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About Founder Gym

Founder Gym is the first online program that trains underrepresented founders on how to raise capital to scale their tech startups.

Founder Gym launched its inaugural cohort in January 2018. Over the span of that year, Founder Gym trained 170 underrepresented founders, which is nearly 550% more founders than any other program in its field. Since then, our alumni base has grown to 253 founders spanning 11 countries (Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Egypt, Ghana, Jamaica, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, United Kingdom, and the United States). Alumni have already raised $35 million in startup capital since graduating from the Founder Gym Cohort, and that number continues to grow.

The Founder Gym leadership team is comprised of founders, startup advisors, professional educators, and seasoned tech ecosystem builders.

Meet Our Team


Mandela SH Dixon

Founder & CEO

An entrepreneur, educator, athlete, and well-connected Silicon Valley influencer, Mandela is uniquely positioned to lead this movement. Previously at Startup Weekend and Kapor Capital, Mandela is a member of First Round Capital’s Angel Track.


Paige Hendrix Buckner

Program Director

Paige has worked for Teach For America, the Urban League, Apple, and TiE Oregon, and started two companies. With a Master’s Degree in Education, she’s passionate about helping founders be successful during and after the FG Cohort experience.


Jeremy Young

Visual Storyteller

After teaching for six years in schools like Khan Labs, Jeremy transitioned into sharing knowledge with a larger audience using multimedia. He specializes in photography and videography, and you may have seen his work featured on ATTN: or TechCrunch.


Cordelro Brown

Digital Engagement

Cordelro Brown is a graduate of the University of Alabama (Go Bama!). He joined Founder Gym in 2017 as the company's first Fellow and has since advanced to playing key roles in the company's digital engagement and partnerships activities.


Cristal Harris, JD

Digital Engagement

Cristal is a queer East Oakland native, Butler Koshland Fellow, and USF Law School graduate. She flourishes at the intersection of social impact, entrepreneurship, and storytelling. Her work has been featured in the USF Law Review and Afrotech.


Karen Rodriguez-Ponciano

Operations Fellow

A creative strategist with experience in marketing, design, people operations, and inclusion, Karen is a UC Berkeley alumna, who has previously worked at Google, the Kapor Center, and Adobe. She’s passionate about using technology to empower individuals and communities.


Jonathan Hackworth

Data Fellow

An advocate for representation in tech, Jonathan uses his experience to help startups scale by reducing operational friction. He is currently a fellow at Notley Ventures, prior to that he led business intelligence at Ascendant Capital and was an early employee at Tenfold.


Barbara dos Santos

Data Fellow

Barbara focuses on data management and analytics. She is a PhD candidate in Washington, DC specializing in data analytics and policy analysis. When looking at the numbers, Barbara uses her knowledge of the real world to create inclusive solutions.


Tia Goodson

Operations Fellow

Film producer, Howard graduate, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority member, and educator. Tia leverages her connections and experience to bring people and projects together. Her credits include producing for ESPN and BET. She has also worked with NBC/Universal, Sony, and HBO.

Subscribe here to get notified about our next call for Trainers.

Amazing Person

Ready to Make an Impact

Founder Gym is always looking for incredible people to join our global movement to create wealth and fulfillment for underrepresented founders. New job and fellowship opportunities are announced via our weekly newsletter, so be sure to subscribe here.

Thank You to Our Partners

Ready to take the first step?

The deadline to apply is March 31, 2019.
Read this article for tips and best practices for your application.


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