Abby Frimpong worked as a fundraiser in the non-profit world for years. While living and working in Washington D.C. she began to take note of how many worthy causes there were – all of which were deserving of funding – and wanted to figure out a way to engage more people to give back. Thus her social platform Duuple was born. With Duuple, users can upload videos or pictures, creating challenges that support your favorite NGO or raise money and awareness for causes that matter. To date Duuple has over a quarter of a million downloads and the Los Angeles, California-based entrepreneur is making strides as a woman of color in the tech industry.
Frimpong’s story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:
Duuple was first designed and later launched in 2018 to encourage change in the world. Personally, Duuple has a special place in my heart. Having worked as a fundraiser in the nonprofit world, I consistently saw the gap between the haves and the have- nots. There was always another brilliant kid in need of a scholarship, another cancer patient to get to or another deadly accident caused by a forgotten landmine. Duuple to me was a way to bridge the gap: how can we give back? How can we empower people to leave a mark and to inspire change in a fun and meaningful way? At the heart of Duuple are millions of people who are looking to make a difference in the world around them, inspiring community action for users to participate in exciting challenges, donate to causes and advocate for issues that matter.
I define success in different ways. At work, it is meeting the goals set by my board of directors and my fellow workers. For me, success is about doing my job well. I am recognized as someone who always does their best and tries their hardest to meet my goals. As someone who is invigorated by new and complex challenges, I never want to find myself in a situation where I feel like there is nothing left to learn or achieve. If, over the course of my career, I can leave work each evening satisfied that I’ve learned something new or useful – then this counts as success to me. I also strongly believe in making a difference in other people’s lives. If I know that at the end of the day my work has helped someone to find a job or feed their family or turn their life around, then I sleep well at night and wake up eager to start work all over again the next day.
My biggest success to date was launching Duuple and securing venture capital funding. We now have had over a quarter million downloads.
Female CEOs in the tech community are a rare breed. In fact, the global average of women CEOs is below 10%. The level of inequality reflected in this figure offends most people’s sense of justice and questions the effectiveness of support for equal opportunities. Women may still be a minority in the boardroom, but as our power grows, so too does our responsibility and visibility. Today, women are starting more companies and holding more leadership positions than ever before. However, the fight for gender equality in the workplace is far from over. The next step in ensuring that the number of women-owned business and women CEOs continues to climb is to encourage the next generation of young girls to reach for the stars, pursue their passions and never let gender norms hold them back. Women CEOs like myself have set an example of how we can rise to the top and disrupt traditional corporate culture. More often than not, it’s the effort that’s put into a project, a presentation, an interview – that goes the extra mile. Putting in the time has been what’s helped me be successful. In fact, my one piece of advice to women in tech would be: do it and do your best. You have nothing to lose. Worst comes to worst, you are where you are now, which is not bad. You will always have a job. Someone will hire you. The last thing you want, years from now, is to regret that you didn’t do it.
Black women entrepreneurs, such as Janice Bryant Howroyd, founder and CEO of Act 1 Group, and Cathy Hughes, founder and chairperson of Urban One, Inc., are role models to me. When it comes to the tech industry, there’s Morgan DeBaun, who created Blavity, a popular digital media hub for black millennials. Stephanie Lampkin who was a web developer and now leads Blendoor, a startup that uses technology to combat bias in hiring. There is also Kellee James, who worked for the first marketplace to trade carbon credits and advised the Obama administration on environmental markets as a White House fellow, is behind Mercaris, a futures market for organic and non-GMO commodities. This small but growing wave of black, female entrepreneurs is prying open doors for a new sisterhood in tech. I am exceptionally proud to be a part of that in my own small way.
When I first began working on Duuple, I was worried that it needed to be similar to other social media platforms so users could relate to it. Then I realized that Duuple needed to be much better than them. It needed to be faster, simpler and sincere. Once I let go of my concerns, Duuple improved and grew into its current state. We are not competing with other social media platforms. We are building the next generation of social media.
Being an entrepreneur isn’t as easy as some people think. It is easy to lose focus and start doubting your mission as an entrepreneur. Anytime we feel like we are discouraged, we should go back to our roots and re-think why we started the
business in the first place. I write down my goals and put them on the wall and meditate on them. Soon enough, I find myself energized and more determined to face any challenge. I believe our thoughts determine how far we will get in business.