August 3, 2023

Tech Maverick André Swanston Fuels Innovation and Impact with launch of Swanston Organization

New enterprise to empower innovation, inclusion, and impact through Swanston Labs, Swanston Family Ventures and Swanston Philanthropy Initiative

STAMFORD, Conn., Aug. 3, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- André Swanston, the renowned innovator and entrepreneur, who achieved one of the only 9-figure exits by a Black American as the Co-Founder and former CEO of Tru Optik, announced today the formation of Swanston Organization (SO), the next iteration of his corporate legacy. Swanston Organization encompasses three divisions that will collectively advance the mission of innovation and inclusion: Swanston Labs (SL), Swanston Family Ventures (SFV), and the Swanston Philanthropy initiative.

"The Swanston Organization is driven by three core beliefs: There is a better way to create and scale companies, there is tremendous return to be made by investing in underrepresented entrepreneurs, and it is both a privilege and responsibility to help unlock opportunity for others," said André Swanston, Chairman and CEO, Swanston Organization.

Renowned as Mr. Exit for his ability to forecast industry shifts, identify opportunities, and take calculated risks, André is a true example of grit and determination. From humble beginnings, he rose to develop Tru Optik, a data and identity company for streaming media advertising, that as the largest shareholder he later sold to TransUnion, achieving one of the only 9-figure exits by a Black American tech founder.

Recognized as a lauded entrepreneur, thought leader, and advisor, Swanston has made significant contributions to the field, becoming a regular contributor to publications such as Bloomberg, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal. Swanston's accomplishments have earned him numerous awards, cementing his reputation as a trailblazer in the industry. His exceptional achievements have also garnered the attention of influential figures, leading to his appointment by Gov. Ned Lamont to the Board of Connecticut Innovations, where he plays a pivotal role in promoting economic development and innovation through the state's venture fund. Beyond his professional endeavors, Swanston is an unwavering advocate for the community and minority empowerment, actively investing in minority- and women-owned businesses and generously supporting education and community-based initiatives across the country.

The creation of Swanston Labs (SL) aims to disrupt the convergence of media, entertainment, technology, and commerce which will reshape the $7 trillion global leisure economy. Sector focused, SL ideates and builds new companies in-house and acquires promising startups at the pre-Series A stage, scaling both with the aid of a comprehensive network and support matrix.

"Swanston Labs has been a game-changer for my entrepreneurial journey," said Ney Castro, Entrepreneur-In-Residence at Swanston Labs. "Being able to start a new business with immediate access to capital and support from a team of veteran executives allows me to focus on the most intimate and attention sensitive aspects of my business, without many of the day-to-day distractions that plague most early-stage founders. I eagerly look forward to launching my company, and I'm excited to see all that will emerge from Swanston Labs."

Swanston Family Ventures (SFV)
is on a mission to level the playing field and foster diversity in the start-up ecosystem. In 2022, U.S. Black founders raised an estimated total of $2.25 billion, or 1%, out of the $215.9 billion total venture capital allocated in the U.S. In an effort to tip the scales, SFV actively seeks out and invests in underrepresented founders, with 75% of its capital dedicated to empowering minorities and female entrepreneurs. By providing early-stage funding at the pre-seed, seed, and Series A stages, SFV aims to create a more inclusive and equitable entrepreneurial landscape. Some of SFV's portfolio includes: Afroland TV, Bags, FitMatch and Magpie.

"André has been an instrumental part of our growth at Bags. Beyond SFVs investment in our pre-seed round, André has been a consistent thought partner and mentor as we craft our path towards scaling," said Daniel Taylor, CEO and Co-Founder of Bags. "He is an advocate for our work in his expansive network and was a catalyst towards raising and closing our $3 million oversubscribed seed round. We continue to count on his lived experience as a Black founder with one of the largest exits, to help us take critical steps forward to increase access to capital for the next generation of founders."

Swanston Philanthropy
is a $5 million initiative established by Michelle and André Swanston to financially support organizations, creating a lasting and positive impact on society. This initiative uplifts and empowers communities by supporting causes and organizations dedicated to making a difference. The fund donates to educational organizations like programs and schools that empower students with the tools and resources needed for success in academics and in life. The Swanstons also recognize the value of organizations that foster community like faith-based organizations and athletic programs that nurture teamwork, leadership, and personal growth.

"It is an honor to be the namesake of the Patricia Redd Johnson Scholarship which was created by a gift from Swanston Philanthropy to support multicultural students receiving financial assistance from The Hotchkiss School," said Patricia Redd Johnson, former Associate Head of Admissions and Head of Multicultural Affairs at the Hotchkiss School. "André and Michelle's passion for social impact and innovation mirrors my own beliefs in the transformative power of education and together, we aim to make a positive and lasting effect on individuals' lives and by extension, entire communities."

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