From a Digital Literacy Platform to 5G Infrastructure Connecting Underserved Communities: McDermott Rise Selects Next Member Cohorts - McDermott Will & Emery

From a Digital Literacy Platform to 5G Infrastructure Connecting Underserved Communities: McDermott Rise Selects Next Member Cohorts


International law firm McDermott Will & Emery is proud to announce the first 11 members of the 2021 McDermott Rise cohort have been selected. McDermott Rise member businesses are owned or managed by a person(s) of color with an innovative business plan, many whom are helping to solve a problem affecting underserved communities. These business endeavors include culturally appropriate consumer products in health and beauty, a digital platform using music to advance the public education literacy rate and a broadband internet provider for underserved rural and urban families.

“McDermott Rise was born out of our commitment to knock down unfair barriers to success faced by many entrepreneurs of color,” Anthony (Tony) Upshaw, Miami-based litigation partner and member of the McDermott Rise steering committee, said. “We warmly welcome our new members to our incredible roster of skilled entrepreneurs who are helping shape markets and improve outcomes for all.”

The team welcomes the newest McDermott Rise members, which include:

Alma Ocean – Owner and founder Danielle Hodge uses her Caribbean roots to inspire the designs on her aquatic goods, including inflatable pool floats, towels and accessories.

Beautiful Brown Girls (BBG) – BBG is a safe space and in-real-life community and social networking app for women of color. Members get access to best-in-class social events and life-changing content curated to help women “glow up” in every aspect of their life, create genuine connections, build a support system and, above all, thrive.

Canary TelehealthCanary Telehealth provides telehealth services to improve access to care for underserved populations, help close gaps in care and reduce healthcare disparities.

CircleGX – CircleGx builds 5G infrastructure to deliver broadband internet to unserved and underserved communities in both urban and rural markets. Incubated in Dell Labs, CircleGX aims to close the gap in access to internet, further connecting people with education, jobs and other resources.

Foreverly – Foreverly is an online registry designed to support loved ones who are coping with grief. The registry includes items like food delivery and cleaning services and can be easily shared with friends and family.

Confidence of GaBBY Goodwin (Confidence) – This mother-daughter duo are solving common problems faced by those styling Black hair, such as disappearing hair barrettes and a lack of effective styling products. Confidence supplies non-slip GaBBY Bows and plant-based natural hair styling products that save time, money and frustration.

Grapevine Health – Grapevine Health leverages the power of technology, video storytelling and trusted messengers to improve health literacy and drive better health outcomes in underserved communities.

GRID – GRID is a US-based tech startup with a vision to unleash the power of video games to educate, engage and empower people around the world. GRID’s platform, called Breshna, provides no-code, low-cost and high-speed access to purposeful video games.

Kith Republic – Kith Republic is the first mobile app to empower professional women to thrive at work and navigate their careers. Kith Republic provides direct access to independent human resources experts to help women solve their work-related issues.

Mark Labs – Mark Labs is a venture-backed, revenue-generating technology company that builds Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and impact software solutions. The technology also helps asset managers—who are experts at pursuing profits and optimizing portfolios—become experts at building an equitable and sustainable private sector.

Words Liive – Words Liive is a digital application platform (the Opus app) that uses a music input for reading and writing curriculums to bolster literacy rates in public education. The Opus app integrates popular song lyrics into traditional classroom text-based lesson plans. The company’s goal is to advance public education student reading levels at or above their grade level from approximately 33% to 66% by 2040.

Since its launch in July 2020, the McDermott Rise program has successfully accelerated the launch and growth of member businesses. Examples of legal counsel provided under the McDermott Rise program include closing Seed Series fundraising valued at over $3.1 million for member Clinify Health and protecting vital intellectual property for Clear Eye Test (formerly Digiteyez) prior to launching the world’s first-ever remote, digital optical prescription.

“We celebrate the success our members have achieved in transforming their business plan into a reality—and recognize and share in their commitment to propel the success of minority owned businesses that need an extra boost. We are humbled to be a small part of their journey,” Tony added.

Learn more about McDermott Rise here. Eligible applicants are encouraged to apply here.

About McDermott

McDermott Will & Emery partners with leaders around the world to fuel missions, knock down barriers and shape markets. Our team works seamlessly across practices and industries to deliver highly effective—and often unexpected—solutions that propel success. More than 1,200 lawyers strong, we bring our personal passion and legal prowess to bear in every matter for our clients and the people they serve.