26 Women Of Color Diversifying Entrepreneurship In Silicon Valley, Media, And Beyond

Written by Staff

It’s no secret that Silicon Valley is dominated by white and Asian men. Drawing attention to that fact has helped trigger a revolution towards greater tech inclusion.

Black women make up 13 percent of the female U.S. population, but just 4 percent of the estimated 2,200 women-led tech startups.

The average amount of funding a black female founder gets is $36,000. By comparison, the average failed startup — generally founded by white men — raises $1.3 million.

The 26 Black women founders pictured here completed $1 million or more in fundaising before Nov. 15, 2017, according to startup accelerator DigitalUndivided. They “are the most visible faces of a revolution,” Vanity Fair reported:

Over the last two decades, black women have become the fastest-growing demographic of entrepreneurs, owning nearly 60 percent of all black businesses.”

The 26 Black women founders pictured here completed their $1 million or more in fund-raising by Nov. 15, 2017, according to startup accelerator DigitalUndivided. Photo: Mark Seliger/Vanity Fair

From Vanity Fair. Story by Margot Lee Shetterly.

As a black woman who spent years working in finance and technology, I’m both giddy to know that it’s possible to fill a room with black female entrepreneurs who have raised $1 million or more in outside capital, and acutely aware of the reasons that it’s still only one room.

All successful entrepreneurs imagine a problem, a product, and a market. But because the default founder in Silicon Valley is male, and white or Asian, a black woman must also “envision herself being the person creating the product or service that is in the world,” says Jessica O. Matthews, founder and C.E.O. of the renewable-energy start-up Uncharted Power —and then get funders to buy into that vision.

The tech industry is an exercise in controlled failure, with as many as 81 percent of all funded startups washing out before exiting. “Fail fast” is part of the religion. But black women must guard against even the hint of failure with every arrow in the quiver, lest naysayers see a shortcoming as evidence that blacks or women are categorically unsuited for the business.

Read more at Vanity Fair.

(1) Lisa Skeete Tatum, co-founder and CEO, Landit. (2) Heather Hiles, founder and former CEO, P athbrite (sold company to Cengage Learning in 2015). (3) Marla Blow, founder and CEO, FS Card. (4) Helen Adeosun, co-founder and CEO, Care Academy. (5) Morgan DeBaun, founder and CEO, Blavity. (6) Jean Brownhill, founder and CEO, Sweeten. (7) Marah Lidey, co-founder and co-CEO, Shine. (8) Kristina Jones, co-founder, CourtBuddy. (9) Sherisse Hawkins, co-founder and CEO, Pagedip. (10) Etosha Cave, founder, Opus 12. (11) Tanisha Robinson, founder, Print Syndicate. (12) Catherine Mahugu, founder, Soko. (13) Alicia Thomas, co-founder and CEO, Dibs. (14) Kellee James, founder and CEO, Mercaris. (15) Viola Llewellyn, co-founder and president, Ovamba. (16) Reham Fagiri, co-founder and CEO, AptDeco. (17) Camille Hearst, co-founder and CEO, Kit. (18) Alexandra Bernadotte, founder and CEO, Beyond 1 2. (19) K. J. Miller, co-founder, Mented Cosmetics. (20) Nicole Neal, co-founder and CEO, Noodle Markets. (21) Amanda E. Johnson, co-founder, Mented Cosmetics. (22) Cheryl Contee, co-founder and strategic adviser, Attentive.ly. (23) Asmau Ahmed, founder, Plum Perfect. (24) Star Cunningham, founder and CEO, 4D Healthware. (25) Jewel Burks, co-founder and CEO, Partpic (sold company to Amazon in 2016). (26) Jessica O. Matthews, founder and CEO, Uncharted Power.

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