by Kunbi Tinoye via urbangeekz.com
It’s common knowledge that the tech industry has a diversity problem. Employee demographics clearly show a dearth of women and untapped minorities in the leading technology firms. Then when black and Latinx founders do decide to start businesses of their own they often struggle to raise capital. Research by the #ProjectDiane, for example, reveals African-American female founders raised a mere 0.2 percent of venture funding from 2012-2014. With that being said, there are many young and talented innovators and entrepreneurs of color making waves.
Last month a handful of these trailblazers attended the Culture Shifting Weekend‘s ‘Millennial Breakfast’ at SAP in Palo Alto. Founders were given a platform to talk about their startups to a room full of industry heavyweights. The mission is simple. Create a safe space for diverse talent to secure support, expertise, and partnerships with key players in the tech ecosystem. Co-founder and CEO of On Second Thought, Maci Peterson, at the Culture Shifting Weekend. Peterson was just one of the founders who presented her startup at Millennial Breakfast.
Lloyd Carney, CEO of Brocade Communications Systems, was just one of the influencers in attendance. Carney, a Jamaican immigrant, recently sold his company for $5.5 billion. Other attendees included Danny Allen, VP Diversity & Inclusion, SAP; Jacqueline Jones, Strategic Partnerships, Global Inclusion, LinkedIn; and Rachel Spivey, Diversity Specialist, Google, among others.“I added an element to the event,” said Andrea Hoffman, CEO of the management consultancy Culture Shift Labs, who organized the annual Silicon Valley event.
“We had a Millennial Tech Entrepreneurs and Influencers Breakfast that was sponsored by Vista Equity Partners. It was an experiment and it went really well. There’s more to come from in terms of millennial tech entrepreneurs of color.”From software to recruitment, check out this list of 20 black and brown millennial innovators and founders who all presented their startups (except two bonuses #19 and #20) at the Millennial Breakfast.
1. Stephanie Lampkin – Blendoor
Stephanie Lampkin is a TEDx speaker and founder & CEO of Blendoor, a recruiting application that reduces unconscious bias in hiring. With a 14-year professional career in tech, she is all too familiar with the difficulties faced when one doesn’t look like the typical software engineer. Through technology and data, her mission is to reduce bias and challenge the assumption that homogeneous environments are a meritocracy. Stephanie holds a BS in Management Science & Engineering from Stanford University and an MBA from MIT Sloan.
2. Harold Hughes – Bandwagon
Harold is the founder & CEO of Bandwagon, an online marketplace and fan community designed to improve the game day experience for sports fans everywhere. As a leader in the growing startup community in Greenville, South Carolina, he is the co-managing Director of Collective: a coworking space for small teams and entrepreneurs. He is also Director of the Founder Institute-Greenville chapter, a member of NEXT, and involved in the Greenville Chamber of Commerce. He recently participated in the Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange Program in Durham, NC.
3. Maci Peterson – On Second Thought
Maci is the co-founder and CEO of On Second Thought, a messaging app whose patented technology lets users take back text messages before they get to the other person’s phone. She has been recognized on Inc. Magazine’s “30 Under 30 List” of 2016, and Washington Business Journal’s “40 Under 40 List” of 2015. In addition, Maci has been identified as a rising leader in technology by Revolt TV, and one of the “29 People You Should Know” by BET. Maci began On Second Thought after winning first place in the #StartupOasis pitch competition at South by Southwest in 2014.
4. Lamar Wilson – Love Will Inc.
CEO, full-stack developer, and expert blockchain architect, Lamar Wilson has been creating enterprise software for almost a decade with a recent focus on financial and blockchain technology. A serial entrepreneur, he co-founded the software development firm 212ths and created Pheeva, a mobile bitcoin wallet. Most recently, Lamar Love Will Inc, Creators of Hijro (formerly known as Fluent), where he serves as CEO and CTO.
5. Lafe Taylor – Hijro
Hijro is the financial operating network for global trade powered by distributed ledger technology. Lafe Taylor is co-founder and Chief Design Officer at Hijro, a blockchain fin-tech startup. With a background in corporate branding and a passion for entrepreneurship, Lafe Taylor leads the direction for product design innovation and ideation. Connect with Hijro and bring your organization into the future of trade.
To see full article and list, go to: 20 Millennial Tech Innovators of Color You Should Know – UrbanGeekz