Judge dismisses case from former Trump officials suing Houston-based fintech platform

A Houston fintech company is celebrating the dismissal of a lawsuit against former Trump administration officials.

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

The case was dismissed by a federal judge in Ohio, who said the “plaintiffs fail to allege any damages that would support their standing to seek retroactive or prospective relief,” according to a Hello Alice press release.

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

Hogan Lovells represented Hello Alice in the case. Neal Katyal, lead attorney, called it “a lawsuit without merit” and the court’s decision is proof of how weak AFL’s case was.

“The dismissal of this case is significant because the lawsuit would make it more difficult for several small businesses to compete in today’s economy,” Katyal said in the news release. “The court has ruled that this lawsuit is now over. The claimants may seek to appeal, but we are extremely confident in our legal position and are ready and willing to fight not just for Hello Alice, but for the wider business community and ready to set an even wider precedent in the Court of Appeal.”

In light of the lawsuit, Hello Alice launched a new initiative to actively support the community of 1.5 million entrepreneurs across the country. Founded last year, Elevate the American Dream is a grant program that spotlights small businesses that are making their American dreams come true. The platform accepts nominations for small businesses seeking grant funding and other business support.

Last month, Hello Alice closed its Series C and its Series C for an undisclosed amount. The new financing 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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