Black Technology Entrepreneurs

In a world where small businesses thrive under the right leadership and ideals, only 1% of venture capital-funded founders in the United States are black or are of other underrepresented communities.

Conversely, just 3% of London’s inhabitants working in tech companies are Black, and 8.5% of CEOs and senior leaders in the United Kingdom’s tech community and industry are Black, Asian, or from other minority communities.

However, the status quo between minorities and White people is slowly beginning to break. The fact is that, although Black tech entrepreneurs and black-owned businesses have a more difficult time growing and achieving success in the tech industry, the tides are changing.

We’re witnessing an uprising like never before, one that involves showcasing the many benefits that Black entrepreneurs bring with them to the tech world. Bringing up a successful business is becoming a reality for the Black community that also involves black women.

Black girl at desk

And although the percentages and numbers remain low, the situation behind the curtains is promising to black entrepreneurs and investors alike. Black Lives Matter is the most crucial aspect that has begun to drive this change.

The global community of minorities and underrepresented founders, investors, business owners, and entrepreneurs continue working together for a better future. And, with new businesses popping up worldwide, it’s time we look at some of the greatest ones.

The ones that do the same everyday things as everyone else but with a purpose that connects people seeking funding opportunities to make their dreams come true. Here are just a few startups founded by black founders that break the industry norms of repressing new ideas from black millennials and other minorities alike.

Ten best black tech startup companies with diverse teams

Many more startups have kickstarted their employees’ career development and achieved much in the tech industry, whether with educational technologies or complex coding.

Black man on laptop- writing

However, these ten are perfect examples of how the differing abilities between all the races and cultures of the world can, together, be used to enhance a company’s ability to do business efficiently drastically.

Without further ado, here are the ten best black tech startups launched by black founders.

Squire (USA)

Co-Founded by: Songe LaRon and Dave Salvant

squire website

Squire is one of the best examples of turning nothing into an increasingly-present enterprise in the United States. The startup founders Songe LaRon and Dave Salvant managed to grab the opportunities in front of them and began a rapid expansion of their position in the barbershop tech industry.

They have said that the Coronavirus pandemic worked in their favor as the barbershop tech industry exploded. The founder duo raised the capital between $10 and $20 million in ten months. In March 2020, the startup’s revenue was zero.

Squire is valued at more than $250 million, thanks to more funding rounds. This newfound capital has enabled them to plan expansion into new markets, including Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

Beautystack (UK)

Founded by: Sharmadean Reid

Beautystack website

The founder and managing partner, Sharmadean Reid, has created a unique beauty-booking app that utilizes social media’s power to help beauty professionals who want to achieve financial independence.

The funding disparities between minorities and white people make it difficult for high-potential founders to write their own stories, which are nullified thanks to Reid’s app. Vogue also dubbed her app a ‘game-changing beauty-booking app,’ further legitimizing her work.

Beauty appointments can be made in just a few moments, thanks to Beautystack’s streamlined design and booking process. In essence (and in her own words), the premise for Beautystack is ‘see it, like it, buy it’ – something not previously seen in the beauty industry.

Reid and her startup received $6.1 million in venture capital in an industry that underfunds black women considerably (the average funding for a black woman managing director and her startup is around $42,000). Beautystack shows that there is a way around the racial wealth gap.

BYP Network (UK)

Founded by: Kike Oniwinde

BYP website

The BYP (Black Young Professionals) Network is a platform created by Kike Oniwinde. Its primary purpose is to connect black entrepreneurs and professionals worldwide to other black professionals and job opportunities.

The evidence that shows just how serious, comprehensive, and valuable Oniwinde’s platform is is the support of massive corporations and companies such as Facebook, Google, Airbnb, and Adobe.

Together with these tech industry behemoths, the BYP Network plays a significant role in improving job applications and increasing black professionals’ visibility and role models’ visibility. A startup focused on bridging the gap between minorities and corporations is a startup that cannot fail.

And it has not – in 2020, the BYP Network surpassed the 500,000 Pounds crowd-funding equity target on Seedrs and used those funds to expand and enhance every aspect of the company – leadership, content teams, and sales.

Currently, the BYP Network hosts more than 50,000 members who each have equal access to the platform and can get in touch with each other quickly. And, if that wasn’t enough, the BYP Network raised 10,000 Pounds in seven days to help black city workers and others afflicted by the Coronavirus pandemic with their financial troubles.

Afrocenchix (UK)

Co-Founded by: Joycelin Mate and Rachael Corson

Afrocenchix website

The beauty industry is tough to enter because of industry saturation and the prevalence of countless beauty companies within it. However, according to Rachael Corson, an Afrocenchix co-founder, the afro hair industry is ripe with opportunities.

The Afrocenchix company managed to fill the afro hair industry void by creating a vegan and all-natural hair product to maintain the afro look and keep hair healthy.

Once the first UK Coronavirus lockdown began in 2020, the popularity of online shopping rose dramatically. Not only did black investors benefit from this rise by predicting it would happen and investing in profitable companies started by black entrepreneurs, but Afrocenchix’s sales increased by more than 90%.

The diverse needs of black people have begun to be fulfilled, and Afrocenchix has ensured that women from 23 countries have access to their esteemed hair products.

Calendly (USA)

Founded by: Tope Awotona

Calendly website

Calendly is currently valued at more than $3bn and is one of the world’s best-known organizational platforms for connecting clients, companies, and workers. Calendly also features more than 10 million users each month and has made more than $70 million in subscription revenue alone in 2020.

