After the TBR Lab accelerator, LUHU wins a venture capital partnership
Above: Zwede Hewitt. Photo courtesy of TBR Labs.
After eight weeks of participating in the TBR LAB Startup Accelerator Program, followed by an additional five weeks in Silicon Valley, LUHU co-founder Zwede Hewitt received a capital investment valuing the startup company at $ 3 million. , which allowed him to take a further step. his global business.
Hewitt initially enrolled in TBR LAB to leverage the “incredible benefits and highly credible organizational partnerships” of the regional tech ecosystem, and he believes his participation in the program prepared LUHU for this investment step.
According to Hewitt, “Major VCs such as Plug and Play tend to seek out founders with some experience and knowledge. Participation in programs such as TBR mitigates some of the risks of working with early stage founders by helping to solve problems and providing access to mentors and strategic partnerships to support scale.
Hewitt, a Trinidadian, along with his Granada-born and Morocco-based co-founder Kenroy George, created LUHU (Let Us Help U) to provide a space where people can experience purposeful engagement while shopping online in their community. Now, they hope to follow in the footsteps of brands like PayPal and Dropbox, which also received plug and play investments in their early days, before becoming household names.
“Through this partnership, Plug and Play brings treasury, consulting and strategic partnership services to the development of LUHU, as well as an office in Silicon Valley,” Hewitt told Trinidad Express in an interview, indicating that the Funding had already been allocated with 70 percent committed to moving the business forward, improving its technology and supporting user acquisition goals. Twenty percent will be allocated to operational and legal expenses, of which ten percent will be used to commercialize the application.
Hewitt also noted that with Plug and Play leading the current funding round, his startup was able to work with the company’s brainstorming arm and receive critical advice on structuring deals and negotiations. “This has been extremely valuable as there is still a general lack of knowledge regarding technology investment in the region,” he said.
With the partnership scaled up in tandem with the growth of LUHU, the startup anticipates increased funding and strategic support as the platform gains popularity.
Dana Diefendorf, Senior Investment Partner at Plug and Play Ventures, expressed her enthusiasm for the partnership with LUHU. with, and Zwede and Kenroy are the right founding team to build this market.
According to TBR LAB co-founder Kirk-Anthony Hamilton: “This is the kind of funding we need to see in the region. Tech companies are built very differently from traditional businesses. This rich valuation of a start-up business provides the organization with the fuel it needs to take it to the next level while leaving significant room for additional investment and overall growth.
The fact that an entity with the expertise and experience of Plug and Play considers that two Caribbean founders are the right people to build a global market, further validates our thesis that great companies can be created in the Caribbean and we wish the LUHU team every success on their journey.
Director of acceleration programs at TBR LAB, Eric Sonnier agrees and believes that LUHU “has the capacity to be one of the major players at the international level”.
After supporting Hewitt at various stages of the negotiation process, Sonnier said, “Zwede and his team have done an incredible job to get there and I am honored that he has brought in TBR LAB at certain points in the process. process to help him. think strategically and position the business for growth and success. It’s encouraging to see someone working hard to achieve their goals, and that hard work pays off.
“We are thrilled with the LUHU team and what it means for more seed investment dollars to flow into the region. It is a victory for all the founders who build in the Caribbean.
With the company already registered in Trinidad and Tobago, as well as incorporated in Michigan, USA, the next step on the agenda for Hewitt and his team is to incorporate LUHU in Silicon Valley.