Dawn Dickson is the founder and CEO of PopCom, a tech startup that builds smart vending machines. While she was finding ways to fund the business, she quickly learned that Black founders experience a lot of difficulty gaining access to venture capital. So, she instead launched a secure token offering crowdfunding campaign and has successfully raised the maximum $1.1 million allowed and has actually made history as the first Black woman to do so!
Filling a void
Dawn founded PopCom as an answer to the problems she encountered with Flat Out Heels, her earlier company where she wanted to sell shoes in vending machines. When she couldn’t find the machine that could function the way she wanted, she decided that she herself was going to invent it. Now, her machines also incorporates face recognition, artificial intelligence, and more to collect data to analyze shoppers who buy compared to those who not.
At that time, Dawn saw how tech entrepreneurs often face challenges raising money to start or grow their business. Venture capital funding has been a major obstacle to many Black founders due to reasons that root from historical inequalities. She also couldn’t actually rely on her family and friends on that matter.
Last year, Dawn started working on a crowdfunding campaign for the business. It is one of the first to offer digital tokens as securities instead of paper stock certificates.
It also used Secure Token Offering (STO) which allowed investors to receive grants or dividends for voting power in a security token granted through the company’s assets allocated as shares.
Most recently, the campaign successfully raised $1,070,000 raised from more than 2,117 investors and a lot more in the waitlist. Dickson now became the first Black founder in worldwide history to raise the highest STO crowdfunding round from the general public.
“I used my own company as a guinea pig and it worked. It could have gone either way, it could have possibly not gone well. But it worked because I knew it would work, and I know that we’re better than they want to play us. I know we’re smart enough to invest in something,” she told Forbes.
As a result, Dawn has contributes bringing back wealth to the Black community, and hopes her story will inspire and pave the way for a more successful future generation.
For more information about PopCom, visit https://www.startengine.com/popcom