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Hammond startup completes seed funding round

Nassim Abdi is the co-founder and CEO of Storybolt.

HAMMOND, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A Hammond-based startup focused on equity and inclusion training has completed a $1 million seed round of funding. Storybolt has developed a platform to connect companies with documentaries to educate employees on topics such as implicit bias, racial injustice and mental health.

The funding round includes the first investment from the CareSource Diversity & Social Impact Investment Fund. The Ohio-based nonprofit health plan, which has a major presence in Indiana, launched the fund in July in partnership with Indianapolis-based Elevate Ventures.

Storybolt was launched in 2018 with an original focus on academia before rebranding to focus on diversity, equity and inclusion among corporations. The startup touts Google Cloud, Discover (NYSE: DFS), and United Airlines (Nasdaq: UAL) among its customers, and also received an $80,000 seed investment in 2019 through the Elevate Nexus Regional Pitch Competition.

“We’re using the funds to build and market our Mpathi platform as a hub for companies building a culture of inclusion, respect, and acceptance,” co-founder Dr. Nassim Abdi said in a news release. “Our focus, on the intersection of entertainment and learning, is the basis for our unique active learning pedagogical model to foster empathy and non-threatening dialog which can be applied on our platform to many soft-skills learning use cases—at corporations and beyond.”

The funding round also included participation from Elevate Ventures’ Indiana Angel Network Fund, Chicago Early Growth Ventures, Pax Angels, SunStone Management and other angel investors.