We believe any business owner or entrepreneur should be able to launch an app, regardless of technical skill.
Tequity empowers business owners and innovators to easily build their own mobile applications, without any knowledge of coding or development. Tequity aims to create equity in the tech space by leveling the playing field for the underrepresented; think of it like the Squarespace of mobile apps. I had the chance to speak with its brilliant founder Sydney Davis about its origins and what is up next for this mighty midwest pre-seed startup.
How it all started
Sydney had been freelancing for years when it came to application development. She knew there was a huge demand for her services but not enough time to fulfill everyone’s requests. Companies and individuals alike needed a simple way to build a robust mobile app with dynamic features and continued support once the app was live. Tequity was born.
What makes it stand out
Tequity is open-source. A Tequity customer does not need to know code to make their mobile app. Tequity simultaneously writes the supporting code as the customer works on their app using drag and drop. Because it’s open-source a customer could hire a developer to enhance their code. The mobile app’s code can also be easily rendered into a framework. The mobile app is not confined to just being modified within Tequity.
The due diligence support that Tequity offers is unmatched. In order to publish a mobile app in Apple or Google stores, the app must pass a compliance test. Tequity helps you acquire this passing rating so you do not have to worry about whether or not your app will be rejected. This provides a sense of relief as an app can be banned from either store if it fails this compliance test multiple times. Tequity cares not only about the ease of app development but also the success of your app in the Apple or Google store.
Moreover, Tequity believes in community. They partner with incubators and accelerators to offer guidance and knowledge regarding app development. Further, there are countless resources on their website to learn how to increase app downloads and driving traffic to your app.
54,000 users and 382 live mobile apps...and fundraising!
Despite just launching in April 2020, Tequity has already accumulated over 54,000 users and 382 mobile apps have successfully been launched. One app, in particular, ended up with a 1,900% return on investment in just 90 days. To no surprise, Tequity has also won a number of pitch competitions including Harlem Capital’s and Black Women Talk Tech’s. Tequity is currently raising a round for $500,000, which will likely close in June. The time to invest is now!
We often only see the success. Tequity is more than that. Tequity is a tale of tenacity, ambition, and gratitude. Sydney actually started to think about creating a business back in 2015/2016. When she tried to sell this version of Tequity she hit a wall - no sales, no traction, no brand recognition. Sydney could have given up on her dream right there. However, she realized the importance of pivoting. She decided to take more time to learn about business, grow her subject matter expertise in mobile apps, and took more freelance clients to validate her audience and better understand their demands. Moreover, Sydney enrolled in accelerators and programs like Scale Kalamazoo and Techstars to learn how to take her business to the next level and gain mentorship. By rethinking her approach, Sydney was able to better address the market and establish a more solid business strategy.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help and put yourself out there.
As Sydney continued her journey with Tequity she realized how valuable it is to foster relationships. She lived on LinkedIn: identifying VC firms, attending their events, and following other diverse founders. Sydney began establishing strong connections. When asking for help, Sydney simultaneously asked how she could provide value. This ability to create meaningful interaction lies in the fact that Sydney felt she could be herself. There is a value in being authentic, even if you think you need to fit a certain mold.
Sydney further expressed gratitude for her relationships. Pre-pandemic, each month she would take 2 or 3 people out to lunch. Whenever a milestone was achieved (big or small) by an entrepreneur or VC, she would send a congratulatory card to the entrepreneur or VC. These actions left a lasting impression. Founders will know a lot but *who* you know will really open doors.
Empowering Diverse Founders
Only 1% of venture-funded startup founders are Black according to BLCK VC. These figures aren’t that much better for female founders. Events like the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor have served as a catalyst to invest in diverse founders. But simply investing money is not enough. Funds must additionally empower diverse founders.
Diversity extends beyond complexion, ethnicity, background
Sydney offered great insights into what she looks for in potential investors hoping to diversify their portfolio. She highlighted the importance of a VC celebrating the small wins for an entrepreneur. There is a ton of pressure to excel; this acknowledgment serves as much needed encouragement. Further, diversity extends beyond complexion, ethnicity, and background. Diverse entrepreneurs are looking to address diverse problems and help diverse people. Thus, VCs might need to reconsider their traditional practices when assessing startup potential and success. Lastly, VCs with a well-rounded and well-represented investment team gives more assurance to diverse founders.
Learn more about Tequity!