The shortage of diversity in tech is no secret. Even as we near 2020, there’s still a lot of room for improvement across big to small tech firms. Even with all the publicity on diversity and inclusion(remember the Google memo?), you have to wonder how much is really changing. In celebration of Black History Month for 2018, we’ve gathered a few lists to showcase top black-owned tech companies and influencers who are deep in the world of tech.
5 businesses to watch
Innclusive – After Rohan, the founder and CEO of Innclusive, attempted (and rejected) to book a stay in Idaho to visit a friend, he was forced to ask a question, am I the only person of color who has been denied a booking through AirBNB? His latest venture aims to remove barriers for all people who have been rejected by renters because of who they are. The platform hides a customers identity until the reservation has been approved. Paired with diverse marketing efforts and manual tracking for approving property owners, this company is hoping to change the renters market.
Lisnr – Transfering data without Wi-Fi or cell service? No problem for anyone using Lisnr! CEO and Co-Founder Rodney Williams is leading the charge to provide the use of “sound as a conduit for wide-scale connectivity everywhere.” The technology uses near ultrasonic frequencies to transmit information that would normally be handled by RF-based technologies. This makes for an extremely energy light method of transferring information while offering fast and reliable communication. Both the CEO and President of Lisnr are black men!
Callbase – Run by two black men, Callbase offers digital call centers within minutes so long as the user has an internet connection. Businesses and organizations can buy numbers from over 50 countries and operate from wherever they have internet. The economy is becoming more global, and this will be valuable for any company looking to expand their customer services.
Blavity – A technology and media company aimed at sharing experiences for black millennials, was founded in 2014 and has grown to reach more than 7 million people a month. Morgan DeBaun is the CEO of the company and helped to found the company with Jonathan Jackson as well. With a mission of “economically and creatively support Black millennials across the African diaspora, so they can pursue the work they love, and change the world in the process.” Blavity covers people of color in tech and offers insights into minority perspectives of people within the highly scrutinized industry.
Bail Bloc – is a cryptocurrency scheme to help provide money to the Bronx Freedom Fund, a non-profit that seeks to post bail for those who cannot afford to pay their own bail. There is a disproportionate number of black people imprisoned and this app is a small step to equity. It’s free to join and requires little to no effort to help post bail for a vulnerable population.
10 Black Tech Influencers
Howard Sueing – Instructor for Howard West x Google course
Twitter Blackbirds – employee resource group at twitter
Mignon Clyburn – Commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission
Amanada Spann – Publicist and Entrepreneur, app founder and Business Insider’s 30 under 30, women in tech.
Megan Rose Dickey – Reporter for @TechCrunch, who covers race, discrimination and the gig economy.
Angela Benton – Tech pioneer, author and founder @newMEAccel