The Coronavirus pandemic allowed scheduling platforms and chatrooms to take the stage and enable people that work from home the practicality of an in-person meeting paired with the flexibility of communication and scheduling platforms.

Black entrepreneurs of all kinds can expect cloud-based services that can be used to set up meetings and conferences with all kinds of customization options. Black people are often seen as underestimated founders, people who manage to climb to the top despite a lack of faith and trust.

With this and the product-led approach to expanding the Calendly company, it has achieved big things. It is on course to become one of the biggest, most-loved, and most-integrated scheduling and communication platforms.

Career Karma (USA)

Co-Founded by: Artur Meyster, Ruben Harris, and Timur Meyster

Career Karma website

The Career Karma startup company gathered $10 million in December 2020 to help students find the best educational resources on coding. The IT industry is wrought with people with considerable coding skills looking for work – an activity that’s become increasingly more difficult over time.

However, Career Karma has been the perfect choice for many enthusiastic coders due to the growth of remote learning. This has enabled students to learn in their free time and practice their newfound abilities whenever they want. Finding and accessing learning materials has also become easy.

Ruben Harris, a Career Karma co-founder, spoke to Forbes, highlighting the opportunities available to computer tech graduates. He said, “In 2024, there will be more than 1.4 million new and many more open developer positions, but there will be only 400,000 CS graduates to fill those positions.”

Career Karma’s primary goal has been to create connections between the graduates and the companies that offer an enticing career in computer technology.

Gro Intelligence (USA/Africa)

Founded by: Sara Menker

Gro Intelligence website

How would you react if one were to tell you that artificial intelligence and food are a good mix? You’d most likely be surprised by the connection.

That’s exactly what company founder Sara Menker did – she created a company that utilizes AI to transform Africa’s agriculture, climate, and food economies. There are numerous benefits to using AI for this purpose, with some lower costs and less food waste.

Gro Intelligence became prominent after securing $85 million in the second funding round – an amount surpassing all others regarding the venture capital secured by an African tech startup company.

Gro Intelligence uses AI to recognize localized insights on agriculture, food, and various climate risks to provide its users with much-needed articulated information, solutions, analytics, and decision-making tools. Sara Menker saw the rise of a new era of agricultural leaders and decided it was the perfect time to start her business and help those who needed it.

AudioMob (UK)

Co-Founded by: Wilfrid Obeng and Christian Facey

AudioMob website

AudioMob was founded in early 2020 by ex-Google and Facebook employees who decided to participate in the in-game advertising industry using their past experiences, skills, and expertise.

The startup company has raised more than $1.5 million in its funding rounds and has secured enough capital to begin expansion. The audio ads industry is ripe for the taking and is generally valued at a couple of billion dollars which is why and how AudioMob started its ascent.

The Business Insider mentions that the gaming industry has become oversaturated with in-game ads that ultimately hurt the user experience. Venture capitalists were wise to acknowledge this, and AudioMob was given a much-needed injection of capital.

Now, AudioMob offers effective audio solutions for creating non-intrusive ads akin to listening to a public speaker. On top of that, the company is expanding its R&D department and is looking for new talent to join them.

Flutterwave (Nigeria)

CEO: Olugbenga Agboola

Flutterwave website

Flutterwave is a fintech company startup based in Nigeria, Africa. The gig economy has grown quite a lot in recent years, and Flutterwave is an excellent method of accepting payments from customers worldwide.

The company is valued at more than $150 million and has some impressive customers, such as Booking.com, Uber, and Jumia. Flutterwave was also the payment integration method for Cardi B’s 2019 music performances in Ghana and Nigeria.

Flutterwave is also a Worldpay partner and has partnered with Alipay to provide digital payment systems between China and Africa. Flutterwave CEO Olugbenga Agboola has done a great job expanding Africa’s pay networks and bringing them closer to the rest of the world with a quick and simple touch of a button.

The fintech platform is expected to grow even more in 2022 – and beyond – with its future plans currently unknown. There is, however, no doubt that Flutterwave will continue to aid all kinds of industries (including the gig economy) in Africa to make payment easier for customers and companies.

Marshmallow (UK)

Co-Founded by: Alexander Kent-Braham and Oliver Kent-Braham

Marshmallow website

Lastly, we have Marshmallow to round off our ten best black startups list. Marshmallow was started by two brothers – Alexander and Oliver Kent-Braham. They saw a need to provide quality insurance premiums to those who do not typically get selected for the most competitive rates.

Now, you might be wondering, how can a small startup in the insurance industry, no less, manage to take on the giants and carve its own ‘plot of land in the industry? The secret lies in how the co-founders have focused on minimizing funding disparities in the insurance industry.

Marshmallow has made premiums more accessible, inclusive, and affordable. In 2020, Marshmallow raised another $30 million for their efforts and was looking to benefit from the $4 trillion industry – globally.

The future for Marshmallow and its clients is looking bright, and there’s no doubt it will keep expanding and providing even better insurance premiums.

Final Words

As seen from the ten black startups we listed in this article, the tides are genuinely changing for minorities. It shouldn’t be surprising that a black woman can start her gig – but that’s precisely how it’s been for the past many, many years.

If you have ambition and are looking to make your dreams a reality, hopefully, these examples and wonderful people will motivate you to chase those dreams and achieve greatness. The time has come for black and Latinx entrepreneurs to make their mark in the tech industry!

 

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