Black-led startup using innovation to create a financial technology powerhouse

Black-led startup using innovation to create a financial technology powerhouse
Photo courtesy of Sheena Allen

It’s not common to hear of many tech startup founders being born and raised in Terry, Mississippi. But those odds did not discourage Sheena Allen. Instead, she used them as a purpose driver and a competitive advantage to start building a financial technology powerhouse.

Allen graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a dual degree in psychology and film. It was there, in 2011, where she had what she termed a “crazy” idea for an app. That initial idea turned into her first startup company.


The startup, Sheena Allen Apps, had five different mobile applications. Each allowed people to perform a range of creative tasks using their phone’s camera. 

Sheena Allen Apps was the company that took Allen from Mississippi to Silicon Valley, and then to Austin, Texas. 


“Austin also gave me the opportunity to go to a tech hub. But it also made more sense financially. It was also closer to family. So I made that choice to build that first company out in Austin,” Allen explained to rolling out.

But Allen didn’t just want to rest on the success of her first startup. She had a pressing desire to do more.

 Allen grew up in a small town where most people’s idea of banking was storing money under a mattress. Concepts like inflation and growing money were foreign. For Allen, this was an opportunity to cultivate knowledge and make an impact, through financial technology, or “fintech.

After moving the company to Atlanta in 2019 and going into stealth mode for two years, Sheena launched her second startup, CapWay. The fintech company focuses on creating economic access and opportunities through inclusive financial products for those who have been underserved, overlooked and misunderstood by the traditional banking system.

“I felt like my gift; my biggest competitive advantage was, I know what it’s like to be in Silicon Valley and build a tech company. But I also know what it’s like when your sister, brother, or uncle is unbanked,” Allen said.

CapWay offers a lot of traditional banking features, such as debit cards and account security measures. But the company goes above and beyond by allowing members to track spending categories, set money goals, generate virtual cards, and much more. The company’s website and mobile app also provide visitors with financial articles and important information to help improve financial literacy and clear up common misconceptions. 

“My definition of what I want to build is to solve real-world problems, even as a for-profit company,” Allen explained.

Sign up for CapWay via their website, or by downloading their mobile app from the iOS or Android app store.

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