8 MB: Have you signed up for CarpeDM yet? If not, don’t wait. Talking to Naza was so refreshing. Her willingness to let her “baby go” and lose time and money to pivot to make a better product is a critical lesson for all founders. Even if your business was started to meet your personal needs, you have to build it out for your customers. Not only did she put her startup on its head, she set out to transform the industry. She was laser focused on solving a problem, even if it meant starting over. She spent time understanding the problems of her customers, Black women, and set out to make a product that would be a necessity for the users. The most important lesson is that she finally found her voice to ask for what she needed and didn’t settle for what she thought she could get when raising capital. She thought she needed $100,000, but she needed way more. And luckily for her, she was able to join the small group of Black female founders who have raised over 1 million dollars. Kudos to Naza. May many more of you join that club.


0:43:15.7 MB: Thank you for listening to Founder Hustle. If you enjoyed this conversation, please subscribe and tell a friend. For more information about our guest, check out our website, There you’ll find all kinds of information, tools, and resources for the New Majority Entrepreneur. Stay connected. Follow us on social media @wearenmv or search #FounderHustle. Founder Hustle is a production of Kinetic Energy Entertainment and New Majority Ventures. Our producer is Ann Kane. Our social media producer is Masako Envela, and the show is mixed by Sonya Harris. The intro theme is Vuelta al Sol by Tomas Novoa. The credit theme is Glide by Columbia Knights and the Yays are from Ratata by Curtis Cole. Founder Hustle was recorded at Clean Cuts in Washington DC. I’m Melissa Bradley. See you next time.

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Melissa Bradley

Melissa Bradley

Melissa L. Bradley is the Founder and Managing Partner of 1863 Ventures, a business development program that accelerates New Majority entrepreneurs from high potential to high growth and Co-founder of New Majority Ventures, a purpose-driven media brand featuring content that is entertaining, inspirational and actionable so that these entrepreneurs and their businesses survive and thrive.