Hustle Mindset

Black-Owned Digital Platform Peadbo Wins $1K Check At SXSW 2024 Pitch Competition


If you want to advance in your professional career, it is imperative to obtain guidance from the right supporter.

Keith Chaney learned this while working at technology company Google as the strategy and operations lead of its global partnerships and at McKinsey & Co., where he served as a management consultant. That’s when he decided to exit those jobs to pursue his own career as a founder.

During the South by Southwest (SXSW) 2024 pitch competition, he recalls his experience as a first-generation graduate navigating the intricacies of post-college life. He later realized the importance of gaining peer support to be successful in the long term.

“When I started my career, I was surrounded by an amazing family. Unfortunately, no one in my family had worked for Google, McKinsey, or any of the places I found myself during my career. So, despite their best efforts, no one was ever able to tell me the information that I needed to win in those spaces,” Chaney said at SXSW 2024.

His desire to champion individuals and companies in the workforce led him to co-found Peadbo, short for “personal advisory board,” in 2022 alongside Ashley René Lee (chief communications officer), Jarrel Williams (chief operations officer), and Willy Joseph (chief technology officer). Jordan Melendez also supports the Peabo team as its lead software engineer.

Peadbo is a digital platform that helps users reach their goals by building a personal advisory board through their existing network of professionals. The platform also offers matchmaking services and workshops to provide education on board selection and management, among other resources.

“We navigated companies like Google, McKinsey, Amazon, and Essence without the inherited guidance and connections our peers had, facing challenges that could have been mitigated with a strong support network,” CEO Chaney told AFROTECH™. “Only once we tapped into our network of supporters were we able to hit our stride and perform at our potential.”

He added, “While everyone emphasizes the importance of mentorship, sponsorship, and networking, no one has provided a tool to make it easy to build and manage a true supporter community. We want to make it easier for students and rising professionals to do so. Billion-dollar corporations recognize that they need a board to achieve their goals — you should have one, too.”

Recently, Peadbo garnered recognition, securing a $1,000 check as the recipient of the “Best Speed Pitch” award during the SXSW pitch competition. This achievement not only provides financial support but also opens doors for future collaborations.

Support is necessary to thrive and reach new heights in one’s trajectory. This becomes even more prominent for Black and brown workers, who increasingly report feeling unsupported by their employers.

A 2023 research study by the American Psychological Association shows that 39% of Black workers and 34% of brown workers felt less supported by their employers compared to 27% of white workers.

Suppose unsatisfied employees begin to disengage from their work. In that case, this will impact employers and the greater economy. According to Gallup’s “State of the Global Workplace: 2023 Report,” $8.8 trillion is being lost in the global economy due to disengagement and low engagement by employees. This equates to 9% of global GDP.

Peadbo wants to shift the tides between employees and their employers, tailoring services that benefit all parties. In doing so, the platform helps companies invest in “high-potential employees,” and he believes this will increase job performance and satisfaction.

“Peadbo incentivizes employers by offering a streamlined solution to improve employee performance, address retention issues, and enhance employee engagement with minimal managerial effort,” Chaney said.

He continued, “By enabling employees to leverage their existing networks for support and development, we effectively allow employers to outsource aspects of talent development. This approach not only fosters a culture of empowerment and growth but also ensures that employees feel valued and supported, leading to increased loyalty and productivity.”

Peadbo’s impact has grown due to the dedication of its volunteers, who commit a minimum of six hours annually to mentoring emerging talent. Additionally, winning at SXSW is an accomplishment that helps the platform to expand to more communities that need the necessary support. 

Chaney shared, “The SXSW stage proved instrumental in our growth in 2024, elevating our visibility within the startup ecosystem and attracting potential customers. We intend to leverage this success to advance our mission of narrowing wealth and opportunity disparities through community-driven mentorship initiatives.”

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