October 2, 2018 · IGG

Funded in America: Watch the new digital series from SoulPancake, Indiegogo, and T-Mobile


The six-part series, hosted by La La Anthony, spotlights female entrepreneurs across the country who used crowdfunding to start their businesses

Today, SoulPancake announced the launch of “Funded in America,” a new series celebrating groundbreaking female entrepreneurs. Hosted by businesswoman and actress, La La Anthony, each episode of this six-part series highlights women across the country who are changing the face of American business. Presented by T-Mobile, and produced in partnership with Indiegogo, “Funded in America” is a celebration of ingenuity, innovation, and the American Dream.

On Indiegogo, 47% of successful campaigns are run by women, and across crowdfunding platforms, women-led campaigns receive a higher average pledge amount from individual backers. Inspired by these stories, “Funded in America” profiles six women who turned to Indiegogo to start their businesses rather than seeking loans or VC funding. These women are successful with thriving businesses,compelling stories, and they did it by taking their lives—and their businesses— into their own hands…with the help of the crowd.

“We are thrilled to celebrate and share the stories of these female entrepreneurs who have turned their dreams into realities through Indiegogo’s platform,” said David Mandelbrot, CEO of Indiegogo. “Our collaboration with SoulPancake and T-Mobile allows us to inspire more entrepreneurs and continue our mission to help innovators bring their ideas to life, by empowering them to bypass traditional channels of funding to reach consumers directly.”

“The common thread connecting these amazing business owners is their ability to find creative ways turn their visions into impressive and high impact realities,” said Mike Katz, Executive Vice President of T-Mobile for Business. “T-Mobile champions businesses from startups to massive enterprises every single day. We’ve always done things differently with our Un-carrier approach and we support any business with big dreams and equally big plans to get there.”

“As a female entrepreneur with a majority female leadership team, I was so excited to help lead the conversation about the challenges and opportunities of being a female entrepreneur,” said Shabnam Mogharabi, CEO of SoulPancake. “We are grateful to have partners such as Indiegogo and T-Mobile that align with our mission to tackle issues like this head on and inspire others to do good.”

Women make up 57% of the American labor force1, and more and more of those women are embracing entrepreneurship as their career path. Despite making up nearly 51% of the US population2, women face disproportionate challenges than their male counterparts and are faced with limited access to funding through traditional investment channels. This seemingly impossible endeavor to obtain funding has led many female entrepreneurs to break tradition and find a better way.

“Funded in America” will be distributed on SoulPancake Facebook and YouTube channels, and kicks off six weeks of female-business content on SoulPancake, Indiegogo, and T-Mobile for Business’ social channels.

Episode 1 | ASIYA (Minneapolis, MN | Crowdfunded: $39,105)

To help enable physical activity for girls regardless of religion, Fatimah Hussein and Jamie Glover created ASIYA, a company that manufactures the Sport Hijab. La La, Fatimah and Jamie surprise high school girls with their own sport hijabs helping them to play to their full potential and inspire others.

Episode 2 | ELLIEGRID (Houston, TX | Crowdfunded: $161,220)

Wanting to create a leadership role in business, Regina Vatterott co-founded ELLIEGRID as a junior in college. EllieGrid, a lifestyle accessory that connects to an app on your phone to ensure you stay on track with your pills, raised more than 183% of their Indiegogo campaign goal. Regina and La La visit a Girls Club in NYC to give advice to young girls on how to turn their interests and passions into a career.

Episode 3 | HI-TECH HEELS (Brooklyn, NY | Crowdfunded: $2,107,074)

Antonia Saint Dunbar founded HI-TECH HEELS to help woman be more comfortable in their shoes. Her app allows customers to fully customize their heels for each foot in order to find the best fit. Her campaign surpassed over $2 million while on Indiegogo. La La surprises Antonia with one of her first investors, demonstrating this as a women supporting women campaign and how her product is improving women’s lives.

Episode 4 | HOT SEAT (Albuquerque, NM | Crowdfunded: $20,148)

At 14 years old, Alissa Chavez created THE HOT SEAT to help save children’s lives. Using Indiegogo, she was able to raise more than $20,000 to fund her prototype, overcoming the doubt from companies doubting her because of her age. The Hot Seat is an alarm system that rings when the caregiver is over 15 ft away from the car and child. Alissa is continuing to develop more products to help children and their families starting with a baby bottle that allows you to store formula and water to easily create milk on the go.

Episode 5 | ATHENA (Philadelphia, PA | Crowdfunded: $313,315)

ROAR FOR GOOD was co-founded by Yasmine Mustafa, a refugee from Kuwait, to empower women, reduce assaults and transform society. They have created a wearable button, called ATHENA, that when pressed emits an alarm and sends text messages to loved ones with your location. With the hope of helping protect and educate women on self-defense, Yasmine raised more than $313,000 through Indiegogo. La La details her own experience with physical assault and how helpful this device would have been. Yasmine and La La meet with college administrators, donating some Athena devices to their schools and discussing the importance of empowering people.

Episode 6 | FOOD SHIFT (Alameda, CA | Crowdfunded: $32,934)

To address the massive problem of food waste and create jobs for people who are formerly homeless, Dana Frasz created FOOD SHIFT. This program takes the cosmetically imperfect produce usually thrown away to create meals and send to food banks and shelters. Program apprentices, eager to work, are work employed to cook the meals while teaching them important career skills. Dana tells La La how they can have less food waste by not over buying produce nor being ruled by date labels. Food Shift employees share how the company has helped to teach them how to utilize food and has given them a purpose.

Episode airs November 6th. 

1 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Women in the labor force: a databook, November 2017

2 2010, United States Census