Black tech entrepreneurs fostering innovation

Digital Catapult and Sony Music UK recently unveiled their groundbreaking FutureScope Black Founders Programme, aimed at supporting early-stage Black tech founders in the digital entertainment industry. The programme offers a 16-week journey filled with mentoring and investment readiness workshops, empowering these entrepreneurs to commercialise their innovative solutions.

The cohort of ten pioneering startups comprises a diverse mix of businesses led equally by women and men, leveraging advanced digital technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual and augmented reality, and distributed ledger technologies. 

Their wide-reaching solutions span various sectors such as art, music, social media, retail, and tourism. For example, the startups include Cashblack, rewarding online shopping with Black-owned businesses, and Flossy, providing AI-powered tools for collaborative image creation.

With a focus on transforming the UK’s digital entertainment space and fostering a new era in the sector, the FutureScope Black Founders Programme creates valuable connections and knowledge for these Black tech entrepreneurs. By partnering with Sony Music UK, Digital Catapult aims to facilitate future investment opportunities and promote innovation within the UK’s creative industries.

The 10 startups joining the FutureScope Black Founders Programme are:

Cashblack – Cashblack is a platform that rewards members with cashback when they shop online with Black-owned businesses.

Deya – Deya is a platform for Black creative talent & creative companies, building a new approach for Black creatives to find jobs and community.

Flossy – Flossy offers tools for users to create remixable merch and products. It leverages AI to allow users to come together and co-create images.

Happaning Ltd – Happaning is a crowdsourced event preview app. Powered by its patented ViiVid® media format, the app lets a user request trusted, real-time video previews through the eyes of the community.

Korda – Korda empowers music creators, songwriters and innovators by providing tools that support all stages of the music lifecycle, from creation to monetisation.

Loud Parade – Loud Parade is an award-winning music creative and sonic branding company that makes bespoke music compositions aimed at Gen Z for brands and creative agencies.

Musircle – Musircle is an AI-driven social media platform that analyses the listening habits of users to deliver their musical DNA.

Nyangibo Gallery – Nyangibo Gallery is an online and in-person digital fine art gallery, with a focus on extended reality (XR) art.

Stories & The City – Stories & The City is a cultural tourism immersive startup that uses augmented reality (AR) and a user’s smartphone to create bespoke cultural city tours.

Waves – Waves is an AI-powered web3 marketplace for collecting and trading rare beats.

The programme addresses the challenges faced by Black founders in raising venture capital, with research showing that only 0.24% of the total investment between 2009 and 2019 went to 38 Black founders. To support participating businesses, each startup receives a financial contribution of £3,000 and additional backing from ‘Musiio by SoundCloud.’

Moreover, the programme’s long-lasting impact is ensured through expert consultants and mentors from the entertainment and tech sectors, along with support from nine purpose-driven organizations promoting inclusivity and opportunities for Black businesses in the UK’s tech startup community.

Jessica Rushworth, Chief Strategy and Policy Officer at Digital Catapult, expressed excitement about the cohort’s diversity and potential.

“This cohort is really one of the most exciting we have seen since the launch of FutureScope nearly two years ago. The range of solutions on show, built using advanced digital technologies, just highlights why companies like this are a key part of the future of the UK’s creative sector.”

Dorothy Hui, SVP Digital and Audience Development at Sony Music UK’s 4th Floor Creative, shares this excitement:

“We are thrilled to welcome an inspiring cohort of founders – all building businesses around creative uses of technology – to the FutureScope Black Founders programme. Sony Music is committed to helping improve diversity in digital entertainment and we look forward to supporting the entrepreneurs participating in the programme by providing access to industry expertise and our network. We can’t wait to see how the businesses develop through the programme.“

The programme culminates with a final showcase event in early November 2023, where the founders will have the opportunity to pitch to a select group of investors.

Digital Catapult:

Digital Catapult is the UK authority on advanced digital technology. Through collaboration and innovation, it accelerates industry adoption to drive growth and opportunity across the economy.

Data Catapult brings together an expert and enterprising community of researchers, startups, scale-ups and industry leaders to discover new ways to solve the big challenges limiting the UK’s future potential. Through its specialist programmes and experimental facilities, it make sure that innovation thrives and the right solutions make it to the real world.

Its goal is to accelerate new possibilities in everything we do and for every business it partners with on the journey – breaking down barriers, de-risking innovation, opening up markets and responsibly shaping the products, services and experiences of the future.

Visit for more information.


FutureScope enables deep tech companies in the UK to overcome barriers to growth, providing them with the resources, networks, knowledge and skills they need to secure investment and grow faster.

FutureScope applies Digital Catapult’s proven methodologies to accelerate development and de-risk the adoption of successful solutions that use technology in innovative ways – individually, or in combination.

Sony Music UK:

Sony Music UK was formed in 1887 with the formation of Columbia Records – the oldest surviving label in the recording industry.

Today, Sony Music comprises a variety of record labels devoted to every genre of music, from rock and pop to classical, hip hop and R&B. It seeks out the industry’s best artists and executives to create world-class music and audio entertainment.

In the UK, Columbia, RCA, Ministry of Sound, Since ’93, Relentless, Black Butter, Insanity, 5K Records, Robots + Humans, WEAREBLK, Music For Nations, The Orchard and AWAL are all part of the Sony Music family and represent a hugely diverse roster of artists.

They are joined by Commercial Group, home to its catalogue, merchandising company Ceremony of Roses and 4th Floor Creative, which comprises Brand Partnerships, Sync, Visual Creative, Podcasting, Digital and Audience Development.

Sony Music UK is part of Sony Music Group, a global recorded music and publishing company, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America. The company represents a vast global catalogue, including some of the most important recordings in history.


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