Mbye Njie ‘04, CEO and Founder of Legal Equalizer, Inc, named the inaugural Innovator in Residence at the Jay Hurt Hub for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Davidson College.
The Innovator in Residence role provides a $75,000 grant for one year to Mbye Njie and the Legal Equalizer, Inc., team to grow their business while employing at least two Davidson students, engaging with Hurt Hub coworkers and providing mentorship for the Davidson community.
Legal Equalizer, Inc. was born out of Njie’s personal experiences
Njie founded Legal Equalizer, Inc., a mobile app providing users with their legal rights during any law enforcement encounter, seven years ago after his own experiences. In a January 2021 interview on Hub & Spoke, a Hurt Hub storytelling platform featuring Davidson alumni entrepreneurs and innovators, Njie shared that he had an awakening after hearing about Michael Brown’s shooting in Ferguson, MO. “When I first read the Ferguson story, I didn’t believe it. My whole question during Ferguson was why did no one have a recording? I kept looking for apps that would record and let people know when you got pulled over.” After finding nothing in the app stores to solve this issue, Njie established his new venture. Although he had no technical expertise, he progressed with a deeply-rooted obsession with solving the problem for others.
Njie mentioned that his academic work with Dr. Nancy Fairley, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Davidson College, instilled in him a respect for people across cultures and fostered a desire to collaborate with law enforcement. “If I wasn’t a Davidson student,” Njie emphasized, “I wouldn’t have been as curious to go out and learn from all sides.” Embracing empathy for different audiences has guided his product roadmap and other features he intends to develop in the future.
The Innovator in Residence role and grant will help accelerate Legal Equalizer’s growth
Today, after bootstrapping for seven years, he’s emerging into the Innovator in Residence role with funding from the Cox Enterprises Social Impact Accelerator powered by TechStars Atlanta. “This grant will be significant as it will allow us to continue the momentum that we saw from TechStars. We can finish vital aspects of the app as well as build out a secondary app for attorneys that connects with Legal Equalizer,” Njie said.
The Innovator in Residence role delivers on the recommendation from Davidson’s Commission on Race and Slavery that “the college will create an ‘Innovator in Residence’ program at the Jay Hurt Hub for Innovation and Entrepreneurship for alum entrepreneurs whose businesses promote equity or combat systemic racism.” As part of the grant, Legal Equalizer will employ at least two Davidson Gig-Hub Consultants throughout the year. The Gig-Hub program provides students who want to develop their professional skills with project-based micro-internships, known as gigs, that immediately translate into skills that employers desire.
Two Davidson student Gig-Hub Consultants will join Legal Equalizer’s staff during the grant year
Njie is no stranger to the Gig-Hub program at the Hurt Hub, having hired 7 students already through the program, some of whom were part of the Tech Impact Fund. Through generous support from Whitney A. White, Belk Scholar alumna ‘08 and founder of Afara Global & creator of Take Back Your Time, the Tech Impact Fund provides pro-bono consulting services for women and minority-owned businesses in the Charlotte region and across the country. “I’m elated that we will be able to work with some of the brightest students in the world on issues that have been plaguing society for a while and that I believe are truly fixable,” Njie said.
Sohan Gade, a rising junior Philosophy, Politics, Economics (PPE) major and Computer Science minor has already been working on Gig-Hub projects for Legal Equalizer, Inc.
“Having [Njie] take on the role as Innovator in Residence is a giant step towards a more equitable Davidson College; he is an inspiration to all in the Davidson community, bridging the gaps between entrepreneurs and humanitarians,” Gade said. “He lives, talks, and breathes Davidson College; I do not think there is anyone else that loves our school more than he does.”
As Njie transitions to working in the Hurt Hub every day, at least 25% of his time will be spent engaging with students and the Davidson community. “I can’t wait for the opportunity to work with students as they are going to get a chance to see a startup grow into the phase of making revenue and scaling,” Njie shared. “I plan on having the students discover the different phases of being an entrepreneur, from my decision-making process, to how I market and sell the app, to the processes of building a team and of growing.”
Njie will also be available to serve as a mentor, as he did in Spring 2021 during the Davidson Venture Fund pitch competition, and as a guest speaker during events such as the upcoming TechStars Startup Weekend during the Hurt Hub Innovation Week in September.
“Mbye’s experience building Legal Equalizer will bring a new energy to the Hurt Hub where we are committed to facilitating access and exposure to innovation and entrepreneurship for all,” Hurt Hub Director, Liz Smith Brigham ‘04 said. “He will show Davidson students how their education can help solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges.”
The Hurt Hub convenes innovators and entrepreneurs in the Davidson College community and the Lake Norman region to catalyze innovative solutions to critical problems. We facilitate access and exposure to innovation and entrepreneurship for all Davidson students, alumni, faculty, Hurt Hub co-workers, and community members through educational programming, experiential learning in a safe environment, an inclusive co-working space, uncompromising ethics, a robust mentor network, and access to startup capital.
We believe innovation is born out of Freedom, Integrity, and Inclusion.
- Freedom to take risks. Freedom to fail and to succeed.
- Integrity is our expectation.
- Inclusion is the foundation of everything we do.
For more information, please contact Liz Smith Brigham ‘04, Director, Jay Hurt Hub for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Davidson College at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Legal Equalizer, Inc.
Legal Equalizer is a mobile app providing user with their legal rights during any law enforcement encounter. Legal Equalizer also allows users to alert loved ones of encounters with law enforcement and in emergency situations so that they will be able to see what is happening in real time.
For more information visit: www.legalequalizer.com To download the app visit:https://apps.apple.com/us/app/legal-equalizer/id1255955244.
To invest in Legal Equalizer, consider participating in the crowdfunding campaign: https://wefunder.com/legal.equalizer