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Tradeblock: Google’s “Black Startup” Sponsorship Takes the Sneaker Trading App to New Heights

Starting a business is never an easy task. Some would even say it’s even harder to start a business with the people you know. Tradeblock co-founders Mbiyimoh Ghogomu, Darren Smith and Tony Malveaux have been fascinated with consumer technology since they were kids. A combination of playing NBA 2K22 or organizing their “top 8” friends on Myspace always kept them in sync with technology growing up. Ironically, “the concept around creating Tradeblock was never to get into the tech industry, but more so a chance to create a unique community that we loved known as sneakerheads,” according to Ghogomu.

Co-founder Tony Malveaux, also known as the biggest sneakerhead of the group, came up with the idea to create a system where people could trade sneakers online, similar to the way ESPN’s Trade Machine (a mock player trade system) would let you simulate different sports trades as if you were the GM of a team. “One day he decided to combine his passion for sneakers and technology and here we are today,” according to Ghogomu. They simply saw an unmet need for a platform that would allow people to facilitate securing sneaker trades and the rest is history.

There has never been an app that could give you the best of both worlds. The trio of entrepreneurs wanted to fill a gap that they felt was surrounding the trading market. Every move that they’ve made has been strategic in a way to better serve sneaker collectors on a broader scale. “The best part about going into business with your friends is knowing that you can trust them,” Ghogomu shares. As the friends/entrepreneurs have continued on their journey to create a more diverse app for sneakerheads across the world, they know that finding balance is key even when it can seem challenging. “When you own your company there is no such thing as being done.” There are always going to be opportunities to improve that business. “In most Black households, you are taught that to be successful you have to work twice as hard as your counterparts.” While that may be true, it’s important to make sure that you don’t burn yourself out and the co-founders make sure they make time for family, friends and exercise among other things. “To be effective entrepreneurs, everyone’s non-work-life must be in a great place also,” Ghogomu.

The group has been so successful because they trust that each individual will execute at all times, but they can also trust each other’s motives and values as it relates to the business. A bond that has been created over the years has positioned them to expand on their brand as of late. All of the hard work, thoughtfulness, and sacrifice everyone has made has created a platform much bigger than any of them could have ever imagined. Earlier this year, Tradeblock was selected by Google to be sponsored as a Black “startup” company. Over the last two years, the co-founders had been hustling and trying to get people to invest in their vision. Their efforts finally paid off as Google allotted the business $100,000, which was essentially given to them with no strings attached, says Ghogomu. Having the support of a brand like Google provides the entrepreneurs with an intense level of pride that they’ll use to get better.

As Tradeblock continues to expand its development, the goal has always been clear; create a platform that would allow individuals to facility secure sneaker trades. Now with that goal being accomplished, the co-founders will continue creating more opportunities for future business ventures. “Understanding what your ‘why’ is can really set the tone for what you are looking for when starting up a business,” Ghogomu shares. “However, your intentions have to be pure and the work ethic has to be there also.”

Mbiyimoh Ghogomu, Darren Smith and Tony Malveaux understood what it was they wanted to accomplish and they never took no for an answer. Even when you are told no, it's important to keep hustling and fighting because you never who may be watching to lend that helping hand.


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