Last November, CNN’s Soledad O’Brien explored Silicon Valley through the eyes of eight African-American entrepreneurs. All participants of the inaugural NewMe Accelerator class, the Black in America: The New Promised Land – Silicon Valley cast invited viewers into their journey as startup founders competing in an industry comprised of less than 1% of entrepreneurs that look like them. BlackEnterprise.com caught up with the tech innovators to see what they’ve been up to one year later.
If you go by mainstream news coverage and hearsay, Newark, New Jersey is just another urban city plagued by crime, a failing school system and a dilapidated economy. But if you take a closer look at Brick City, just one of several of the city’s nicknames, you will get a different account: one that includes economic growth and a burgeoning startup environment.
Former co-founder of mobile startup Playd, Anthony Frasier is a living testament of the lesser known Newark success stories. Shown on the small screen during the Black in America 4 documentary, Frasier’s story isn’t picture perfect, having gotten into trouble in his teenage years and dropping out of college, but proof that through hard work and determination you can become a power player in your respective industry.
Like many entrepreneurs, the 26-year-old innovator is on to the next venture. Although Playd is no longer in the picture, Frasier continues to power his award-winning gaming site TheKoalition.com and co-founded another startup called The Phat Startup, which merges hip hop and entrepreneurship. Frasier and co-founder James Lopez are penning a book The Phat Startup: The Hip Hop Laws of Business set to be released early next year. While the gaming enthusiast has several projects brewing, we’ll just have to stay tuned to catch his next move. With the one year anniversary of the CNN special upon us, Frasier spoke to BlackEnterprise.com about starting a new business, receiving invaluable advice from his NewMe peers and helping to build Newark into the next tech hub.
I chose to leave Silicon Valley because…
Being from the greater New York City area allowed me to take part in the culture of Silicon Alley. It also allows me to help build up some tech interest in my hometown of Newark. I felt no need to stay. I still keep in contact with everyone and plan to visit quite often.
The solution for increasing the number of blacks in Silicon Valley…
Is to teach people how to create tech wherever they may be. Naturally those numbers will increase.