Trep House is a new venture development platform offering support services and products for Black and brown founders. Kémo A’akhutera, the platform’s CEO, describes it as a virtual super hub offering incubation and acceleration services to scale businesses.
He said he originally set out to create a coworking space six years ago. A’akhutera then transitioned into creating Trep House after doing some research on innovation hubs.
“If we need to have incubation and acceleration for these founders, what’s the point of them just sitting around if they don’t really know how to launch and scale their businesses?” he said.
The platform builds a development plan to guide businesses through growth and maturation stages. Trep House also has a marketplace for founders offering courses, mentorship opportunities, marketing, accounting, legal services and other business needs.
“We don’t expect you to try to become a marketer or an accountant to run your business just like everybody else,” A’akhutera said. “You should be able to contract out to service providers or go to a mentor.”
Another distinction for the platform is its Startup Studio devoted to building companies from the ground up.
“We take great business ideas from proven entrepreneurs, back them with funding and then launch and grow them into powerful startups ready to scale,” he said.
Trep House already has some local businesses under its umbrella like a Black woman-owned medical marijuana processing lab and a vegan food truck.
The platform is also actively recruiting its first 100 founding members. Unique perks to being a founding member include being the first to access funding opportunities and receiving specialized attention for their business development needs.
“Those first 100 members ideally will all be people that we personally know,” A’akhutera said. “Once we take it outside of Dayton, we really want to go for a nationwide scale.”
Looking long term, he wants to create a venture fund to invest in businesses utilizing Trep House’s platform and growing through its Startup Studio. “We really want to be focused on not just throwing money at them,” A’akhutera said. “We want to actually help develop their ventures.”
Developing Black and brown founders is the name of the game for Trep House. “I want founders to go through our venture development process, actually see their startup evolving and then get to the point where individuals or organizations are stepping forward wanting to invest in their businesses,” he said.