EatOkra is a tech platform founded in 2016 by Anthony Edwards Jr. and Mariam Braimah to support Black-owned restaurants. In 2016, the couple launched the mobile app in Brooklyn in order to find and support local Black-owned businesses.
EatOkra made waves in 2018 after George Floyd’s death, with over 3,000 downloads. Over 150,000 people downloaded the app in June 2020, making it easy for them to find Black-owned restaurants. According to The City, EatOkra now has 15,000 restaurants, five full-time employees, and a couple of contractors.
Around the time Donald Trump was elected president, Edwards and Braimah met on the dating app Tinder. According to Edwards, “there was a lot of conversation about social justice, and she said to me, why don’t you create an app to help black businesses?”
According to The City, Edwards served in the Army before earning a computer science degree at Fordham University, where he was the only Black student in his computer engineering classes. Edwards left his job as a senior software engineer at BuildingBlock to devote his full attention to EatOkra.
Braimah, on the other hand, graduated from Harvard and moved to San Francisco to work as a product designer in the tech ecosystem because there weren’t many product designers who looked like her at the time. She later joined Netflix at the age of 24.
In 2016, she left Netflix to become her own boss. She later founded Kimoyo Insights to assist businesses in determining the African market for their products. According to The City, she has so far raised $325,000 for Kimoyo, including a $100,000 pledge from Google. Braimah was also behind a boot camp that taught Africans how to design products.
Meanwhile, EatOkra recently launched a $2 million crowd-funding campaign as part of the company’s overall goal of raising $100 million to support Black-owned restaurants by assisting people in planning trips to those restaurants, purchasing food products from them, and taking cooking classes, according to The City.