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Our Favorite Black-Owned Apps, for the Black Community

This month, as the tech community reflects on contributions to STEM made by Black people, from Dr. Gladys West, the mathematician who developed GPS, to Mary Jackson, NASA’s first Black female engineer, we want to take a moment to celebrate some remarkable products built by Black engineers for BIPOC users.

- Travel

- Safety

- Food

- Finance

- Health & Wellbeing

- Black-owned Business Finder




While a wealth of fantastic travel-based apps exist, many don’t take into account how the experience of traveling as a person of color comes with separate problems, from being rejected by Airbnb hosts to confronting racist attitudes at bars and restaurants.

Here are some new products that have been built to redress the shortage of apps improving safety and the travel experience for people of color.

Green Book Global


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Georgia Tech graduate, Lawrence Phillips, founded the first-ever Black travel review website Green Book Global after traveling to all seven continents and 30 countries in a single year. 

Phillips describes Green Book Global as a Black Tripadvisor that rates destinations from an inclusivity perspective, helping Black travelers make informed decisions.

He realized the need for a modern-day Green Book—an annual guidebook for African American roadtrippers started in 1936—after experiencing the difference between traveling in more Black-friendly places like Western Europe, versus others, such as China, where people pointed at him and took photos in the street. 

He began coding it out in 2015 and launched it in 2018. Today, it boasts thousands of reviews from Black Travelers covering all seven continents, including Antarctica.


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Web Designer and Brand Developer Stefan Grant founded Noirbnb—a vacation rental platform aimed at travelers of color and allies—after neighbors called the police on him and other Black guests staying at an Airbnb in Atlanta in 2015.

A subsequent study found that users with African American names were 16% less likely to have booking requests accepted by Airbnb hosts, and this number increased among hosts who had never had Black guests stay in their properties before.

Airbnb rejected Grant’s initial offer of a partnership to address the problem of discrimination on the platform, prompting him to build Noirbnb instead.

Today Noirbnb covers short-term rentals, all-inclusive resorts, a travel club—Club Noir—and over 345,000 travel activities.

Xpat App


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The Xpat App was founded by Shar Wynter in 2020. It was designed to improve social mobility and well-being by providing exposure and access to experiences, networks, and opportunities abroad.

As well as being one of the largest directories for Black expats and digital nomads, Xpat also caters to students studying overseas and offers resources on local hotspots, professional services, and community engagement.

Originally, Wynter launched Xpat Chats, a live series highlighting the experiences of the Black American community living overseas. After visiting over 50 countries and living in the UK and Portugal, she launched Xpat Chats, which has now grown into Xpat App and, as of December 2023, Xpat AI—a custom GPT AI tool that provides personalized support to Xpat users.

With a professional background that includes NASA and Deloitte, Wynter now also serves as an Executive Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Advisor for a range of organizations from pre-seed startups to Fortune 500 companies.




Just Us

Just Us is a safety app for Black and Brown drivers in the USA that allows them to alert friends, family, and other emergency contacts during traffic stops.

Developed by clinical psychologist and domestic violence shelter director Charmine Davis, Just Us was built following the murder of George Floyd, at the same time her own son obtained his driver’s license.

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A Harvard study found Black drivers are three times a likely to be killed during a police encounter than other drivers.

The app is predominantly voice-activated—a design feature included in light of the fact that most police shootings occur when Black drivers reach for something—and consists of three main features: 

  1. "Check-In" sends messages to five designated contacts telling them that the user is safe, with their current location.
  2. "Head's Up" notifies designated contacts that the person is being pulled over by law enforcement, sends their location, and begins livestreaming.
  3. "Help" begins livestreaming and notifying others within a 2-mile radius of the app that the user needs assistance.

In addition to keeping users safe, Just Us is also contributing valuable location data for campaigners and authorities by pinpointing exact areas with high incidence rates, increasing accountability for police operating in those areas.




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Developed in 2016 by couple Anthony and Janique Edwards, EatOkra launched as an app for iPhone and Android the following year. 

The app connects its users with Black-owned restaurants across the USA and celebrates Black culinary culture and history, hence the use of Okra in the name, the first plant brought to the USA from West Africa during the slave trade.

