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A company whose CEO was named one of the top 30 Black founders in 2021 is moving from Austin, TX, to the burgeoning tech ecosystem of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Don Ward runs Laundris, a business-to-business Enterprise Industrial Automation software platform, and he’s moving his headquarters to the home of the original Black Wall Street, the Tulsa Regional Chamber announced on Wednesday.
The autonomous inventory system uses a patented artificial technology platform to update businesses on the status of their products.
Over a century ago, the wealthiest Black business district in the nation, Historic Greenwood’s Black Wall Street, attracted dozens of melanin-rich entrepreneurs from across the nation. Today, that spirit of cooperative economics is experiencing a rebirth, dubbed by Greenwood descendants as “Black Tech Street.”
Thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit of Black Americans, along with financial support from various philanthropic organizations and capital investors, Black-owned tech companies are flocking to the growing city.
“Our company is primarily focused on the next generation of new and emerging technology, specifically the physical to digital transformation of enterprises,” says Laundris CEO Don Ward. “The geographic location of Tulsa and the resources provided give Laundris a strategic advantage as we scale throughout the United States and globally. We look forward to participating in – and growing – the city’s tech ecosystem and community.”
What is Laundris?
Laundris provides physical to digital transformation of inventory lifecycle for properties (hospitality, health care, short term rentals), production facilities, and supply chain vendors.
The company has developed a patent for its Autonomous Inventory Management platform, which uses artificial intelligence to provide real-time business information.
Laundris is also the world’s first platform to bring transparency into a single pane of glass for ownership, management companies, operations, purchasing, procurement, inventory vendors, and facility operations.
Their next generation software platform is designed to streamline and bring efficiency to inventory management by providing real-time article tracking, analytics, inventory state, and location status.
Tulsa’s Future, the Tulsa Regional Chamber-led regional economic development partnership, worked with the George Kaiser Family Foundation to help Laundris identify its new home at 36 Degrees North, which is specifically designed to support high-growth startups, small teams and solo entrepreneurs, the Chamber stated in a press release.
“Laundris is clearly an innovator and disruptor in the linen and technology industry,” says Arthur Jackson, senior vice president of economic development for the Tulsa Regional Chamber. “Their presence in Tulsa will not only mean good things for their company, but they will also add to the critical mass of tech-based companies we are attracting to our region.”
From Black Wall Street to Black Tech Street
Build in Tulsa and Lightship Capital provide funding resources to companies with the potential to scale quickly. Tulsa Remote pays entrepreneurs to relocate to the city. Thanks to these and other initiatives, the northeastern region in Oklahoma is experiencing a tech boom not seen since the days before a White mob burned, bombed, looted and destroyed 36 square blocks of Historic Greenwood District in 1921.
While the city’s mayor continues to deny reparations to the three known living survivors of that massacre, community partners have come together to incentivise economic development.
“Thanks to the diligent work of our partners at 36 Degrees North and the Tulsa Regional Chamber, Tulsa has gained yet another tech-focused business,” Mayor G.T. Bynum says. “I’m excited to welcome Laundris to Tulsa as we work to attract the next generation of tech businesses and jobs to our city.”
Laundris works with multiple technology partners, including HCL Technologies, Microsoft, Oracle, and Google.
Since its founding in 2017, Laundris and its CEO have been the recipients of multiple accolades. Google named Ward one of the top 30 Black founders in America in 2021, and Laundris received an American Business Award in 2022.