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BY Abu Mubarik, 2:05pm July 24, 2023,

How Demetrius Gray recently raised $107 million for his new fintech company to help homeowners

Demetrius Gray, a veteran Louisville entrepreneur, has launched a new fintech company that aims to speed up the natural disaster recovery process. Photo credit: Captain/Bizjournal

Demetrius Gray is the founder of Captain, a fintech company that helps people to rebuild their homes quickly after a natural disaster before getting reimbursed by insurance companies or the government. His first startup, WeatherCheck, didn’t perform as he expected but it inspired him to start Captain.

“Captain specifically deals with the financial need, and WeatherCheck was dealing with the scientific and atmospheric data-side of the conversation,” he recently explained.  

Growing up in Kentucky, Gray witnessed the devastating impact natural disasters such as hail storms and tornadoes brought to surrounding communities, he noted on his website. “When I started WeatherCheck, a meteorology-focused online platform used to monitor housing properties for damages caused by hail and other major weather events, I was further inspired to create Captain.”

Founded in May 2021, Captain helps homeowners by advancing money to their contractors to pay for materials, labor, and other items associated with repairs. “In doing so, neither homeowners nor contractors need to work with – orwait for – insurance and mortgage companies to send and process payments before beginning work,” the platform says on its website.

Gray started his career as an accountant in the construction industry. However, he developed an interest in technology when he began exploring how the world works, focusing on natural disasters.

“Sometimes you stumble into a problem, right? Like, why is it that Hurricane Katrina affected the Lower Ninth Ward so badly? Why did it take so long to resolve? That community is still not rebuilt,” Gray told Business Journal. “And even more relevant to us are the issues surrounding the Western Kentucky tornadoes.”

He recently raised $100 million in venture debt from CoVenture and $7.3 million in private equity led by NFX. According to Gray, his ambition is to make Captain a $30 billion company in Louisville.

While acknowledging that is going to take a bit of time, he expressed optimism that he and his team will certainly reach that point. So far, he has 17 workers, adding that he is looking forward to growing the team and making longer-term commitments to this community even in terms of office space, according to Business Journal.

Black entrepreneurs have historically faced disparities in securing VC funding and usually receive less than 2% of overall dollars each year, according to data cited by CNBC. Sharing the strategies he used towards raising $100 million, he noted that black founders give up too quickly when they are trying to raise funds and are fraught with challenges. According to him, he heard many “Nos” in the course of seeking venture funding but he kept pushing.

Gray also said he took after his grandfather and great-grandfather, who were also entrepreneurs working in various sectors.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: July 24, 2023


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