On paper, David Jakubowski and Rob Gatto had “perfect” careers. They both played major roles in the growth of an array of tech companies and held executive positions at established tech firms. But something was missing.
Jakubowski, who got his start with companies like Microsoft and Facebook, went on to become CEO of Aggregate Knowledge, where he convinced Rob Gatto to join as partner, according to a Medium post by Gatto.
Both went on to thrive in Silicon Valley but also wanted to level the playing field for small business owners. They took a trip to Buffalo, New York for a pitch competition. There, they met Melissa Bradley, who would later become their future cofounder. Gatto writes in the Medium post that Bradley was “someone who had dedicated her entire life to helping the ‘New Majority,’ women and minority entrepreneurs.” Bradley, a serial entrepreneur, investor and professor, had rich experience in developing mentorship and accelerator programs.
Together they started Ureeka in 2018 to bring small businesses the effective strategies and tools that larger companies are able to leverage daily. The tech platform provides an array of support services for founders. According to Jakubowski, Ureeka’s goal is “to democratize economic opportunity by helping under-served communities of small business grow.”
The need for startups like Ureeka is more dire than ever, as the pandemic has taken a toll on the small business economy. And with women and people of color facing tougher obstacles when it comes to gaining access to loans, grants and opportunities, Ureeka is prepared to continue executing its mission.
Since launch, their team has helped over 10,000 entrepreneurs turn their ideas into thriving businesses. Their team takes a three-pronged approach: 1. Connecting people as mentors, peers and coaches. 2. In-depth training programs. 3. Helping entrepreneurs gain access to capital through networking.
The cofounders clearly define the Ureeka difference purpose on the startup’s .Biz site: “As the world continues to evolve, we stay focused on helping our small businesses evolve with it so they are empowered to break the glass ceiling of mainstream entrepreneurship.”
While the company is prepared to motivate new communities through powerful language and motivation, at the end of the day, the team is very much focused on concrete results. Jakubowski calls this “Measurable Impact.”
“Eighty percent of our community members see actual revenue growth, an average of over over 50% growth,” he says.
When it comes to Measurable Impact, the case studies say it all. Ureeka’s community membership includes Shontay Lundy, founder of Black Girl Sunscreen, which landed a $1 million investment via the Ureeka platform. Papercraft Miracles founder Janna Willoughby-Lohr, one of Ureeka’s earliest members, was able to grow revenue 7x after investing in one-on-one coaching and a website assessment.
Most important, the Ureeka workforce, including its leadership team, is just as diverse as its audience and membership. The founders believe this is the key to reaching the communities they aim to serve–and ensure that the “Ureeka Moment” is something that is available to all.