Ashton Keys and Jared Eummer, founders of Athletic, which finished in the top four.
Several Florida A&M University (FAMU) alumni entrepreneurs are among the top 10 winners in the Mountain Dew $1 million Real Change Opportunity Fund Competition. Top winners receive funding for their ventures and a matching amount for their schools.
FAMU alumni Jared Eummer and his business partner Ashton Keys, founders of their tech start up Athlytic, received $42,000 for their top-four finish. Another $42,000 was donated to FAMU on behalf of Athlytic. Eummer was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and grew up in Tallahassee. He worked with the Cleveland Cavaliers on brand partnerships before recently launching out on his business venture.
Athlytic bills itself as one of the first platforms to help educate, support, and connect student-athletes to brand partners, making it easier for the players to monetize their name and likeness while still being able to perform at a high level in their sport and in academics. Their goal is to give opportunities to athletes — especially those from economically-disadvantaged and underrepresented communities — a chance to take care of their families and give back to their communities.
“For decades thousands of Student Athletes from underrepresented communities were restricted from monetizing their name, image, and likeness; and as the recent legislation has passed allowing these new opportunities in numerous states, we are excited to be at the forefront of this industry to provide immediate opportunities at the speed of business, that will not hinder their athletic or academic achievements,” said Eummer, who was excited to receive funding for his venture and for FAMU.
Starting on July 1, student-athletes in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Carolina will be able to fully utilize the Athlytic app to use their name, image, and likeness (NIL) to make money without negative consequences, Eummer said.
FAMU alumni Shareek Branch of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, Andrew Grant of Polk County, Fla., and Shamari Pittman of Marianna, Fla., founders of Influent, placed in the top 10 in the Real Change Opportunity Fund Pitch Competition. The trio won $35,000 for their business start-up idea, with $35,000 being donated to the University.
According to their website, Influent’s founders “realized there was a need for a platform that can showcase the uniqueness of Black Culture. There are many black businesses, professionals, influencers, content creators, and much more. We want to drive exposure for all these areas, ensuring that our hard work does not get overlooked. There are many children with aspirations and goals. Let’s lead by example and show them that their dreams can come true. We want the entire world to be able to shop black businesses and be knowledgeable about authentic black culture.”
In December 2020, Mountain Dew created a $1 Million, Real Change Opportunity Fund to help 10 Black entrepreneurs who are current students or recent alumni from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) turn ideas into businesses or scale existing ventures.