Despite rumors to the contrary, Black Americans have not only gained in the technology sector, they are creating the next level of technological innovation. From tech startups to hackathons and social media portals, these 5 future leaders in tech are not only creating a path, but defying stereotypes and misconceptions along the way:
Amanda Spann, Blerdology
In the tech world, hackathons are essential for creating new technologies and disrupting traditional markets. They are also predominantly white and male. Seeing a need for more black female innovators, Georgetown graduate Amanda Spann alongside Character’s Closet founder Kat Calvin and Sidewalk District creator Janelle Jolley launched Black Girls Hack last year at the Focus 100 Symposium.
There have been a few changes since the startup’s launch. Co-founders Spann and Calvin announced the organization was changing its name to Blerdology. The duo is teaming up with Blacks In Technology (BiT) and Electronic Arts (EA) to host #BlackHack Hollywood, a hackathon, learning session, and celebration of black hackers, developers and founders on March 9-10 at SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas.
Kenji Summers, Passport Project
As a marketing and branding strategist, Kenji Summers has worked with such agencies as Omnicom Media Group, Anomaly, and BSSP. In 2011, Summers launched the Passport Project, which encourages people of color to participate in the international experience and explore the world through travel.
Ashton Motes, Assorted Bits
Ashton Motes ascended in the tech world as the first employee at file sharing site Dropbox, coordinating outreach to small businesses and creating the sites first API for developers. Since leaving Dropbox last summer, Motes’ has shifted his attention to his own venture Assorted Bits.
Tristan Walker, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Andreessen Horowitz
Already identified as one of Black Enterprises “40 Next,” Tristan Walker is slated to make waves in the technology industry. The former Foursquare business advisor is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at billion-dollar venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, where, he mentions on his blog, “I can work with a blank slate, people are encouraged to think big, and the opportunities are endless.”
Ade Olonoh, Formspring.me
As the founder and CEO of online question and answer site Formspring.me, Ade Olonoh has been quietly creating a social revolution. The site, which relaunched as an interest-based social network in 2012 is on the shortlist for startups to watch in 2013.