Dr. Charlene Brown, CEO of ReciproCare, addresses an audience at a D.C. event. (Courtesy photo)
Dr. Charlene Brown, CEO of ReciproCare, addresses an audience at a D.C. event. (Courtesy photo)

ReciproCare, a D.C-region innovation that helps senior care agencies and facilities to find caregivers and help them find the best jobs for their needs, counted among seven companies chosen for the “Google For Entrepreneurs” one-week boot camp.

The intensive class that features African-American founders of high growth potential startups, is scheduled from Oct. 8-13 at the headquarters of American Underground in Durham, North Carolina.

The program, hosted by American Underground, Google for Entrepreneurs and Lincoln Financial Group, will focus primarily on knowledge sharing around the unique challenges that face Black founders, who will be paired with a Thurgood Marshall College Fund intern during the program to support execution.

Startups will also have one-on-one meetings with investors focused on raising seed capital, network building with larger, corporate/strategic partners, and five or more hours of direct mentoring from an area expert.

“Last year, the inaugural Black Founders edition of Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange was a huge success. We saw half of all the participating companies in 2016 receive funding and were better prepared to tackle the unique challenges facing Black startup executives,” said Adam Klein, the chief strategist for American Underground.

Together with American Underground, Google for Entrepreneurs officials said they’re committed to supporting the growth and success of underrepresented founders.

“The Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange program is a unique opportunity to help bridge the gap between founders seeking funding with mentors and investors, and we saw great success from last year’s program,” said Nicole Froker, a partner engagement manager at Google for Entrepreneurs.

Google for Entrepreneurs provides financial support and the best of Google’s resources to dozens of co-working spaces and community programs across 125 countries.

In 2015, Charlene Brown, a District physician, co-founded ReciproCare.

She led a team to pitch and prototype the company — an online platform and mobile app to bridge service gaps for home care agencies while expanding work opportunities for home care workers.

Brown and her team built ReciproCare at Startup Weekend’s Flip the Ratio event in the District held two years ago. ReciproCare earned first place in that weekend’s competition.

Brown told the website, Techstars, that she had been honing her idea with her co-founder, Faran Negarestan, for several months prior to Flip the Ratio.

Their concept — initially called ReciproCall — kept pivoting in the months beforehand.

Eventually, it became the pitch that Brown gave for ReciproCare on Flip the Ratio’s opening night. That pitch involved persuading attendees to join her team and build her idea.

It was a turning point for Brown and she assumed that since most participants were younger, a tech solution for elders’ care would not interest them.

“I was wrong,” she told the website. “Our pitch resonated with many participants who shared their personal caregiving experiences with me and others on our team throughout the weekend. Our incredible team included people with a diverse range of skills that perfectly complemented my own.”

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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