The IBJ Podcast
The IBJ Podcast
Indianapolis Business Journal
Brothers behind tech firm Qualifi on being Black founders, raising capital, ‘unwillingness to die’
56 minutes Posted Sep 4, 2023 at 6:00 pm.
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Show notes

Darrian and Devyn Mikell grew up in central Indiana, played sports, went to college, tried a few things to get their careers started and ultimately launched a tech firm together. They have some juicy stories from their early days of griding that would resonate with other tech founders: starting with the wrong sales strategy, struggling for months without revenue and slowly building a base of investors. There are a few things that are relatively unique: First, they’re brothers, and we all know that it’s often not easy for family members to work together. Second, they recently reached an important milestone with a $4.5 million fundraising round. Third, they are among the few company founders in any industry sector who are Black. Businesses majority-owned by Black or African American people accounted for only 3% of all U.S. firms that were classifiable by the race and ethnicity of their owners in 2020, according to the Pew Research Center. And the Mikells have made hiring people from underrepresented populations a priority at their company, called Qualifi.

The issues of diversity and inclusion dovetail into the mission of Qualifi, which sells software that helps employers automate the hiring process and avoid biases that could slip into the interview process.

In this week’s edition of the IBJ Podcast, the Mikells join host Mason King for an in-depth interview about how they work together as brothers; the inspiration they’ve received from their family (including an older brother with a Pro Bowl career in the NFL); how they handle the rollercoaster of startup life; obstacles that Black entrepreneurs face; and the importance to them of diversity as they grow the company.


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