By 2020, it was working with over 7,000 Black-owned restaurants, cafes, bakeries, wineries, and food trucks across the country, and today they have partnerships with over 11,000 Black-owned establishments as well as brands like Uber Eats, Apple, and Bacardi.


Dashible is a New York-based app helping users find deals, benefit from loyalty programs, and earn rewards from local businesses in a single SaaS platform that benefits local businesses as well as customers.

Users swipe left and right on deals they don’t like and like, respectively, and then redeem those deals in person at the business itself (restaurant, cafe, etc).

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The app was developed by Marvin Johnson—previously VP of Product Development at Mastercard— and Tony Carter—co-founder and CTO of CipherLink before building Dashible.

Despite only being launched in 2019, with a small team of five, Dashible already hit $1.5 million in revenue by the end of 2023.



Soko is a farmer’s market app designed to connect users with the growing number of farmer’s markets in the USA, developed by Hugh Molotsi—an experienced tech developer and former Engineering Fellow at payments app Intuit.

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Frustrated with Silicon Valley tech innovations aimed at wealthier users, Molotsi was determined to build something that would serve those at the bottom of the economic pyramid. 

He identified farmer’s markets as pillars of a community and promoting healthy, organic food, while Soko also supports minorities, who are overrepresented at farmer’s markets given the opportunity these spaces offer to small and “nascent businesses” to experiment and grow.



Kiddie Kredit

Kiddie Kredit is an educational app designed to help children aged 4-12 build healthy financial habits and learn about credit. The app has been lauded for its intuitive UI and for successfully engaging children in learning functional life skills.

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Founded in 2018 by Evan Leaphart, who also founded the Black Men Tech Talk conference, the app features a patent-pending algorithm that creates a credit score from 0-100, similar to FICO scoring models, and offers features like chore tracking to teach responsibility and a collaborative ecosystem between child, parent, and educational programs.

The website also has a blog and a weekly podcast with financial advice and interviews with experts, parent, and other tech CEOs. 



Health & Wellbeing


Founded in 2020 by Katara McCarthy, Exhale is an emotional well-being app created by women of color and focused on the mental health of Black, Indigenous, and Women of Color.

Acknowledging that Black Women face particular mental health issues stemming from systemic oppression, microaggressions, and cultural insensitivity, Exhale was built to provide Women of Color with specific exercises that aid in improving mental health in the face of those challenges.

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In addition to these services, Exhale has also been conducting reports to better understand the specific mental health issues faced by BIWOC, with a recent study finding that 72% of Black Women would be more inclined to use mental health resources if they specifically addressed the unique experiences they face in society.

Some of the services Exhale offers are Guided Journeys, breathing exercises, and sound therapy.



Black-Owned Businesses



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Following the BLM protests after the murder of George Floyd, New York comedian Jon Laster wanted to find a lasting way to contribute to the advancement of opportunities for Black people in the USA.

He founded Blapp that year to help users find Black-owned restaurants. Cafes, Bars, clubs, boutiques, and shops across the country. Today, over 60,000 businesses are registered on the app, which boasts a sleek UI and pleasing color palette. 

Laster told Travel + Leisure that his goal for Blapp “is that it will be part of the thought process of the consumer. If people consider checking Blapp in the future, then Black-owned businesses will do better than ever before in the history of this country.”

Official Black Wall Street

Official Black Wall Street Founder and CEO, Mandy Bowman helped spearhead the #BuyBlack movement before creating the OBWS app and online platform in 2015. It helps connect consumers with Black-owned businesses globally—from pharmacies and restaurants to e-commerce brands and psychiatry sessions.

Bowman was inspired by the Black entrepreneurialism shown in building Tulsa’s Black Wall Street during the Jim Crow era in the 1900s. This extraordinary neighborhood featured Black-owned hotels, doctor's offices, restaurants, grocery stores, and much more. Tragically, in in the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, white supremacists killed hundreds of Black residents, destroyed these businesses, and burned more than 1,250 homes.

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To date, OBWS has recirculated over $10 million into Black businesses and has expanded into ten other countries outside of the USA.

OBWS also has a blog that offers regular updates on Black businesses, news related to Black entrepreneurs, and advice on how to continue supporting Black-owned businesses around the world and online.


That wraps up our favorite apps developed by Black engineers and developers for Black History Month 2024, but we have no doubt that the rest of the year will see the launch of even more fantastic products from the Black tech community!