#1:. Joah Spearman, Co-Founder and CEO of Localeur
Localeur’s mission is to make it possible for people to experience local wherever they are, whether it’s their home city or a city they’ve never visited. The company does this by building a community of locals who share authentic recommendations on their favorite places to eat, drink and play.
In one of his most recent posts, “Thoughts on Being a Black Founder & CEO in Tech,” Spearman discusses the lack of Black individuals in technology and that the few who are in tech, most likely went the traditional route.
“I think Blacks in tech are precisely where women in tech were 3-to-5 years ago before Sheryl Sandberg’s LeanIn movement. What I mean by that is that we’re still a few prominent Black individuals and Black founder/CEO led companies away from truly opening the gates for thousands more Black leaders in tech. Right now, if you look around, the leading Black entrepreneurs in SF [San Francisco] and NYC are guys who did go to Ivy League schools or get Stanford MBAs or work on Wall Street or did YCombinator.” Spearman continues to explain that there is not just one particular route into technology.
“Don’t let where you got your degree or your professional background limit you from pursuing that great startup idea you have or from being a difference maker at a fast-growing company.”
#2:. Rodney Williams, Founder of Lisnr
Lisnr is a communication protocol called inaudible smart tone technology that sends data over audio.
Williams shared his thoughts on diversity in technology with the Huffington Post. “There are top technology platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook — a little bit less on Facebook, but Twitter and Instagram especially — where African-Americans over-index and were the influencers and were the drivers,” Williams continues. “It’s funny that we tend to be the first users but we’re not the creators. There’s a gap — we want something, we just don’t know how to do it, then someone else figures it out and we become the first to use it.”
#3:. André Walters, Founder of Yuno
Yuno is a shopping Web app that rewards users for sharing information about their everyday purchases with others.
Walters discusses the benefits of diversity in technology. “You look around and you don’t see a lot of diversity in tech. I think, as far as how it’s affected my journey, for me it’s really motivating.” Walters says, “I think having diversity is a benefit because we get different perspectives, people come from different places, and coming from those different places, they bring great thoughts and ideas that you may not have otherwise thought about if everyone came from one particular background.”