Tsunoda Stylings is a Japan-based agency that strives to create successful, responsive websites that are fast, easy to use, and built with the best techniques. At Tsunoda Stylings, we search for new and experienced small business owners looking to promote their businesses without breaking the bank! Not too long after we celebrated the new year, we received a request from a young and talented business owner who wanted to promote her upcoming fundraising events!
Please meet Meagan Turner. She is the owner of Road Pitch Tours, a multi-city pitch tour to help black tech founders raise pre-seed or seed capital from investors! Read below to learn more about her and what she plans to accomplish with her new advertising services with Tsunoda Stylings.
Jasmine: Tell us a little about your background and how you became the founder/president of the organization (How did it start? Was it your idea, or did you take over the organization from someone else?)
Meagan: I served as the lead conductor for Advancing Black Entrepreneurs in the StartupBus competition this year. I am an Electrical Engineering student at the University of Louisville, and I’ve worked in additive manufacturing, robotics, and electronics positions. I’m currently interning for a medical device company in San Francisco called iRhythm Technologies while running RoadPitch with my co-founder, Rohan Brown. Shoutout to the time difference and my lunch breaks (:
We were inspired to create the program after running the Advancing Black Entrepreneurs StartupBus, a hackathon on wheels, in 2022. Through that venture, the two of us introduced 20 entrepreneurs to $75 million in funding for a one-time event but were left wanting to do more, specifically for Black tech founders raising pre-seed rounds.
Jasmine: How did you come up with the name Road Pitch?
Meagan: We’re a multi-city pitch tour for black tech founders currently raising pre-seed or seed rounds of funding. Our traveling founders are on the road for 5 days, pitching to accredited investors in 5 different cities.. 14 times!
Jasmine: What is your mission/company saying? How did you come up with that?
Meagan: Connecting Black Founders to Investors. That’s what we do. Specifically black tech founders.
Jasmine: What services do you offer?
Meagan: We organize all of the logistics and begin creating relationships with those in the startup ecosystems we will be entering early. We also bring the investors into the room and pattern match with the travel startups, pairing industry and the desired stage of funding for both parties.
Jasmine: What services would you like to add in the future?
Meagan: We plan to grow our community of both founder and investor networks to provide value for them with our growing national presence.
Jasmine: What is unique about Road Pitch?
Meagan: RoadPitch is unique because we’re able to get investors in the room without sending information identifying our founders outside of the company description, industry, and stage of funding. Our goal is to remove the bias in the typical application/deal flow structure. We're granting our startups the opportunity to present their company, handle objections, and schedule the next steps in real time.
In our first RoadPitch cohort, we organized 14 pitch demos in a 5-day sprint from Boston to DC. Our goal is to disrupt the funding gap for underserved founders by maximizing their time spent and increasing their chances of finding the right investors. Prior to the tour, we pick the 5 industries we want to be represented on the tour and find investors who’ve invested in those industries previously.
Jasmine: Do you ever plan to expand? Nationally? Globally?
Meagan: We’re on the path to covering the U.S. with our regional cohorts. We’ve discussed a vision to support underrepresented founders abroad as well. Cities like Paris have a significant organization of brown and black founders.
Jasmine: What is the thing you enjoy most about your job?
Meagan: I love working with innovators and being around creatives. We have a ton of fun, and I am able to be my goofy, expressive self in the space of business without pressure to fit in a certain box because we’re running the show.
Jasmine: What is the most difficult? What are the biggest challenges of heading a charity organization?
Meagan: There is a lot of planning in order to create relationships with cities that don’t know us at all. We’re a business ourselves, and so figuring out our business strategy while supporting 30 others in a cohort is a balancing act.
Advice for those considering starting a business. Just go for it. If I waited until I graduated.. I would have missed out on all the founder experience that gets me excited to start my day. The future rewards the brave!
Jasmine: How did you find out about Tsunoda Stylings?
Meagan: I honestly am not sure. I scrape the internet for RoadPitch research and somehow found out about their work. Everything happens for a reason! Ohio gang.
Jasmine: Does your business give back to your community/charities? Are you active in any other organizations/foundations/charities?
Meagan: Meagan: We incorporated a pitch demo at a non-profit in Philadephia that introduced our companies to the children learning technical job skills at a place called Hopeworks. I am from Cincinnati, OH, and my co-founder is from Hartford, CT. We’re looking to give back in our hometowns.
Jasmine: What are your biggest accomplishments as an organization?
Meagan: Our first cohort was our “MVP,” and we’re really proud of the traction thus far. Some of our traveling founders are closing rounds of funding with investors they met on the tour this week.
Jasmine: What are your goals for 2023?
Meagan: We hope to help black founders raise their first few checks through our curated tours and events. We want to help cities meet their economic development goals by being hands-on with their founders and maintaining relationships with angel groups and investment institutions. We have a West Coast tour planned for Juneteenth, so stay tuned!