goodbye lawsuit

Judge dismisses case from former Trump officials suing Houston fintech platform

It's a win for Hello Alice. Photo courtesy Cayce Clifford/Hello Alice

A Houston fintech company is celebrating the dismissal of a lawsuit from former Trump Administration officials.

Last year, America First Legal sued Houston-based Hello Alice and its partner, Progressive Insurance, alleging that their program to award 10 $25,000 grants to Black-owned small businesses constitutes racial discrimination. AFL was founded by former Trump Administration adviser Stephen Miller and features a handful of other former White House officials on its board.

The case has been dismissed by a federal judge in Ohio, who said that the “Plaintiffs fail to allege any injury in fact that would support their standing to seek either retrospective or prospective relief," according to a news release from Hello Alice.

“This resolution marks a pivotal moment not only for our company but for the broader small business community in the United States,” Elizabeth Gore, co-founder and president of Hello Alice, says in the release. “Facing a labor shortage, heightened interest rates, and inflation, this country needs its small business owners, and they, in return, need the capital and resources that programs like Hello Alice provide."

Hogan Lovells represented Hello Alice in the case. Neal Katyal, lead counsel, called it "a meritless lawsuit" and said the court's decision is a testament to how weak AFL's case was.

“The dismissal of this case is significant because the lawsuit would make it more difficult for diverse small businesses to compete in today’s economy," Katyal says in the release. "The court ruled that this lawsuit is now over. The plaintiffs can try to appeal, but we are tremendously confident in our legal position, and are ready and willing to fight not just for Hello Alice, but the broader business community and ready to set an even broader precedent in the Court of Appeals.”

In light of the lawsuit, Hello Alice launched a new initiative to actively support its community of 1.5 million entrepreneurs across the country. Elevate the American Dream, established last year, is a grant program that's highlighting small businesses living out their American dreams. The platform accepts nominations for small businesses seeking grant funding and other business support.

Last month, Hello Alice closed its series C at an undisclosed amount. The fresh funding has brought the company's valuation to $130 million, according to the company. Alexandria, Virginia-based QED Investors led the round, and investors included Mastercard, Backstage Capital, Guy Fieri, Golden Seeds, Harbert Growth Partners Fund, How Women Invest I, LP, Lovell Limited Partnership, Tyler “Ninja” and Jessica Blevins, and Tamera Mowry and Adam Housley.

Last fall, Gore and her co-founder, Carolyn Rodz, joined the Houston Innovators Podcast to discuss the case and the Elevate the American Dream program.

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