Tackling Poverty and Racism in America:
An Acumen America Leadership Series

In collaboration with Acumen America, we’d like to invite you to Acumen Academy’s latest virtual event series. 

The COVID-19 crisis and enduring racial injustice have highlighted failed systems and disproportionately impacted low-income communities and people of color.  It has also emphasized the inextricable relationship between poverty and race in the United States.  To address poverty and inequality, we need new solutions to upend America’s broken systems–from transforming how healthcare is delivered to building pathways toward quality jobs–that also tackle racial disparity head on.

Acumen America invests in early-stage businesses that tackle poverty and inequality in the United States, delivering critical products and services for low-income Americans. These companies are led by founders with extraordinary vision for and commitment toward a more just and inclusive America, and we are excited to host four conversations to share their experiences.

Aug 24, 11am Pacific Time
Dr. Eric E. Whitaker (CEO Zing Health) with Miriam Rivera (Ulu Ventures) and Catherine Casey Nanda (Acumen America)

Sep 2, 11am Pacific Time:
Irma L. Olguin Jr. (CEO Bitwise Industries) with Amon Anderson (Acumen America)

Sep 9, 11am Pacific Time: 
Abbey Wemimo (CEO Esusu) with Eliza Golden Roady (Acumen America)

Sep 17, 11:30am Pacific Time:
Ashley Edwards (CEO Mindright Health) with Anthony Brown (Acumen America)​​​​​​​

Each event lasts 60 minutes. Each CEO will share more about their work, personal story, and vision for change. We will also leave time for audience Q&A.

Register for our four event series below. 

You'll be signed up to all four events at once. Once you are registered, we will email you a link to each event 24 hours before it begins. Recordings will also be available to registered participants.
Learn more about our amazing speakers below.

Dr. Eric E. Whitaker
Dr. Eric E. Whitaker is the founder and CEO of Zing Health, a tech-enabled Medicare Advantage health insurer focused on Seniors currently underserved by existing health insurers. He is a physician-entrepreneur, who also co-founded Symphonix Health Holdings, LLC (sold to United Health Group in 2016) and Next Level Health, an Illinois-based Medicaid managed care organization. 
Prior to Zing, Symphonix, and Next Level, Dr. Whitaker was the Executive Vice President, Strategic Affiliations and Associate Dean of Community-Based Research at the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he led the Urban Health Initiative. Dr. Whitaker also served as Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. In this capacity, Dr. Whitaker oversaw an agency with a $450M budget with over 1,200 employees statewide, and a major focus during his tenure was eliminating health disparities for Illinois’ 12.5M residents.

 Dr. Whitaker received his BS in Chemistry from Grinnell College, an MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health and an MD from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. He is trained in both Primary Care Internal Medicine and Preventive Medicine/Public Health.  Dr. Whitaker is a member of both the Commercial Club and the Business Leadership Council and serves on the boards of Grinnell College, the CPASS Foundation (Chairman) and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. 

About Zing Health
Zing Health is a Medicare Advantage plan for Seniors traditionally underserved by existing health plans. The company is building a plan that addresses the needs of these low-income, diverse member populations, building provider networks in the communities they serve and facilitating care that emphasizes addressing social needs. Zing also uses a pioneering, community-based model that moves care delivery beyond the hospital and clinic into the community and home – ensuring their members have the care and support they need for good health and wellbeing. 

Miriam Rivera
Miriam Rivera is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Ulu Ventures, a seed stage venture fund focused on the enterprise.  Rivera is also the co-founder of Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs, a network of 1,000+ Stanford alumni investors and entrepreneurs.  Rivera has served on the Board of Visitors of Stanford Law School (SLS), Stanford University’s Board of Trustees,  the Dean’s Advisory Council for the Stanford GSB, and as an advisor to the Rock Center on Corporate Governance.  She is currently on Stanford's Lead Council, on the SLS Venture Fund, and was recently awarded the Stanford Medal, an honor granted to fewer than .1% of alumni.  As a first-generation college student and scholarship recipient, Miriam graduated from Stanford University where she earned the AB, AM, and JD/MBA degrees.

About Ulu Ventures
Ulu Ventures is a seed stage venture firm investing primarily in enterprise IT. Ulu uses data-driven portfolio construction, explicit measurement of risk, and principled, repeatable decision making.  Decision analysis also reduces cognitive bias and has made Ulu’s portfolio quite diverse by industry standards. This makes Ulu conventional in the world of institutional investors but contrarian as compared to other VCs. 

