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A Black couple is cruising toward major investment in their tech startup. Inpathy envisions a different kind of social media platform. Ziarekenya Smith, a Detroit native and founder, along with his wife and co-founder Kathryn, are bracing for a year of rapid growth after securing major partnerships over the past year.

Founded by Ziarekenya after years of solitary work, Inpathy is a tech company and app that encourages users to express themselves authentically, rather than trying to compare themselves to others.

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“Inpathy came to my mind because we need to create a more enjoyable, balanced, human-centered and transparent platform,” Ziarekeyna Smith told The Black Wall Street Times back in 2021. 

Joining the team a year later, co-founder and Chief Operations Officer Kathryn Smith brought with her a background in mental health and wellness. She holds a master’s degree in social work and merges tech with the skills and experience to cure the “socially transmitted disease” that causes many young social media users to negatively compare themselves to others.

According to McLean Harvard Medical School Affiliate, social media has a reinforcing nature that “activates the brain’s reward center by releasing dopamine, a ‘feel-good chemical’ linked to pleasurable activities such as sex, food, and social interaction.” 

The platforms are designed to be addictive and can increase anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns. They also encourage users to compare their lives with others, which can lead to feelings of jealousy that worsen depression. That’s where Inpathy comes in.

“Social media is fake, but what it’s doing to our mental health is real,” Kathryn Smith told The Black Wall Street Times.

Inpathy co-founder Kathryn Smith / Provided

Black couple brings balance to social media through Inpathy

The dynamic duo, Ziare and Kathryn, soon began dating. Now married, they’ve been racking up successes ever since as they seek major funding in 2023.

“People love Kathryn and I. Not just the idea of Inpathy, but the story that we bring,” Smith added.

In November 2022, the company graduated from the Headstream accelerator program. Headstream “works with teens, tech innovators and experts to understand how we can use what’s great about tech to make it even better,” according to the their website.

On November 3rd, Ziarekenya Smith pitched his company at Headstream as a graduate of the program. 

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A month later, Smith was nominated for NOLA Tech 30 2022, which recognizes Black and BIPOC innovators making a mark in tech.

Near the end of 2022, Inpathy released a demo video, giving people an illustrative understanding of the company.

Soon after the demo’s release, Ziare and Kathryn announced that Inpathy had entered into the quarter finals of Code Launch Houston. The initiative connects entrepreneurs with major financial investment.

“That demo is what got us into the quarter finals,” Ziarekenya Smith said. “Finally people get to see what we’re talking about.” 

Inpathy co-founder Ziarekenya Smith / Provided

If all goes well, Kathryn will attend the pitch competition for a chance to win the grand prize of $150,000, Ziarekenya Smith said.

In a December 28 Twitter post, he congratulated his partner in crime on the achievement.

Kathryn Smith has also been accepted into All Raise, an organization that empowers women to lead in tech. Out of 177 applicants, she was accepted.

“It goes to show how Inpathy’s moving through the process,” Ziarekenya Smith said.

Securing more funding

Moving forward, the pair is laser-focused on the needs and perspectives Gen Z’ers hold toward social media.

“To them it is reality,” which causes the side effects of feeling like you need to live up to those standards, Kathryn Smith said.

Besides securing more funding, “I want to innovate in the space of social emotional learning. I really wanna see that change this year. I’m hoping we can see a breakthrough in digital wellness tech,” she said of her hopes for 2023.

For Ziarekenya Smith, joining more accelerator programs and securing more funding is his top priority.

“Our stories together, plus the product, is creating this movement of support,” he said.

“Once Inpathy is out, we have no doubt about it. Inpathy will scale. I really see a dominant season for Inpathy. It’s all about making high quality decisions this year.”

To join the Inpathy waitlist, click here.

Deon Osborne was born in Minneapolis, MN and raised in Lawton, OK before moving to Norman where he attended the University of Oklahoma. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Strategic Media and has...