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Inside Founders (May 3rd, 2019)

1. Early-stage venture capital firm Unshackled Ventures has raised $20 million for its fund aimed at immigrant founders. In addition to capital for startups, Unshackled Ventures also provides founders with visa sponsorship and immigration paperwork assistance. The firm was founded in 2015 by Manan Mehta, who is the son of immigrants, and Nitin Pachisia, who emigrated from India. According to a 2018 National Foundation for American Policy study, 55 percent of US companies reaching unicorn status have at least one immigrant founder. Since its inception, Unshackled Ventures has provided pre-seed funding to 31 companies; its startups include Career KarmaStarsky RoboticsLily AI and others. — TECHCRUNCH

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2. uBiome co-founders Jessica Richman and Zac Apte were put on administrative leave this week, in the midst of a Federal Bureau of Investigations inquiry into the company's billing practices. Last week, the FBI searched the offices of the company, which offers direct-to-consumer bacterial testing for various medical conditions. Computer scientist Richman and biophysicist Apte founded their company in 2012 through crowdfunding before going on to raise $100 million in venture capital. In a May 1 press release, the company announced both Richman and Apte's administrative leave, the appointment of John Rakow as interim CEO and an independent investigation it would be undertaking into the billing allegations. — CNBC

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3. Finless Foods founder Mike Selden plans to start selling his company's lab-grown bluefin tuna at the end of the year. The startup, based in Berkeley, Calif., is one of several companies cultivating fish and meat from from cells to address sustainability issues with fishing and farming, and hoping to integrate into the marketplace in the next five years. Current challenges for such companies include higher price points, as well as unknown consumer reaction to such products. The companies plan to introduce their cell-grown meat as high-end products because doing so, Selden says, will help counter customer concern that lab-grown meat is "Frankenmeat." Positioning his tuna as "...a luxury food will really help with that perception." — WALL STREET JOURNAL

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4. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey's wellness product endorsement means back orders and waiting lists for the companies that make them. That includes the sleep-tracking device Oura Ring, SaunaSpace's "personal near-infrared" products and various Bay-area meditation centers that offer Vipassana, the specific type of meditation Dorsey practices. Dorsey publicly revealed his daily routine last month—including fasting, ice-baths, infra-red saunas and meditation—with his eating habits prompting speedy Internet censure. His consumer influence, the New York Times now writes, make him "Silicon Valley’s answer to the mega-influencer Gwyneth Paltrow." His followers, the story further contends, contrast with those of Silicon Valley's other manfluencer, Elon Musk, who are drawn to the Tesla founder's "brash hyper-masculinity and angry tweets." — NEW YORK TIMES

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5. Follow Friday: Biologist-turned-entrepreneur Riana Lynn is the founder of @journeyfoods, a micro-foods company that launched its first product at the beginning of the year. Lynn has said she was motivated to start her company in part because she grew up in a family that relied on food stamps, and wants to ensure lower-income people have access to healthy products. Her company uses technology and science to create its snacks, and also created JourneyAI, an IA-based platform that evaluates products for shelf-stability, among other features. Lynn's background also includes work as a STEM mentor and co-founder and board member of Women Tech Founders. Follow her on Twitter @rianalynn

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6. Beyond Meat had the most successful first day of trading for a US company since 2000, closing Thursday with a 163 percent increase over the $25 per share price set for the IPO. To celebrate, the company is offering free food at various restaurants today. — BLOOMBERG

7. Hispanic entrepreneurs are thriving in Laredo, Texas and Pembroke Pines, Florida, according to a recent WalletHub report, which evaluates 180 cities for a variety of factors impacting Hispanic businesses. — INC.

8. Highline Wellness co-founders Chris Roth and Chris D'Alberti are trying to change the CBD consumer experience with their new direct-to-consumer company, which offers free two-day shipping and shares their product's lab results with customers. — FORBES

9. The Knight Foundation is awarding more than $1 million to nine projects in the Miami area that help strengthen connections between founders, tech talent and investors. — KNIGHT FOUNDATION

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10. The Push for Inclusion

Diversity issues plague both the startup and venture capital arenas. One recent study showed that 77.1 percent of founders are white, only one percent of founders receiving venture investment are black and startups founded by women receive only 9 percent of investments.

But discussions of diversity increasingly also mention "inclusion." It's a major focus for investor/activist Ellen Pao's nonprofit Project Include, which cites inclusion as one of its core values (along with comprehensiveness and accountability). Pao says her nonprofit has been focusing its efforts on startups, given the diversity stagnation plaguing more established tech companies such as Google and Facebook. Some of Project Include's goals include specific targets for hiring across specific demographics, which addresses the diversity side of the diversity and inclusion proposition.

Inclusion, however, refers to the integration of people from diverse backgrounds once they are in the work place.

The Quantitative Studies of Diversity and Inclusion (QSDI) initiative at the City College of New York has specifically set its sights on finding ways to quantify the more elusive component of inclusion. QSDI founder Paolo Gaudiano in a recent contributor column for Forbes acknowledges that feelings of exclusion and inclusion are difficult to track, and suggests companies create measurable categories, such as access to leadership, projects, compensation and other specific benchmarks. QSDI also is partnering with the Financial Women’s Association to start assessing how inclusion impacts women working in the financial industries sector.

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Julia Goldberg is a journalist and author living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She writes regularly about the intersection of technology and culture, and is the executive director of MIX Santa Fe, a networking organization for entrepreneurs. She writes the Inside Founders newsletter and can be found on Twitter @votergirl.

Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside); Susmita Baral (senior editor at Inside, who runs the biggest mac and cheese account on Instagram); and David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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