​​​​​​​Irma  L Olguin Jr.
In 2013, Irma L. Olguin Jr. decided to build a company focused on strengthening the tech industry in Fresno, Calif. and leveraging it as the economic driver to remake the city. Bitwise Industries now operates with the goal of activating human potential for the technology industry in underdog cities across the United States. As CEO and co-founder, Irma oversees the company’s operations teams, as well as the technology-focused training program of Geekwise Academy, and software development firm, Shift3 Technologies. A main component of her role is ensuring the company’s fidelity to mission, strategy, and long-term goals. 

Previously, Irma created 59DaysOfCode, a software development competition to highlight and encourage the Central Valley’s tech industry. She co-founded Hashtag, an open workspace for designers, developers, and entrepreneurs to collaborate. And, she co-founded Edit LLC to solve efficiency and data issues in the agricultural industry. 

About Bitwise Industries
Bitwise is a tech ecosystem, activating human potential to elevate underdog cities around the country. Bitwise teaches people to code and focuses on building on-ramps for those traditionally left out of the technology industry. They build world-class tech venues and lease state-of-the-art spaces, creating a place for talent and opportunity to connect and thrive. Bitwise creates companies focused on solving some of the world’s biggest challenges. In each Bitwise venue, our companies sit alongside other amazing tech businesses, building a diverse technology industry in underdog cities. You can read or watch more about Bitwise in The Atlantic, Bloomberg News, and The Fresno Bee.

Abbey Wemimo
Abbey Wemimo is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Esusu, a financial technology platform that reports rental data to build tenant's credit scores while helping property owners increase revenue, lower evictions powered by differentiated data and insights. Prior to Esusu, Abbey founded Clean Water for Everyone, a global social venture providing affordable access to clean water for 250,000+ people in six countries. He also founded a data analytics company designed to gather machine-readable data on NGOs operating in Africa which was acquired in 2014. Previously, Abbey was a mergers and acquisitions consultant at PwC, where he worked on more than 20 buy and sell-side deals valued at over $50 billion. He also gained valuable experience working with Accenture, European Commission, and Goldman Sachs. Abbey and his work have been recognized in the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Quartz, Fortune, Teen Vogue, Vice, Black Enterprise, and Cheddar. Abbey was selected by Queen Elizabeth II as a Queen Young Leader. He was inducted into The Royal Commonwealth Society in 2017 and named to the 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30 list. He speaks at global conferences and has presented at the United Nations, the Vatican, the World Food Prize, and Clinton Global Initiative among others. Abbey graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management. He holds a Masters of Public Administration degree from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School School of Public Service and a Leading Change Scholar from The University of Cambridge.

​​​​​​​About Esusu
​​​​​​​Esusu is the leading financial technology platform that leverages data solutions to empower tenants and improve property performance. Esusu's rent reporting platform captures rental payment data and reports it to credit bureaus to boost credit scores. This allows tenants to build and establish their credit scores while helping property owners increase revenue, lower evictions, and fill vacancies powered by differentiated data and insights.

Ashley Edwards
Ashley Edwards is Founder and CEO of MindRight Health. She is a Forbes 30 under 30 Social Entrepreneur and her thought leadership in mental health innovation led Forbes to name her one of the top "Healers" set to influence the next century.  Before MindRight, she served as Director of Operations of a high school in Newark, NJ. Ashley holds a MBA & MA in Education from Stanford University, where she was a recipient of the Miller Social Change Leadership Award. She graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor’s in Economics. Ashley is a proud resident of Newark, NJ, where MindRight is currently headquartered. Outside of work, Ashley serves as Impact Co-Chair of the Global Forbes 30 Under 30 community and loves to travel.

About MindRight Health
MindRight Health meets young people where they are by providing mental health coaching over text message. Members receive a personal team of trauma-informed coaches, supervised by licensed clinicians, who proactively support them 7 days/week, 365 days/year. Designed for underserved communities, MindRight breaks historical barriers of access to care and mental health stigma by providing a continuum of culturally-responsive, nonclinical support. MindRight provides health partners with real-time community wellness data to address social determinants of health and prevent crises. Founded by Ashley Edwards in 2019, with the mission to advance health equity by making mental health care radically accessible and inclusive of communities of color and low-income families, MindRight Health is headquartered in Newark, NJ. 

Contact us at [email protected] if you have questions. 

  • Miriam Rivera

    Co-Founder & Managing Director of Ulu Ventures, and Acumen America Investment Committee

  • Dr. Eric E. Whitaker

    Founder & CEO, Zing Health

  • Ashley Edwards

    Founder & CEO, Mindright Health

  • Abbey Wemimo

    Co-Founder & CEO, Esusu

  • Irma L. Olguin Jr.

    Co-Founder & CEO, Bitwise Industries

  • Catherine Casey Nanda

    Acumen America

  • Amon Anderson

    Acumen America

  • Eliza Golden Roady

    Acumen America

  • Anthony Brown

    Acumen America

  • , ,